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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Frivolity Break: Cat Lassie!

Sooooo true. . .

Frivolity Break: Auto-Tune Jeopardy!

Okay, so it isn't as good as Auto-Tune the News, but what is?

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment: "Screw You" Economics

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tea Party Jesus!

I found this brilliant blog via Huffington Post.  Do you suppose those quoted might feel embarrassed? I doubt it.
(By the way, the quote in Jesus' word balloon is actually from noted crazy person (and tea bagger leader), Glenn Beck).
[Excerpt]

Tea Party Jesus: Blog Puts Words Of Conservatives In The Mouth Of Christ

The concept behind the site Tea Party Jesus is simple: Put the words of conservative Christian social and political figures in the mouth of Christ. The juxtaposition of hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants with serene photos of JC himself isn't only funny, but says a lot about the people who claim to be Christians. With the site's permission, we've compiled some of our favorites so far. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Daily Show: The Blame Game!

The Republicans like to point at any mention of President Obama "inheriting" a tough set of problems to be "BUSH'S FAULT!" with a sing-songy, it-can't-be-true air.  They're insinuating that Democrats are whiny, immature people with an inability to take responsibility.  There may be something to that--I'm not above criticising my own side--but Democrats are not more so than Republicans are.  Do Republicans forget that they used to point to everything as "Clinton's fault?" In fact, sometimes they still do!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Blame
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Sharron Angle Finally Interviewed by Non-Right Wing Press

This is Sharron Angle (Harry Reid's competition for Senator from Nevada) on Face to Face with Jon Ralston, a local interview show here in Las Vegas. Commentary after I watch it. . .



The video player wouldn't allow me to paste all four segments into this page without messing everything up. So, if you want to check out parts 2-4, they are available at: KVBC's web site, or in the links before the first clip.

Rachel Maddow: John Boehner Fails Politics 101

John Boner Boehner stepped in it big time--repeatedly--today in an newspaper interview. And nowhere is the story more entertainingly told than The Rachel Maddow Show.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You Might Remember Me From. . ."

Oh, how I miss Phil Hartman. This great graphic is from The Huffington Post.

Is Microsoft's Windows 8 Cribbing from Apple?

Image from source, CNN
Ugh. I hope not. I don't need any Macification, I really don't. Too shiny, happy, simplified, blecch.  Though I WOULD like to see my laptop wake up faster. 'Course it's a Celeron, so it may not even run Windows 8.  Ah, progress.

[Excerpt]

Windows 8 leaks show Microsoft's eyes on Apple

Although still early in the process, newly leaked documents about Windows 8 offer some keen insight into where Microsoft wants to head with the next version of the operating system.



One thing that is made abundantly clear is that Microsoft has been paying attention to Apple. In the documents, which appear to come from an April meeting with computer makers, Microsoft discusses its Cupertino, California-based rival and outlines plans to offer a Windows Store similar to the way Apple distributes software on its iPhone. . .

Read more at: CNN

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi Rips a Bad Journalist

Image from source, Rolling Stone
Remember that story in Rolling Stone that ended General McChrystal's career? Matt Taibbi is a different reporter at RS, a darn good one, and he has a great piece up taking a journalist to task for saying that the magazine should've sat on that big juicy story.  It's good stuff.

[Excerpt]


Lara Logan, You Suck


Lara Logan, come on down! You're the next guest on Hysterical Backstabbing Jealous Hackfest 2010!


I thought I'd seen everything when I read David Brooks saying out loud in a New York Times column that reporters should sit on damaging comments to save their sources from their own idiocy. But now we get CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan slamming our own Michael Hastings on CNN's "Reliable Sources" program, agreeing that the Rolling Stone reporter violated an "unspoken agreement" that journalists are not supposed to "embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter. . ."

Read more at: Rolling Stone

Larry King Retiring from Television

Image from source, Larry King
I haven't often watched CNN's Larry King Live, though I'd catch it on occasion. I also have it on good authority that he's a really nice guy. So, while it might not be the equivelant of Walter Cronkite's retirement, it's still the end of a (minor) era.  Maybe he can get Kathy Griffin to sing him off like Bette Midler did for Johnny Carson?

[Excerpt]

Statement from Larry King

Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. 25 years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live. . .

Read more at: CNN

Sharron Angle: Still Obtuse, Not Right

The only flattering image
of Sharron Angle in existence
from source, Think Progress
I need some new "angle" jokes, I'm running out of them. But she isn't! Wow, wouldn't you think that after mining disasters and a massive oil disasters that showed fairly conclusively that these industries are not regulated enough that politicians might notice that too? Not Sharron Angle! Less regulation is the answer!

[Excerpt]

Sharron Angle’s energy plan: Deregulate the ‘mining industry,’ as well as the ‘oil and petroleum industry.’

On May 26, a few weeks after BP’s oil disaster began, U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) told a local media outlet that her solution to America’s energy policy would be to “deregulate” the oil industry. While both conservatives and liberals agree that this catastrophe could have been prevented if BP had invested more in safety and if regulators had been more attentive, few, if any, have taken the extreme view at there is actually too much regulation on the oil industry. However, last Wednesday, while appearing on the hate-filled website ResistNet’s Internet radio station, Angle reiterated her position and explained that if elected, she would ensure that “government isn’t over-regulating” the “oil and petroleum industry,” as well as the “mining industry.” Angle appeared to attack her opponent, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), for supporting the Mining in the Parks Act, a law that prohibits mining in National Parks. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

EDITOR'S NOTE: Is my caption to the photo mean-spirited? Perhaps. But as a fellow unphotogenic human, I feel I have some wiggle room. For a person who sees a normal person in the mirror, and a Lord of the Rings character in photos, I can sympathize with Angle's plight. As one who has searched the Googles for pictures of her for previous posts, I've found almost exclusively scary/crazy pictures of Ms. Angle. Not that I'm complaining.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Science is Cool: Disabled Kitty Gets Bionic Feet

It's been a while since I had a cat-centric post, and this one is pretty cool.

