Wednesday, October 31, 2007

John Edwards Presents One More Halloween Scare

I'll close out my many Halloween-themed posts with this funny image, cribbed from John Edwards' campaign mailer, received today. SCARY, huh?

Karen Hughes Leaving Administration -- Again

Photo from source, BBC

One more Halloween Horror! I even did a search to find the news story with the scariest picture. AmericaBlog had an even scarier one, but I couldn't find it. Anyway, let's hope she's happy in her new gig, stalking the Himalayas. . .

Key Bush image adviser to leave
Karen Hughes, a long-time adviser to US President George W Bush and the state department's public diplomacy chief, has said she will step down this year.
Her departure follows that of close Bush aides Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett. The trio from Texas are widely credited with Mr Bush's rise to the White House. . .

Politics of Fear Ruin Halloween?

Image from Wikipedia

Halloween has come and gone. We got less than 20 trick-or-treaters at our house. And this is in a neighborhood that was only recently the fastest growing segment of the fastest growing city in the United States. Now, far be it for me--ha ha--to slip into tinfoil hat territory. . .

But could it be that the politics of fear, the all-pervasive "be afraid" bugaboo has even ruined Halloween? That may seem like quite the conclusion to jump to, but bear with me. As a child of the 70s, I remember trick-or-treating with massive hordes of kids, and virtually no adults. Sure, our parents let us do more--a lot more--than parents of today. But we were given boundaries, areas of the neighborhood we had to stick to, and would have been severely embarrassed to have our folks tag along.

I remember stories of razor blades in candy, and needles in apples, but we never took it very seriously. Mom's rule was that she got to go through our haul, and eliminate anything homemade, suspicious, or her favorite candy bar. And I seriously don't remember even one kid having anything unfortunate happen to him, beyond tripping over his costume, running into a tree because of a badly-formed mask, or maybe getting hit by a car because he was dressed all in black. And that was rare.

Today, police groups, and other organizations hold contained, "safe" Halloween events. Here in Vegas, there is a "Trunk or Treat" being held at the Hard Rock, where kids just go from car to car to get their treats. Police group or not, that sounds worse to me than house to house. Even weirder, here in Vegas sex offenders are banned from participating in the holiday in any way. They must keep the lights off, not answer the door, and pretend they're not home (and risk an egging).

Now, far be it for me to defend sex offenders, but tell me, doesn't that seem extreme? The class of "sex offender" is rather broad after all, not just kiddy-philes, and we're talking about people who have completed whatever sentences were handed out to them. They can't even be in the same home as someone who is handing out candy, or even take their own children out trick-or-treating. Sounds draconian to me, even accounting for the ick factor.

But back to the politics of fear, of which the above is a part. Parents go to great lengths to make sure their kids are safe, and that's a good thing. But like all good things in this country, we take them to ridiculous extremes. Parents take their kids to these "safe" events, with a sense of satisfaction that they've "saved" their children from the predators, the razor blades, and all manner of urban legends. And bravo! You've instilled in them a fear of their own neighborhoods.

Read about the Halloween Urban Legends at:

Read about the Las Vegas rules for sex offenders, and "Trunk or Treat" at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 BAD Horror Movies

Image from Wikipedia

OK, there's one more list in me after all. I got to thinking about the lists I'd posted (scary, funny, classic), and realized I'd neglected a whole cache of horror movies. Those movies that are so bad, they're good. Well, "good" might be too strong. But for one reason or another, these really bad horror movies found their way into my heart. See what you think.

Greenlee Gazette's Top 10 BAD Horror Movies

1. Sleepaway Camp (1983) - A legendary bad horror film. It tries to jump on the bandwagon of Friday the 13th, and its ilk, and does so supremely badly. Has a (SPOILER ALERT) Crying Game twist ending! It also sets up two sequels, which were intentionally bad.

2. It's Alive! (1974) - What's scarier than a twisted, mutant, killer baby? Maybe the stuntman crawling under a baby costume? Hilariously bad, as are it's sequels.

3. Prom Night (1980) - Trying to cash in on Halloween, this film actually landed Jamie Lee Curtis in the starring role. Stretching the "holiday" theme of other successful horror films, this one has a lame killer, with a lamer reason for being a killer.

4. Night of the Creeps (1986) - OK, this one may have been intentionally bad. But I'm not sure. It does employ cheapie horror staple Tom Atkins. And has some very funny (ooh, I mean scary) effects.

5. Truth or Dare? - A Critical Madness (1986) - Not the Madonna documentary. No, this abysmally bad horror film is a rarity--no one I've ever talked to has heard of it. A seemingly ordinary man goes bananas, and starts killing people, most hilariously a bunch of people at a bus stop. Rare, but if you can find it, have fun.

6. Squirm (1976) - Killer worms. I'm not kidding. My favorite part is when one of the unlucky ladies decides to take a shower, and worms come out of the shower head.

7. Tentacles (1977) - Hilarious film about a killer squid. No-budget effects led to actors trying to make the squid look like it was attacking them.

8. The Grudge (2004) - I wanted to like this film, I really did. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a fave, as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. But as compelling as the film tries to be, it was utterly incomprehensible to me. Maybe I just don't get the Japanese horror thing.

9. Bug (1975) - The bugs try to be scary. But they're not.

10. Deadly Friend (1986) - Little House on the Prairie star, Matthew Laborteaux was pretty cute, but this is a total misfire by horror master, Wes Craven. Highlight: the old lady from Throw Mama From the Train gets beheaded by a basketball. Seriously.


Halloween Horrors: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Image from Wikipedia

I've covered several genres of horror movies over the last several days, and I thought it was time to do a post on a non-horror, but purely Halloween flavored movie: The Rocky Horror Picture Show! It has "horror" in it's title, but you will either be delighted or bewildered, not terrified.

As most people know, Rocky Horror was originally a stage musical in England, made its way (not very successfully) to the States, and then was developed into a motion picture by 20th Century Fox in 1975. It may have hit our shores a bit too early for people to "get" it, though, and it flopped. Somebody got the bright idea to market the film as a "midnight movie," and RHPS took off. It's been playing regularly in theaters around the country, every weekend for over 30 years.

My first contact with RHPS was on something called "Telecinema," a precursor to HBO, probably around 1976. I was 10 and deeply didn't get it. But a few years later, it became a staple of High School life. It was a way for all kids, gay, straight, jocks, nerds--all of us--to get together and have a good time. We did have a little difficulty explaining to our parents the rice trails we left from the front door to our bedrooms in the wee hours of the morning.

was unavailable for many years, though eventually was released on VHS, and later on DVD. If you can get your hands on the 25th anniversary edition, it's chock-full of extras, and elaborate photography, in a deluxe case. A must have for a "regular Frankie fan."

Here are a few scenes from the film to get you warmed up. Below that are previous links I've posted, with more clips. Have fun!

12/26/07 UPDATE: A warning folks, but is wont to happen with these clips, FOX has apparently pulled many of their videos. While all of these are still here, they've pulled all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Simpsons clips. I fail to see why, as all these YouTube clips do is keep interest going in their projects, and raise the profile of their properties. My site has made a whopping 81 cents since it debuted, and I can't even cash that out. I am not putting a dent in Rupert Murdoch's profits. Anyway, it probably won't be long until these are gone too.
Happy 61st Birthday to Susan Sarandon!
Meat Loaf's 60th Birthday is on Thursday

A note on these clips: YouTube addresses change often, and are sometimes removed, so if you've found these clips months after I've posted them, they may not work. In that case, go to and do a search. There will likely be new posts up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paul Krugman on the Politics of Fear

Photo from Wikipedia

Paul Krugman of the New York Times has an excellent editorial up on the politics of fear, and the Republicans' embrace of it. As this is a topic I've written about before, I thought it would be a good fit for this blog. See if you agree.


Fearing Fear Itself


In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns. . .

Read the piece at: New York Times

Did Blackwater Get Immunity or Not?

Image from Blackwater's online store

It's confounding to try figuring out whether or not the US State Department gave Blackwater guards accused of murder immunity. As a reader, I don't know. And as reporters, neither does USA Today. My question is, who the hell is in charge here?


State Department ties itself in knots over immunity for Blackwater guards

Yesterday, the anonymous sources were saying that State Department investigators granted immunity to the Blackwater bodyguards as part of the investigation into the shooting deaths of Iraqis last month in Baghdad. Today, another anonymous source tells CNN that the men weren't granted immunity. . .

And it only gets more confusing after that.