[Excerpt]

Paws for thought: pioneering surgery puts cat back on his feet

Oscar may not be better than he was before – not faster, not stronger – but he is, indisputably, more bionic.


Image from source, Guardian
The cat, who took a nap in a sunny field unaware of the combine harvester steaming towards his hind paws, is back on his feet thanks to a world-first operation and state-of-the-art bioengineering.


His new kitten heels were designed with custom-made implants, which "peg" the ankle to the foot and mimic the way deer antler bone grows through skin. Oscar's transformation, which has left him resembling a feline Ahab, has been described as a case of science copying the natural world. . .

Read more at: Guardian

Conservatives Say the Darndest Things

I found this at Joe.My.God., and I can't put it any better than he did:  "A video compilation of GOP dumbassery!"

Sen. Robert Byrd Dead at 92

I don't have a lot to say about Senator Robert Byrd, as I didn't really follow his career. I know he had some heinous things in his past (such as membership in the Ku Klux Klan), and that he also did quite a lot to redeem himself in his later years.  I'm personally of the belief that there ought to be an agreed upon age--not necessarily mandatory--that Senators, House Representatives, Supreme Court Justices and the like retire.  But that's a different subject for a different day. Here is Senator Al Franken (man, I love typing that) talking about Byrd.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment: GOP and the Poor

Good stuff as always from Countdown with Keith Olbermann.


Star Trek's Data Encounters The Blue Screen of Death

If you're a PC user, at some point you will encounter the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. It's the point where your computer has a nervous breakdown, and becomes catatonic.  There are variations, like the Red Screen of Death and the Black Screen of Death, (and there is a Mac equivalent, so Lord Steve Jobs can't even save you) but the color has little relevance to the user. You're stuck with a useless lump of a computer, and you just cross your fingers, reboot, and hope it doesn't pop up again any time soon.  Windows 7 seemed to be the answer to the BSoD, but no. It still happens, though more rarely (and it usually recovers quickly).

My friend, Stupid Monkey Planet knows of my great hate/hate relationship with BSoD, and found this wonderful animated gif that shows by the 24th century, Windows 75.5a will still have this problem.  Star Trek: The Next Generation may have the sweet voice of the late Majel Barrett, but Lt. Commander Data will still have to deal with the Blue Screen of Death.

(Source Unknown)

David Ippolito: Facebook is a Stupid Idiot

More comedy from "That Guitar Man from Central Park," David Ippolito. He pretty much nails Facebook, which I do use, but I agree with him on a lot of his points.  And what the f**k is FarmVille?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DVD Review: Bug and Baghead

Today I decided to pull two movies from my over-stocked video library that I had not previously watched. I stopped at the Bs, selecting Baghead (an "official selection" of the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, whatever that means) and Bug starring Ashley Judd.  I expected Baghead to be odd, and Bug to be scary.  Both were just odd.

I wrote a DVD review earlier this weekend, and commented that no matter what two movies I watch, there is almost always a connecting link between the two. I searched for what it might be in these two disparate selections, and only found this: the blurbs and descriptions on the DVD boxes are woefully fiction-based.  Let's start with Baghead:

Images from Wikipedia
". . .a wildly funny parody of low-budget horror cinema. . ."--David D'Arcy SCREEN DAILY

Wildly funny? No, not one laugh to be had. Parody of low-budget? How about just low-budget. Horror cinema? Was this supposed to be scary?

"The funniest spoof of horror film of the year!"

I don't know what "horror film of the year" was in 2006, but if this is a spoof of it, they failed miserably.

"Beware of Baghead"

Yes, by all means, beware!

"A really, really good film."--Don R. Lewis, FILM THREAT

In what world? Baghead is a meandering, almost plotless film, ostensibly about a group of friends (two sort-of couples) who go to a cabin in the woods to write a feature film that they're all going to star in, and become famous.  The two men, chunky Steve Zissis and hunky Ross Partridge, are good enough actors but hardly A-list material. The two women, Greta Gerwig and Elise Muller, are just terrible.  While at the cabin, one of the girls has a dream of a stalker in a bag mask, and they decide to turn that into their movie idea. So apparently, a Friday the 13th ripoff is their ticket to fame! But maybe it wasn't a dream? It really doesn't matter, because finding out is a tedious, mind-numbing (and thanks to the camera work, dizzying) affair.  Baghead is credited as "A Duplass Brothers Movie," which leads me to wonder, is that bragging, or is it a warning?

Bug's blurbs aren't much better:

"Very possibly William Friedkin's best movie. A stunning performance by Ashley Judd!"--Richard Schickel, TIME.com

No, The Exorcist is very possibly Friedkin's best. This one is not.  And while Ashley Judd did give this performance her all, "stunning" wouldn't be my adjective. "Insane" or "screaming" would be good.

"One of the most disturbing horror movies imaginable"--Stephen Schaefer, BOSTON HERALD

Disturbing? No, confusing. Horror movie? It wasn't scary, not one bit.

"Searingly intense"--Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

I respect Ebert's opinion, and can only assume this one is taken out of context. It is intense in parts, but that tension comes at the expense of a very, very odd plot.

Bug is a much more mainstream film, at least from its actors (including Harry Connick, Jr.), its director, and such.  The talent behind and in front of the camera is not the problem in this one.  If the film were billed as a psychological drama, I may have gone in with a different mindset.  It was billed as a horror film by the director of The Exorcist, and blurbed as better than that!  No way, no how.  To review it much beyond what I've said would be to "spoil" it, were such a thing possible. Let's just say it doesn't go where you expect, there isn't much about it that is pleasant (beyond the nudity of the lead actors, though this sadly doesn't include Connick), and it will leave you rather unsatisfied at the end.

Another unifying theme between Baghead and Bug:  during both films, there was a point where I contemplated just ejecting the DVD part-way in. I should have.  Verdict:  Avoid both.

iPhone: Changing the World Again.

iLaughed.  Because this hilarious video is only a slight exaggeration of the total lust some "cult of Mac" people lavish upon any Apple product.  Yeah, it's pretty nifty, but it's a phone, people!  Warning: very, very salty language.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art Imitates Life: Clint Webb for Sentate (Parody)



Thanks to Facebook friend, Brian.

Gasland on HBO: Provocative Documentary Under Fire

Image from Faster Times
Everything in this country now seems to be political.  Health care? Evolution?  Global warming/climate change? Energy? Every single issue seems to have become as heated, as divided down the middle as gay rights, guns and abortion.  You can't help but wonder why that is.  I think I know, but I'm "liberally biased." But I'll come right out and say it: Republicans and conservatives are really good at riling their base, and getting them to vote against their best interests. And they'll do it to further their main interest, which is making rich people richer, to let corporations make more and more profits.  The whole philosophy of lassez-faire capitalism has been proven in the past to be detrimental to the public, and the flaws in deregulation are epically clear in the Gulf of Mexico today.

So, you can expect that when a documentary filmmaker sets out to expose the energy industry for fouling the air and drinking water in the interest of more and more profits, he's going to be derided as partisan.  Maybe he is partisan, but in the case of Gasland, very little about the narrative is politically overt.  Yes, Halliburton and Dick Cheney are mentioned, but they'd be villains if you plopped them into a screwball comedy.  What Gasland does is follow Josh Fox across the country as he documents the conditions of the land, water and air of communities surrounding natural gas "hydraulic fracture" drilling.  We're talking flammable tap water here. 

The film is engaging and depressing.  It has its humorous moments, but they are of the gallows variety. Calls to authority are almost unanimously distressing, and the future seems bleak.  But is it all really that bad? Or does Fox have sinister liberal motives?  Well, like Michael Moore, Fox has formed a narrative out of real events and interviews. As such, he is likely driving the story into something like a plot, and in doing so may have featured the most dire scenarios, maybe not enough counter-point to be considered "balanced."  But when the chief counterpoints being made in reaction to the film are either a) Energy industry reps or b) Hard-right bloggers, I'm going to side with Josh Fox for now.  Tap water should not be flammable.

I'd also like to note that whenever a documentary like this becomes a left vs. right struggle, the argument seems to go something like this:  Well, here are five errors (or "lies") made in the film. Therefore, the whole film is untrue.  So, I guess that water's safe to drink?  Go ahead, you try it then.

Gasland is airing this month on HBO.

[Excerpt]

The Gasland Controversy



Since winning the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Josh Fox’s Gasland has been getting a lot of attention, good and bad. I saw the movie last night on HBO, and while I was watching it, I found myself thinking, “This is an example of a good political narrative.” Good in the sense that is well made and presents information in a concise but powerful way. Good in the sense that it was bi-partisan, and put controversial subjects into a well crafted story. But as I started to research the documentary this morning in order to write this post, I found a much more complicated story. In fact, Gasland is practically a 101 crash course in the complex nature of political narratives. . .

Read more at: The Faster Times

DVD Review: Valentine's Day and Shortbus

There's a strange thing that happens when I watch two movies on the same day, maybe it happens to you too. No matter how different the two films, in genre or in tone, there is almost always some common element between them.  Now, I couldn't have picked two movies with seemingly less in common.  Shortbus is an independent "art" film, with the most explicit sex scenes I've ever seen outside of porn.  Which is not to say that I uh. . .watch porn. Ahem.  And Valentine's Day is a romantic comedy from Garry Marshall.  Shortbus features a largely unknown cast, and Valentine's Day is chock full of major A-list stars.

But both films feature sprawling casts with seemingly no connecting link, until somehow, all of the storylines overlap.  Both have most of the storylines that are mostly tied up at the end, with some ending happily, some sad, and others left up in the air, or answered in a surprising way.  And both feature a character who likes to take Polaroid snapshots of other characters in the film.  That's quite a bit in common, and it has to be the tenth time something like that has happened without planning it.  But aside from those similarities, the movies are vastly different experiences.

Images from Wikipedia
Shortbus is not for everybody, and if you're one of those it isn't for, you'll know it within the first couple of minutes. The opening scene is an inter-woven montage of most of the major characters having full-on, down and dirty sex. Not "Hollywood" sex, but actual sex of the non-simulated kind. There are things going on there, of both the heterosexual and the homosexual variety that I can nearly guarantee you've never seen in a "mainstream" film before.  Oddly enough, the scene is there to introduce you to the characters, and sets the film in motion.  The cast of unknowns is surprisingly good, and attractive in an unconventional, non-Hollywood way.  The film was written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the guy behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so it would be fair to think that it was a gay film, but it isn't exclusively that.  But if you have a problem with "the gay" you're going to hate this movie.  Me? I was pleasantly surprised. I was engaged until the end, and impressed too.  The extra element of sex was interestingly handled, and strangely enough, not always sexy. 