Read more at: USA Today

Steven Weber: Ann Coulter, Again, Naturally

Image from Political Humor

Once again, Steven Weber hits my sweet-spot: dissing Ann Coulter. Simply brilliant. Check it out.


Maybe it's redundant but Ann Coulter is not a nice person.

Why she is an acceptable face of conservatism and its drooling servant Republican party should be a mystery -- but really isn't, given that ideology's desire to win at all costs, employing any and all methods no matter how base or backhanded, even at the expense of the hopes of the very people they pretend to represent. . .

Read the whole screed at: Huffington Post

Halloween Horrors: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Image captured from source, San Francisco Chronicle

And, now for something really scary! I remember reading about the phenomenon of "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in the days before I had a blog. It was really quite alarming. There is an enormous patch of plastic and other garbage collecting in the waters between California and Hawaii. How enormous? How does twice the size of Texas grab you? And, much like The Blob, it's getting BIGGER.

It reminds me of the days when I was in debt. You just want to ignore the problem, thinking, "it's so huge, what could I even do to fix it?" And as you know, that sort of thinking (if you were or are in that situation) only makes the problem worse. Much worse. So what are we going to do about it?


Feds want to survey, possibly clean up vast garbage pit in Pacific

The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a stewy body of plastic and marine debris that floats an estimated 1,000 miles west of San Francisco, is a shape-shifting mass far too large, delicate and remote to ever be cleaned up, according to a researcher who recently returned from the area.

But that might not stop the federal government from trying.
Charles Moore, the marine researcher at the Algalita Marina Research Foundation in Long Beach who has been studying and publicizing the patch for the past 10 years, said the debris - which he estimates weighs 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas - is made up mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean. . .

Democratic Debate Tonight

I'm getting a little bit of a late start posting this evening, because I've been watching the Democratic Presidential Debate on MSNBC. I may comment more on the debate later, but for now, just a brief comment.

While there are glossy, focus-tested politically-motivated answers in both Democratic and Republican debates, I am struck by a stark difference. First, in the questioning. Republicans seem to be stuck on fear, terror, war, tough-guy talking and testosterone. Whether this is chiefly because of questions asked, or just the way they answer, I'm genuinely unsure.

Democratic challengers differ dramatically--in my view--in their tone, and in their thoughtfulness. Even dark horse Dennis Kucinich, who has by far the most different of the bunch, had well thought out, reasonable sounding answers. So far, I haven't heard abortion questions, or (much) religion questions, which inundate Republican debates. 9/11 may have been mentioned, but it sure isn't a theme.
By watching both sides debate removed from context, you would think they were held at two different points in history.

I'm not sure which candidate I'm for yet. But I believe I'd vote for any of the Democratic slate over any of the Republicans, even if the politics of the last six years had been more sedate.

Blackwater Guards Granted Immunity?

Photo from source, Think Progress

I didn't see this on the news tonight. Wow.


Following the deadly September shootout in Baghdad involving Blackwater USA, the Bush administration rushed to the security firm’s defense and even awarded the firm a new $92 million contract.

Today, the AP provides further evidence of the administration’s efforts to shield the firm, reporting that the
State Department “promised” legal immunity to Blackwater guards after the shooting incident. . .

I'm sure this isn't the last we've heard of this.

Read more at: Think Progress

One More Larry Craig Post?

Oh, come on. Give me one more. This one is from Air America Radio's The Young Turks. They go as far in the description of a man who claims to have hooked up with Larry Craig as they could on radio. It's got a certain humor quotient, I've got to say. Next time The Stephanie Miller Show is a rerun, I may have to give The Young Turks a try.

Movies I Can't Wait to See: The Green Lantern

Image from source, Towleroad

I thought I knew about all of the planned DC Comics movie adaptations, but I was wrong! This could do very well, that is if it is done very well.

The Green Lantern is one of the strongest heroes in the DC Universe, though one of the more unfortunately named. He bares a power ring that can create anything from his imagination, and is only rendered defenseless by the color yellow. OK, that's a weak element too, but that comes from childhood imagination, doesn't it? Didn't you ever try not to touch anything yellow, or wood, or whatever? OK, maybe it's just me. In any event, I'll be there, ticket in hand on opening day. . .