I've seen a lot of artsy-fartsy films, and as many leave me cold as impress me. This one? I liked it. So if you're looking for a "different" film, you're open minded (or you are tired of only the ladies being buck naked in the movies), take it for a spin. Just make sure there are no kids, prudes or squeamish people in the room with you.

Valentine's Day isn't my usual kind of flick either, landing squarely in the "chick flick" category. The Other Half eats that stuff up, and he caught it while it ran in theaters, and had great things to say about it.  Immediately after, the negative reviews started rolling in. Its Rotten Tomatoes ranking is 18% fresh (that ain't good). So when we popped in the Blu-ray this afternoon, I wasn't expecting much.

But you know what? It ain't bad. Not even half-bad. It basically works like a Love Boat episode on land, with several love stories being told at once, intercut with each other. Like Love Boat, the storylines are mildly amusing, a little cheesy, a bit predictible, and maybe told a little too quickly (the story spans one day, February 14) to be realistic. Unlike Love Boat, there are many more stories, and we're not talking D-list Hollywood has beens. We're talking Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Kathy Bates, Queen Latifah, Anne Hathaway, Eric Dane, Jamie Foxx, and that is just for starters.  The movie is longish, but fairly breezy. The stories are light, but just engaging enough to keep your interest til the end. And if you've avoided spoilers, there are a couple of storylines that resolve in unexpected ways.  My verdict?  Harmless fun, go in with low expectations, and you'll like it just fine.

And by the way, Shortbus' Rotten Tomatoes ranking? 65% fresh (that's pretty damned good for a film like this).

Friday, June 25, 2010

FOX "News" Fail: America Live as Biased as Hannity

Just a quick note to reiterate: FOX "News" is NOT news.  I know, I know, I've said this many times before (hence the word "reiterate!").  But it is interesting to note that every time I've tried the FOX "News" hard news experiment, I've come up with the same result.  Supposedly, there is a line to be drawn between FOX "News"'s opinion programming, and their hard news shows. But there isn't.

Case in point, America Live with Megan Kelly.  I put the TV on FOX for a few minutes while I caught up on emails and such.  And in the space of 15 minutes, the hard-right tilt and obvious opinion was evident.  In her tease of what was coming up in the 10:00 am hour, Kelly's entire list of stories was "Do the Democrats. . .?" and "Does President Obama. . .?"  At the top of the hour, she teased it all again (how much time is spent on these shows telling you what's to come, anyway?) and in each instance, punctuated her delivery with sneers, a sing-songy voice, pregnant pauses.  She could just has easily been guest hosting for Sean Hannity. This is allegedly hard news. It is not.

"XXX" Domain for Porn Sites?

My friend Stupid Monkey Planet sent me the link below. I think the creation of an .xxx domain for internet porn sites is a nice, tidy way to "clean up" the internet. And I find it very strange that religious groups would oppose the idea on "moral" grounds. . .the porn is already out there!  But I doubt that this would work.  I'm sure that the big (and little) porn sites would snap up the .xxx domains, but what's going to stop them from keeping their .coms? "Voluntary" is the problem here, and "mandatory" would be almost impossible to enforce.

[Excerpt]

Internet bosses set to approve .xxx for porn sites

The company that oversees Web addresses is expected to give the go-ahead on Friday for the creation of a .xxx suffix for websites with pornographic content, company officials indicated on Thursday.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Internet on behalf of the U.S. government, has in the past resisted creating a .xxx generic domain name system akin to those for .com and .net. . .

Read more at: Yahoo News

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sam Seder: "Social Security is Broke?" That's Bullsh*t!

Having missed Sam Seder on the radio, it's good to have him back, even if it is in small chunks. And even if he sorta-kinda stole Penn & Teller's Bullshit title.  Which could turn out to be a great future installment, I suppose.

President Obama Says "Twitters"

Image from source, CBS News
Today, President Barack Obama met with the Russian president, and he misspoke.  He was talking about a tour of a social networking company, and he said "headquarter of Twitters," when he clearly meant "headquarters of Twitter." [This quote is more accurate than how it related in the excerpt below] But that won't matter when all is said and done. This comment will be endlessly repeated by conservatives, along with his other so-called "gaffes."  Remember when the primary campaigning was winding down, and Obama said "57 states" when he meant 57 events?  They're still using that one.

They're trying to retaliate for all the ribbing we liberals gave President George W. Bush. Which we did. A lot. But once again, there is a false equivalency. Where you can clearly see the source of Obama's goof, Bush's mentions of "the Google" and "the internets" showed less a slip of the tongue than an unfamiliarity with the subject.  And a hell of a lot of precedent.  Oh well, I'll just prepare myself for a hard eye-roll every time I hear or see a mention of "Twitters."

[Excerpt]

Obama Jokes: Twitter Could Replace "Red Phone" Calls to Russia

At a joint press conference today with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, President Obama joked about how one popular technology might help the two countries move past traditional Cold War-style diplomacy.



The technology in question was Twitter - or as Mr. Obama put it, signaling he might be less familiar with the technology than he let on, "Twitters." During his speech, Mr. Obama made reference to the fact that Medvedev "visited the headquarters of Twitters where he opened his own account. . ."