Greg Berlanti to Helm Green Lantern Movie

Gay writer/director Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Broken Hearts Club) has signed on to co-write and direct a live-action feature film adaptation of DC Comics' superhero comic Green Lantern.
Read more at: Towleroad

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 CLASSIC Horror Movies

Photo from

All right, I've covered my favorite scary horror movies, my top funny horror movies, and now it is time for a list of all-time classics. These movies may no longer scare as much as they once did, but they must not be missed, if you are a true horror fan. If you haven't seen any of the movies in this group, do yourself a favor, and add them to your Halloween viewing list!

Greenlee Gazette Top 10 CLASSIC Horror Movies

1. Psycho (1960) - Already reviewed here, this movie still ranks as the all-time classic. It's very nearly perfect. It may not have the unrelenting gore of Hostel, or the outright laughs of Shaun of the Dead, but this movie still contains enough humor and horror to qualify for all three of my lists. A must see, but avoid the remake.

2. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Another of the best 60s horror films. Very high-brow, and stylishly shot. And Ruth Gordon is one little old lady you do not want living next door.

3. Jaws (1975) - Not strictly a horror film, but has more scares than some whole lists of movies. It might not work for Halloween, but wait a few weeks, and then pop this one in for a refresher on what a good scary time you can have any time of year.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1969) - In a slightly different league from the first three on this list, this low-budget, black and white film still deserves a spot on the list. George Romero squeezed every last cent out of his budget, and delivered a film that can still scare (and disgust) you, almost 40 years later. This film is in the public domain, so watch out for bad prints. Also avoid the colorized version, and the remake. The sequels though, are pretty good, particularly Dawn of the Dead.

5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - The first movie set the tone, but the sequel hits it out of the park. Outstanding, nearly flawless horror film. Trust me, if you haven't seen it, it is a must.

6. Alien (1979) - You might have thought it was just a sci-fi film, but don't be fooled. This is top-shelf horror, it's just that the haunted house is a space ship! Even better that it sets up one of the best sequels in history, Aliens.

7. Suspiria (1977) - Creepy, and moody and very, very foreign in tone, this movie will wig you out. A little astray from the other movies in this list, and not for all tastes, but still a classic.

8. Carrie (1976) - Possibly the best strictly horror adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Piper Laurie is an anti-religionist's worst nightmare. Also started the "surprise ending" motif for horror movies for years to come.

9. The Last House on the Left (1972) - Another low-budget cheapie that delivers a wallop. Seriously, you will have a pillow in front of your face during some parts. Wes Craven is the master.

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1986) - Yes, I know, a sequel. But the first part is in my "scary" list, and this one is so good, I still consider it a classic. Eerie, moody, and Fred Krueger isn't quite an anti-hero yet. Plus, once again, Wes Craven is at the helm.


Jeff Gannon Visits My Blog

Image from

As I noted earlier, intrepid (and former) White House "reporter," Jeff Gannon (aka James Guckert) visited my blog earlier today, and left me a comment. Since the comment is likely to be overlooked, I've decided to give him a slightly wider forum by presenting the comment unedited below. After all, he is--as far as I know--the only celebrity to visit my blog, even if he is of the infamous variety.


Old Media Ablaze Over Staged FEMA Presser

Liberal activists and the Old Media are aghast and outraged over a press conference conducted last Tuesday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reporters were only able to listen to a department spokesman respond to questions about relief efforts for the California wildfires posed by other members of the FEMA staff. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appropriately chastised the sham press conference and promised an investigation and disciplinary action and the White House expressed its displeasure with the incident.Surely no one at FEMA believed that the staged event would not immediately be discovered and criticized. What could the motivation have been for such a stunt? Perhaps FEMA wanted an opportunity to present its version of events before the Old Media created its own reality about the fires and the actions of the agency. News consumers had already listened to reporters making comparisons to the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and attempting to find fault with the handling of relief efforts. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had to take ABC’s Claire Shipman by the hand to convince her that everything possible was being done and that she should stop trying to invent mistakes and shortcomings. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other environuts demagogued the tragedy as evidence of the effect of global warming, while California Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer and Lt. Governor John Garamendi incorrectly claimed that relief efforts were impeded by having troops and equipment in Iraq.

One of the lessons learned in the wake of Katrina is how the unaccountable Old Media are able to create a false impression that their ideological soul mates in the Democratic Party use for political advantage. In my book, “The Great Media War: A Battlefield Report”, I detail the flawed coverage of one of the greatest natural disasters in American history – a record that has yet to be corrected.

When I learned of the fake news conference, I expected that the characterization of Jeff Gannon as a “phony reporter” would be revived. Liberal media activist Keith Olbermann noted it on his nightly train wreck of a talk show and the lefties of the blogosphere dutifully repeated it ad nauseum. This is a classic case of how a lie becomes reality, since the record proves otherwise. I was as real as a reporter gets, writing over 500 articles as a White House correspondent, a job that Secret Service records indicate I actually showed up for more than 200 times over the course of two years. The veracity of my work as a reporter has never been successfully challenged.

Further, in 2006 – a year after my supposed exposure as a “phony reporter” - my peers accepted me into the National Press Club, the most prestigious association of professional journalists in the world. My book about the media will be featured at the National Press Club’s 30th annual book fair on November 1. Not bad for a “fake, fraud and phony.”

MY REPLY: First, Mr. Gannon, let me thank you for visiting my blog, and leaving a comment. But I'd like to point out that I mentioned your name before I saw any other media report of it, yes even before it was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I wish you luck in the attempt to rehabilitate your image, even if I don't quite buy it. I'll not offer any point-by-point here, as it has all been covered "ad nauseum" elsewhere. Notably here: A man called Jeff at

WARNING: Some images and verbiage may be not safe for work (NSFW).

George Bush: World Series Hero?

Photo from source, Raw Story

Leave it to FOX "News." The news network that isn't. The (nearly) undisputed chief propaganda outlet for the Republican Party. They've done it again, elevating George W. Bush alongside Babe Ruth as a World Series hero. I'm not kidding.

I'm no sports fan, but even I'm appalled.


Fox heralds Bush as World Series hero

A sentimental montage broadcast by Fox as part of its World Series coverage included President Bush’s opening pitch during game three of the 2001 World Series -- a month and a half after the Sept. 11 attacks -- as one of the greatest moments in baseball championship history. . .

Read it and weep at: Raw Story

Fred Thompson's Legal Career Not Too Stellar

Photo from source, LA Times

All political candidates try to polish their image, and control what "embellished" parts get out, and what dark spots do not. So it is not surprising that Fred Thompson is trying to shine up his history as a prosecutor (not on TV, in real life). This story is a revealing look at what his record was really like.

And as a side note, how did a guy with a mug like that gain a reputation as a lady-killer? I'm just sayin'. . .


Fred Thompson vs. the moonshiners
. . .Today, as a Republican candidate for president, Thompson is cultivating an image as a tough prosecutor who, like the character he played on TV's "Law & Order," battled powerful criminals during his three-year stint as a prosecutor.He was "attacking crime and public corruption," boasts a video played at his campaign events. During a candidate debate this month, Thompson said he spent those years "prosecuting most of the major federal crimes in middle Tennessee -- most of the major ones." [snip]
Twenty-seven of his cases involved moonshining -- more than any other crime. . .

Read the rest of the story at: LA Times

Obama Steps in It -- Anti-gay Supporter Speaks Out

Photo from source, CNN

Yeah, this one has been making the blog rounds for several days (notably at AmericaBlog). But even after back-tracking, and hiring a gay minister as "balance," the ex-gay gospel singer that Obama used as a headliner for his event, used his time to fire out some of his ex-gay views. Not a positive step for Obama.


COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — The controversial Gospel singer at the center of a gay and lesbian backlash against Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign struck back at his critics Sunday night, saying that he has been "vilified" and declaring that "God delivered me from homosexuality."

Rev. Donnie McClurkin, who headlined the final installment of the Obama campaign's "Embrace the Change" Gospel concert series, did not comment on the controversy until the just before the concert's finish, when he told the crowd of about 2,500 African-Americans: "I'm going to say something that's going to get me in trouble."

Read the story (with video) at: CNN

FEMA Director Gets Promotion, Then is Fired?

Chalk this one up as a first. Initially, the guy responsible for the phony FEMA news conference gets a promotion. Par for the course in the Bush Administration, right? Then, amid media scrutiny (another rarity), the promotion is put on hold. Now, it would seem, he's been dropped completely. How about that? Better late than never.