Read more at: CBS News

Janeane Garofalo Answers Questions from the Internets

Image of Janeane (with the adorable Paul Rudd)
from Yahoo!
Janeane Garofolo has always been a favorite personality of mine (and a crush of my brother's).  I think she's a great actress, I seriously share many of her political views (though maybe not quite as stridently), and she's seriously extemporaneously funny.  But most of all, she is in an elite company of people (which includes Barack Obama, Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann) whose mere mention can provoke frothing, swearing and twitching from ardent conservatives. Which is nice.

[Excerpt]

Janeane Garofalo On Obama vs. McChrystal, Glenn Beck's Douchiness & Justin Bieber's Hair

While her career may be varied, covering everything from hosting a radio show to killing in movies like "Wet Hot American Summer," when it comes down it, Janeane Garofolo is a stand-up. And an opinionated one at that. . .

Read more (with video) at: Huffington Post

A Tea Party? How Many Lumps do You Want?

Image from source, News Corpse
I know that the whole tea party movement is quite overblown by the media, and by bloggers like me.  The tea partiers are the same 25%-ers who've kept Karl Rovian politics alive for the last ten years, they just have a new name. But there is no question that--given the right circumstances--they can have quite an impact.  We're still in primary season for the mid-term elections, and the tea party's presence has been felt.

Here in Nevada, we have the culmination of tea bag politics with the primary success of Sharron Angle, who beat out more establishment candidates to take on Harry Reid in November.  While we still don't know how that will play out, there is no doubt that Harry Reid will have a greater chance of re-election against Angle than he had against virtually any other candidate.  Reid has a giant target on his back--just as his predecessor Tom Daschle did--simply by virtue of being the Senate Majority Leader.  He's been painted as a villain by Rush Limbaugh, FOX "News" and the rest, so that people who otherwise wouldn't know his name are now rooting for his demise.  But now, Reid gets to fight for his job against an extremist, far-right cartoon character.

That may be the ultimate test of the tea party:  they can get their base to the polls in the primaries, but can their candidates convince mainstream voters to accept their extremist views?  Hoping not, but watching with interest anyway.  And now, an excerpt on the same subject by a far more talented blogger. . .

[Excerpt]

The Many Faces Of The Tea Party

On the cover of the new Weekly Standard is a caricature of two people that the magazine’s cover story regards as the banner carriers of the Tea Party movement. They are Rick Santelli, a correspondent for the cable business network CNBC, and Glenn Beck, a delusional Fox News host with a Messiah complex. The title of the cover story is The Two Faces Of The Tea Party. . .

Read more at: News Corpse

FOX "News" Babe Thinks Her Job is Just Like President Obama's

Image from source, Raw Story
Something maybe even I should remember when being knee-jerk critical of a President is just how hard his job is. I might have hard days at work, but I don't have a particularly difficult job. And if I spell something wrong on a sign or miss a deadline, it might suck for me or my company but it is not a national crisis.

Now, I suppose being a news anchor (or even a "news" anchor babe) has its difficulties. A major faux-pas could lead to an unflattering nation-wide story.  Things said or done on your program could affect national politics in extreme cases. But this is FOX "News" we're talking about.  Every single day there is something going on there that is embarrassing and/or stupid.  Very little one spokesmodel could say or do would make very much of an impact. So, how hard could it be?  If you're Gretchen Carlson (anchorette of the awkwardly named FOX & Friends), it's just as hard as being President!

[Excerpt]

Fox host: Being president is ‘just like’ my job

Could a Fox News host who has admitted she had to Google terms like "czar" and "ignoramus" actually be qualified to be President of the United States? Fox News' Gretchen Carlson suggested Wednesday that the President's job was "just like" her job as a co-host of Fox & Friends. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Futurama Returns from the Dead

Image from source, TV Squad
Every year, a slew of television shows get cancelled, and every year fan groups of some of them mount an effort to get the TV networks to reconsider. Rarely, very rarely, it works. Sometimes the network relents, and the show is given a new season, a partial season, maybe just a reunion movie. They usually sputter out ofter that. Once in a while, a show will move to another network, where it can either live on for years or more likely. . .sputter out.  And even more rarely, the show--long dead--will be revived a few years later.

It happened with Family Guy, and now it's happened to Futurama, the other show by the creators of The Simpsons.  In a way, Futurama didn't ever really go away, having appeared on Comedy Central and other networks, as well as on DVD in a couple of new adventures.  But it is finally back in new episodes. 

[Excerpt]

'Futurama' and 9 Other Shows That Beat Cancellation

It's a miracle! 'Futurama' is back from the dead. Or maybe it's just been thawed out of its cryogenic freeze? Whatever the case, it's back -- with the original voice cast -- on Comedy Central (Thu., June 24 at 10PM ET) and fans are happy.



Canceled in 2003, 'Futurama' got four straight-to-DVD flicks, the last one came out in early 2009. Fan interest was renewed and Comedy Central aired the films as episodes before green lighting the series for new episodes. Yes, Matt Groening is bringing Fry, Leela, Bender and the rest of the bang for new adventures in space. The cast is signed for 26 episodes. In the one hour premiere, the Professor attempts to resuscitate the crew with his birth machine after a devastating crash. . .

Read more at: TVSquad

Oily Rain in Louisiana

Yuck.



Found at: AmericaBlog

Karl Rove Losing His Touch?

Image from source, TPM Muckraker
Ewww, I said "Karl Rove" and "touch" in the same sentence. . .  Anyway, Rove's infamous "touch" has long been in question, after the 2006 and 2008 elections.  I mean he's relegated (along with Ollie North, Sarah Palin and other right-wing scoundrels) to being a FOX "News" commentator, after all.  But he plays extra dirty, so I'm always happy to see him fail.