Fake FEMA news conference director loses promotion

UPDATE: DNI denies promotion for former FEMA flack

The fomer FEMA flack who orchestrated a fake press conference last week has lost his shot for the top PR job in the Department of National Intelligence.

CNN reported earlier Monday that John "Pat" Philbin, the Director of Public Affairs responsible for FEMA's recent
faked news conference, was all set to accept a his promotion, until his new boss realized that hiring a spokesman with a penchant for fiction might not be the best idea.

Read the rest at: Raw Story

US Troops Tired, Bitter and Skeptical

Air America Radio's Randi Rhodes pointed out this article on her radio show today, and I definitely think it is worth sharing. Take a look.


'I Don't Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier's Life'

"When we first got here, all the shops were open. There were women and children walking out on the street," Alarcon said this week. "The women were in Western clothing. It was our favorite street to go down because of all the hot chicks."

That was 14 long months ago, when the soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment,
1st Infantry Division, arrived in southwestern Baghdad. It was before their partners in the Iraqi National Police became their enemies and before Shiite militiamen, aligned with the police, attempted to exterminate a neighborhood of middle-class Sunni families.

Read the rest at: Washington Post

A Word on the Phony FEMA News Conference

I posted a couple of stories a few days ago on the phony FEMA press conference on the California wildfires (here and here). What was most surprising about the story was that it was uncovered so quickly, and that FEMA and the Bush Administration fessed up about it. But before you could get too excited about the administration's new honesty, they tried to portray it as an anomaly.

Anyone who's followed the news over the last six years, and has retained some of it would know that "anomaly" would be pretty far from the truth. We had reporters who were paid to throw in a little government propaganda (with no acknowledgement). We had phony video news releases, inserted into news programs (also with no acknowledgement). We had paid propaganda in Iraq. And of course, we had phony newsman Jeff Gannon in the press room. (Side note: someone alleging to be Gannon has left me a comment today. Possibly more to come on that little nugget.)
All of this falls right into line with a quote I've heard from time to time, and unfortunately the "high level official" has not--to my knowledge--been identified.

. . .an interesting observation that an unnamed "senior advisor" to President Bush made to a New York Times Magazine reporter last fall:

The aide said that guys like me [i.e., reporters and commentators] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
[6] Source: NYBooks

Top 10 Conservative Idiots - October 29, 2007

I've been reading this column at Democratic Underground for a long time, and I've yet to be disappointed by it. Good again this week, what with the fertile pile of compost they have to work with. Enjoy!


Fox On Fire Edition

This week sees the California wildfires dominating media coverage - Fox News (1) knows who's really to blame, Glenn Beck (2) finds the whole thing amusing, and FEMA (3) gives itself a big pat on the back. Elsewhere, George W. Bush (6) is throwing your money down the toilet, Fred Thompson (7) speaks his mind (what little there is of it) and Chuck Norris (9) reveals his choice for president.

Read the whole piece at: Democratic Underground

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Larry Flynt Promising More GOP Sex Scandal

Photo from source, Big Head DC

Oh please, oh please. . . I live for this stuff. You keep your Britneys and Anna Nicoles. Hat-tip to, where I found this gem. Crossing fingers. . .

[Source: Big Head DC]

Larry Flynt, editor and publisher of Hustler magazine, just told FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto that he’s “hoping to expose a bombshell” that will stand “Washington and the country on its head.” Within the next week or two, he says his magazine will expose a sex scandal of huge proportions involving a prominent United States Senator. Flynt refused to comment on the Senator’s political affiliation, but alluded that he or she is a Republican.

"Obama Girl" Takes on Ann Coulter

The girl behind the "Obama Girl" video has a new song out about Ann Coulter. It won't be a chart-topper, but it is sorta funny, and she manages to work in Ann's many horrible quotes.

Christian Right Losing Its Relevance?

Photo from original source, Raw Story

I haven't much use for religion in general. But I'm not very rabid about it. I figure, if your religion works for you, OK by me. But as the adage goes, your rights to swing your fist end at the tip of my nose. When religion gets hostile, and takes a swipe at me, I'll swipe back.

That's why this story sparked my interest. I've watched "Christian Right" grow in power and influence since I was a little boy in the 70s. I knew something wasn't right about it back then. I remember an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, where an evangelical Jerry Falwell type was trying to censor music on the station. My reaction to it then was to side with Doctor Johnny Fever, and I still do!