[Excerpt]

Fundraising Group Led By GOP All-Stars Falling Short Of Goals

American Crossroads, formed by some of the GOP's biggest names with the aim of helping the party win the 2010 midterms, launched a few months ago with an ambitious $52 million fundraising goal. So how much did the group pull in in May? A whopping $200. . .

Read more at: TPM Muckraker

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Young Turks on Texas GOP's Anti-Sodomy Platform

Some salty language, but worth it for this snarky examination of the utterly ridiculous Texas GOP's platform.

War, War, What is it Good For? I Dunno. . .

Image from source, Wonkette
Have you ever had a major news issue that you couldn't form an opinion on?  That's the war in Afghanistan for me. I try to understand it, wrap my brain around it. And as soon as someone knowledgeable starts to explain things, my eyes roll back in my head, and I have a "Homer Simpson" moment, complete with a cartoon running in my brain. 

Bad news for my blog, since the General McChrystal Rolling Stone article, and its aftermath (including a possibly career ending meeting with the President, and our whole strategy in Afghanistan in flux) is practically all the news is about today. I even drifted off while trying to glean something from The Rachel Maddow Show.  So, what to do?  Well, how about something somewhat entertaining from Wonkette? That'll do.

[Excerpt]

What Is Going On With Our Imperial War In Afghanistan?



Robert Gibbs is on the teevee reading statements, about Afghanistan! Obama and Karzai had an iChat this morning and it was “very productive.” But what is the president’s reaction to all of these crazy Rolling Stone quotes? Well, says Gibbs, motherfucking Stanley McChrystal will have his skinny traitorous ass hauled before the President tomorrow and will then be executed in Utah, on Twitter. What a weird time. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Daily Show on GOP/BP Flip-Floppery

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Day 62 - The Strife Aquatic
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Local FOX Stations Distance Themselves from FOX "News"

See if you can find the "FOX" part of this logo.
Wouldn't you?

[Excerpt]

Fox Affiliates: We Are Not Fox News Channel

If you look at the logo of KMPH-TV in Fresno, Calif., a Fox affiliate, the largest elements are the station's call letters and its channel: 26.



In smaller letters, and barely visible, is the name Fox. This may or may not be an accident.


According to KMPH News Director Jim Turpin, and his colleagues at some other Fox affiliates, disassociating their local news casts from Fox News Channel's conservative slant is often a challenge.

Several news directors say Fox's reputation for right-leaning broadcasts often misleads viewers into thinking their local news reports follow the same approach. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sarah Palin: Liar or Ignorant?

Ooh, ooooh! All of the above!  Heh. Excuse me.

[Excerpt]

Fact Checking Sarah Palin: Joe Barton Reflects The Philosophy Of Over 115 Republicans



When asked yesterday on ABC’s This Week about Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) accusation that the White House engaged in a “shakedown” of BP, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel noted the remark was “not a political gaffe,” but rather a statement based on “prepared remarks.” He linked Barton’s comments to the GOP’s “larger philosophy,” saying it “is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here is BP, not the fisherman. And remember, this is not just one person.”



Conservative pundit Sarah Palin quickly blasted Emanuel’s comments on Twitter, calling them “shallow” and “irresponsible.” Parroting Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) rant against Obama, Palin said “Rahm, u lie”. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Sharron Angle: Unemployed are Spoiled; Jobs Not Her Problem

Nice. The Harry Reid ad writes itself.

Iowa GOP May Face Tea Party Challenge for Governor

Image of the comely Bob Vander Plaats
from  PartyOfJesus.com
Facebook can be a strange place.  There, I have reacquanted myself with old friends from high school, former co-workers, and far-flung extended family members. Also in the mix are people who were barely acquaintences, but all are designated as "friends." Which can be kind of awkward when you have a public fight with one of them.  One such "friend" went to school with my brother, and we've had some heated conversationis, mostly about religion and politics (for him, very in the former and conservative in the latter; me. . .um. . .opposite). 

Some months ago, this friend was touting Bob Vander Plaats as his choice for Iowa governor.  I'm not from Iowa, but The Other Half is.  That wouldn't by itself be enough for me to care.  Iowa, however, is one of the few states in this country where my same-sex marriage is legal, and Vander Plaats campaigned on the repeal of that status.  In fact, it was one of his big selling points.  Vander Plaats, it turns out, is something of a tea bagger, and he really, really doesn't like the gay.  So, I was quite pleased that he was defeated in his primary election.  But it looks like Vander Plaats isn't going gracefully into the good night.

[Excerpt]

IA-Gov: A harbinger of things to come for the GOP?

News broke [last] Thursday that a meeting had occurred between [Bob] Vander Plaats and GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad. At that meeting, Vander Plaats, who finished second in the GOP gubernatorial primary, apparently asked for a spot on the ticket, an idea that was rejected. That rejection opened the door for a potential third-party run for governor this fall.


Several sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Iowa Independent this week that Vander Plaats is seriously considering a run, with the chances of him entering the race at about 50/50. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

Tea Party Comes Clean (And Bares All)

Image from source, Mediaite
The weirdest part about conservative politics, is that when the curtain is pulled, and the Wizard of Oz is seen as simply a man, it makes no difference!  Sarah Palin has been unmasked (by her own words and actions) as a clueless boob.  They love her more for it.  Ditto Michele Bachmann.  Rachel Maddow has dug into the origins of the Tea Party movement, and found countless behind-the-scenes political groups driving this "grass roots" effort. No effect.  What will it take for the base of the Republican Party (tea baggers) to see that they're being played?

[Excerpt]

The Tea Party Bares All In Playboy
This month’s Playboy has a stunningly unusual and potentially disruptive article: an expose, purporting to be from an established Republican consultant, discussing how Washington hacks are controlling the political advances of the Tea Party. . .
 
Penned anonymously, the article, “Confessions of a Tea Party Consultant”, strikes the reader at first blush as representing the antithesis of what the Tea Party espouses. The author is insider-y, cynical, and obviously relishes the perverse “dark arts” of winning elections. He – it’s safe to assume it’s a man – takes credit for what he himself calls “downright evil” campaign tactics. . .
 
Read more at: Mediaite
 

Are Liberals Falling Out of Love with Obama?

I have a problem with the premise of the headline, and used it only because it is the title of the article below.  See, the fabled "love" of Obama by liberals in general, or prominent pundits like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, has always been oversold.  The verbiage used, "The One," "The Annointed," and the like, is almost exclusively used by conservatives, not liberals.  Are there Democrats who fawn and faint over Obama? Oh, I'm sure there are some, but I doubt it goes anywhere as deep as the conservative base who still thinks George W. Bush did a heckuva job.

So, are liberals in general now holding a lower opinion of President Obama than they did during the election? Of course they are, why wouldn't they? That happens in almost every election. There's a big difference between a candidate and an elected official.  But is in happening just now? Not really. I've posted quite a few posts that were critical. Olbermann and Maddow have done the same--even more so--many, many times. This is not new.  But it is different.  You saw much less open dissatisfaction with Bush/Cheney from conservatives (or FOX "News" and talk radio), until wayyyyyy later than 1-1/2 years. That's for sure.

[Excerpt]

Are liberals falling out of love with Obama?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Respect My Authoritah
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

In the wake of President Barack Obama's Oval Office address to the country last Tuesday, a narrative has been on the march: liberals, the people who served as the electoral backbone for his candidacy in 2008, have fallen out of love with the chief executive.
Jon Stewart took on the topic on his "Daily Show" -- detailing a series of campaign commitments from Obama on topics ranging from the closure of Guantanamo Bay to his attitude toward executive power and the comparing the actual policies' similarities to those policies put in place by former President George W. Bush. "What happened to Barry from the block," asked Stewart. . .

Read more at: The Fix

Tax Hell: My Ordeal with the IRS

I received a letter from the IRS this weekend, saying I owed them over $4,000.  This, as you might imagine, was a little distressing!  Especially since I filed my return on time, and actually paid an additional amount in April. Of course, the IRS is not open on weekends, so relief was still a ways off.  I was confident that I didn't really owe that much, so I kind of looked at it with humor, albeit mixed with trepidation.

The soonest I could do anything about it was this evening, so when I got home, I called the helpful number supplied in the letter. After 15 minutes or so on hold, I finally got a human.  She was kind, and seemingly helpful, putting me on hold several times. I explained to her that I'd only ever filed 1040-EZs in the past, since my taxes are relatively straightforward. But in 2009, I started dabbling in the stock market online. Last year, I managed to net $634 (dwarfed by losses this year, but that doesn't count).  Because of this, I was rather clueless as to how to file, so had an "expert"* friend help me out.

The helpful IRS lady did some re-jiggering of my figures, but she still ended up with over $4,000 owed. . .gulp.  Knowing that is was flat-out impossible that $600 in profits could grow to that big of a tax, I of course objected, and she agreed to put me on hold again for an "advanced" specialist.  I was on hold for an eternity (with one interminable tune being played on an endless loop). In the meantime, I had The Other Half refigure my form for me. This turned out to be fortuitous, as it turns out there were several errors on my tax form.

It also turns out that I don't owe, I'm owed.  Quite a bit actually.  When the advanced guy finally came on the line, I explained all of this, and. . .he couldn't help me. But he did give me the address and phone number of an IRS office here in town that should be able to help me.  So, I'm going to fill out all of the forms I need again (1040, 1040-X, Schedule-D), and take all of my paperwork with me on Friday.  Cross your fingers for me.

*EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is not a slam of my friend who tried to help me.  I appreciated the help, and frankly probably shouldn't have imposed. He gave it a go. It's my responsibility.

Science is Cool: Hundreds of "Earth Like" Planets Found


I've found it very difficult to get back into the blogging swing after a lazy weekend. Politics just isn't doing it for me today.  So, how about a little sciencey stuff to get our week going? It's not polarizing, it's not controversial. . .unless you start to wonder about any religious implications should one of those planets have life on it.  Don't worry though, I'm sure our current religions would adapt to it, or a whole new one would spring up, right?

[Excerpt]

Hundreds of Possible Alien Planets Discovered By NASA Spacecraft

NASA's Kepler spacecraft hunting for Earth-like planets around other stars has found 706 candidates for potential alien worlds while gazing at more than 156,000 stars packed into a single patch of the sky.



If all 706 of these objects pass the stringent follow-up tests to determine if they are actually planets, and not false alarms, they could nearly triple the current number of known extrasolar planets. They were announced as part of a huge release of data from the mission's first 43 days by NASA's Kepler science team this week. . .

Read more at: Yahoo News

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Time to Mess With Texas: State GOP Platform Crazy

You might have noticed there hasn't been much blogging activity this weekend. Sorry about that, but weekend sunny good times were to be had.  But this story caught my eye.