But it's the mixing of politics and religion that really galls me. This country was founded on the idea of religious freedom--both freedom OF it, and freedom FROM it. We've ignored this many times and in many laws (Sunday "blue" laws, for example), but it has been mostly in the last 30 years have we seen evangelical Christianity purposefully infiltrating government, and trying to pass their beliefs into law. What was it, 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University in the Bush Administration? So yeah, this story makes me happy.


The Evangelical Crackup

. . .Just three years ago, the leaders of the conservative Christian political movement could almost see the Promised Land. White evangelical Protestants looked like perhaps the most potent voting bloc in America. They turned out for President George W. Bush in record numbers, supporting him for re-election by a ratio of four to one. Republican strategists predicted that religious traditionalists would help bring about an era of dominance for their party. Spokesmen for the Christian conservative movement warned of the wrath of “values voters.” James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, was poised to play kingmaker in 2008, at least in the Republican primary. And thanks to President Bush, the Supreme Court appeared just one vote away from answering the prayers of evangelical activists by overturning Roe v. Wade.

Today the movement shows signs of coming apart beneath its leaders. It is not merely that none of the 2008 Republican front-runners come close to measuring up to President Bush in the eyes of the evangelical faithful, although it would be hard to find a cast of characters more ill fit for those shoes: a lapsed-Catholic big-city mayor; a Massachusetts Mormon; a church-skipping Hollywood character actor; and a political renegade known for crossing swords with the Rev.
Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Nor is the problem simply that the Democratic presidential front-runners — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards — sound like a bunch of tent-revival Bible thumpers compared with the Republicans. . .

Read the whole article at: New York Times Magazine

Nothing Interesting Happening

Oh, I know, there are always interesting things happening somewhere, but I'm finding it difficult to get jazzed about them today. Meet the Press was a snoozefest, with Presidential hopeful, Chris Dodd (don't get me wrong, I like the guy, but he's polling at 0%, which isn't even a number). They followed that with two very old white guys talking about President Ford. Yawn!

Add to that a lengthy interview with First Lady of Stepford, Laura Bush on FOX "News" Sunday, not to mention their insanely stupid "Power Panel," and I'm off to a don't give a crap Sunday. I hope to be back later today, in a better mood. Maybe some distance from the always wrong cheshire cat (Bill Kristol) and droopy dog (Brit Hume) will get me back on my game. In the meantime, have a great Sunday!

Bill Maher: New Rules 10/26/07

Bill Maher's "New Rules" are always good for a laugh, and are thought provoking as well. Here's his latest list.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

UFOs: A Uniter or Divider?

Photo from source, AOL

I find this story interesting, because I'm not sure if it could ever be spun into a right-wing vs. left-wing story. We are a deeply divided nation, at least partially intentionally by political Machiavellis like Karl Rove. We need a huge news story that unites, rather than divides us.

Even the California wildfire stories landed in right-left world. Questions about preparedness flung the topic into "Bush's Fault/How Dare You Say it's Bush's Fault" territory, not to mention comparisons to Hurricane Katrina.

But UFOs? If we had proof of UFOs, could we possibly turn that into a right vs. left story? Wouldn't humanity be united, either in awe of the possibilities, or in defense of earth against invasion? Might we not turn our weapons out into space, rather than at each other?

Oh, who am I kidding. The religious would be in full denial mode, pointing out that nowhere in the Bible does it mention Alf. Anti-religionists would be pointing out the same thing, only as proof of the Bible's errancy. Hard-core right-wingers would call any believers in UFOs loony moonbats, and left-wingers would decry the right's inability to see reality. In short, same old story. Ah, well. . .


NASA to Search Files on UFO Incident

NASA has agreed to search its archives once again for documents on a 1965 UFO incident in Pennsylvania, a step the space agency fought in federal court. The government has refused to open its files about what, if anything, moved across the sky and crashed in the woods near Kecksburg, Pa., 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. . .

Read the whole story at: AOL

Steven Weber: Bush Will Get Away With It

Photo from

I've posted Steven (Wings, Studio 60) Weber's Huffington Post editorials in this space before, here, here and here. I love the site for many of its stories, and writers, but for some reason, Steven Webber's speak in my voice (or at least the one that is in my head).