Right now in Nevada, the GOP is busily scrubbing and polishing Sharron Angle (Harry Reid's competitor for Senate) into something resembling a mainstream candidate.  She's not, she's a prototypical tea bagger. But check out the Texas state GOP's platform, and see if you can find any differences between their wacky notions, and Angle's (Well, besides gambling. She's from Nevada, and she might be crazy, but not that crazy).  Methinks the GOP has a lot more to worry about than just Angle's kooky beliefs.

[Excerpt]

Texas GOP Platform Calls For Making It A Felony To Perform Gay Marriages

. . .Here's more of the platform:



• Banning the use of red light cameras.


• Making American English the official language of Texas and the United States.


• Passing legislation requiring a sonogram for each pregnant woman seeking an abortion.


• Opposing legislation allowing stem cell research involving the creation of killing of human embryos for medical research.


• Calling for the immediate transition to a system of private pensions and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax.


• Calling for the repeal of the state lottery and opposing any further legalization of any type of gambling. . .
Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Captain Obvious: Oh, Just a A Lot Of Stuff

During the waning years of the Bush Era, I started blogging out of frustration.  Once we entered the Obama Era, I breathed a slight breath of relief, but that exhalation is leaving me gasping for air. Yes, there are things about Obama's reign that leave me wanting more. Yes, there are things that haven't come to pass.

I want the over-reaches of the Bush Administration (Guantanamo, rendition, etc.) to be stopped. I'd love for the evils of Dick Cheney (and many others) rectified. I'd like for gay rights issues to be treated with more urgency (and for the Obama Administration to not fight against us). 

Right now, it is conventional wisdom that the Republicans will make major inroads this November.  The pendulum nearly always swings to the party not held by the presidency during mid-term elections. But my big sticking point is this: Republicans broke this country.  The fact that the Democrats couldn't fix it all in 1-1/2 years should not mean that it is time for the other team to take a crack at bat.

Especially when the other team's players seem like some demented political cartoon. Michele Bachmann. Sarah Palin. John Boehner. Mitch McConnell. Lindsey Graham. Eric Cantor. Bobby Jindal. Do these people seem like upright, straight-ahead, "answers for America" people to you?  Seriously?

I'm afraid that Democratic disillusionment with their own candidates, and the bizarre, wingnut fringe of the Republican Party (teabaggers) will usher in the craziest, nuttiest, most embarrassing era in American politics. So, please, progressives. I know you're not jazzed right now. But don't let this bunch take over!  Please????

Friday, June 18, 2010

Auto-Tune the News #12

Because I love this stuff. . .

Sharron Angle Meets the Press! And It Doesn't Go So Well. . .

Not a Lord of the Rings CGI creation, or something from
Henson's Muppet shop (from source, 8NewsNow)
What do you do if you are the GOP establishment, and a far-right, tea baggin', oath keepin' wingnut wins the primary in your most high-profile Senate race?  You pull her out of sight (except for a few "friendly territory" interviews), you shine up her formerly hodge-podge crazy town website, and you try to sand off her rough edges.  But sometimes, the press--particularly the local press--tries to sniff out a story. Hallelujah! Journalism might not be dead!

I can see that Angle's angle is to portray anything negative about her as a "Harry Reid lie."  That's great, Sharron, but there is a record out there. On video, audio and the all-pervasive internets.  All the spin and spit-polish won't help as long as there are people willing to dig just a little. And there are.

[Excerpt]

GOP Senate Nominee Sharron Angle Breaks Her Silence

As Sharron Angle greeted supporters at Stoney's Restaurant in Las Vegas, 8 News NOW Reporter Nathan Baca approached her to ask about her Social Security plan.


Her website calls for "transitioning out" Social Security and Medicare.


"Why do you want to eliminate (Social Security) for younger folks, because your plan calls for transitioning out," Baca asked.


"You believe the Harry Reid lie," Angle replied.

When asked to define "transitioning out", Angle said, "Transition into a personalized account… personalized Social Security accounts that they can't raid. . ."

Read more at: 8NewsNow

Thursday, June 17, 2010

News of the Weird: Human Heads on a Plane!

Get Samuel L. Jackson on the phone, stat! There's a sequel in his future!

[Excerpt]

Southwest Finds Shipment of Heads on a Plane

A Southwest Airlines employee called police after finding human heads in a package set to be transported to a Fort Worth medical research company, the airline said.



"It wasn't labeled or packaged properly," said Ashley Rogers, a Southwest spokeswoman. "They called the local authorities."


The incident happened in Little Rock, Ark., last Wednesday, she said.


Little Rock police turned the package over to the county coroner, who questions where they came from and if they were properly obtained. . .

Read more at: NBCDFW

America the Stupid: President Obama's Speech too Complicated

There were progressives who were disappointed with President Obama's speech on the BP oil disaster the other night. There were undoubtedly conservatives who didn't like it either, but there is nothing he could say or do that would make them happy. It turns out though, that there is another reason America may not have cottoned to the speech. . .they're too stupid.  Or ignorant, or uneducated, pick your favorite. The speech was written in 9th grade English (a little more, actually), and apparently there aren't enough Americans who read that well.  Or read so good, I suppose. Of course, most of us watched the speech on TV, rather than having to read it. Somehow, that isn't comforting to me.

[Excerpt]

Language mavens exchange words over Obama's Oval Office speech

Language experts weighed in Thursday after poring over the nearly 2,700 words of President Obama's Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil disaster.
"It was straightforward and easy to understand," said Ron Yaros, assistant professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, referring to the explanations of the crisis and its possible solutions. He divided the speech into 1,200 "idea units," each of which represents a point the president was trying to make. . .

Read more at: CNN
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