This particular editorial is deeply depressing, coldly cynical, but also somehow funny. I guess gallows humor is my thing. See what you think.


No Justice, No Peace.

And the Bush war machine rolls along, the profiteer horde has filled its sacks and there is little that will be left when they skip out to their ranches or beach front condos or corporate headquarters or upscale hooches. And there is little that will be done. The Dems will squawk for a bit, the Reps will shake their fists and wag their coiffed beehives in high dudgeon and then the dust of the last 8 years, the dust of Katrina, of Iraq, of Blackwater, of Gonzalez, of Wolfie, of Brownie, of social security, of health care, of TERROR---the dust will settle and we will brush it off like so much scalp scurf, forgetting from whence it floated and, distracted from the density of the sediment, continue consuming.

Spoiler alert!

Here's the end: they get away. . .

Read the whole thing at: Huffington Post

Rachel Maddow: GOP Name Recognition?

Rachel Maddow cuts through the crap of the 2008 horse race, and gets down to what's real--and what's funny. Something tells me that regardless of Air America Radio's future, or MSNBC's for that matter, Rachel Maddow has a bright future ahead of her in media. Like Keith Olbermann, she has not succumbed to the mind-numbing sameness of most of the talking heads out there. See what I mean, here. . .

Is Earth Past the Tipping Point?

Image from

The global climate crisis is regarded as fact by the vast majority of scientists around the world. Nonetheless, it has somehow become a right vs. left issue here in America, with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and all of FOX "News" regularly belittling the issue. Given who is against doing something about it, I don't have to think very hard about which side of the issue to come down on.

Once Limbaugh's house in Florida is under water, maybe that bunch will come around. Unfortunately, while we've been arguing about it, it has only gotten worse. So much worse in fact, that it may be already too late. Oops.


UN issues 'final wake-up call' on population and environment

The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage on the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report issued Thursday by the United Nations. [snip]

"The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns," Achim Steiner, the executive director of the program, said in a telephone interview. Efficient use of resources and reducing waste now are "among the greatest challenges at the beginning of 21st century," he said. . .

It gets worse and worse:

Friday, October 26, 2007

FEMA Apologizes for Fake Press Conference

So, it was just an "error in judgement." Hmm. OK. So why is it, that this sort of thing seems so familiar, coming out of a government entity over the last 6-7 years? It dovetails nicely with the paid propaganda in newspapers, TV news and elsewhere, doesn't it? And then there's Jeff Gannon. . .

The next President--even if we're cursed with a Republican--absolutely must get his administration--and government bodies under his control--away from this sort of un-American behavior.



On Tuesday, FEMA held what was called a "news briefing" on the California fires, but the questions asked did not come from reporters. They were asked instead by FEMA staffers. [snip]

Here's FEMA's statement from Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson:


FEMA's goal is to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment. Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We are reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and transparent. . .

Read the whole story at: MSNBC

Previously: FEMA's People Posed as Reporters

FEMA's People Posed as Reporters

I know I'm a cynic, but how bad is it getting when this sort of crap no longer surprises me? Is anything on the level any more?


FEMA Staffers Posed As Reporters at Press Briefing

It appears the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has found the answer to nosy reporters in the two years since Hurricane Katrina: have a press conference and have your own people ask the questions. [snip]

Kamen later states: "the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We're told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of external affairs, and by 'Mike' Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John 'Pat' Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin."FEMA officials told Kamen that their people did not make up the questions and Johnson did not know what was to be asked. . .

Read the story at: Editor & Publisher

Halloween Horrors: Psycho

Image from

I've given you a bunch of my favorite Halloween horror movie picks already, and I'm tipping my hand a little bit for my forthcoming "classic" horror movie top 10 with this post. Psycho (1960) is simply the best horror movie of all time. Alfred Hitchcock is unparalleled in the realm of horror movies, all these years later.

Do yourself a favor, and rent, borrow or steal this film for your Halloween horror movie marathon. This movie not only set the standard for scary movies, it broke the mold almost as it was cast. Simply unparalleled. Rent it now.


. . .Based loosely on Robert Bloch’s novel of the same name that was about a Wisconsin man who killed a number of his neighbors, Hitchcock obtained the rights to the novel after reading the book on a plane flight to England. When young screenwriter Joseph Stephano came up with the idea of focusing on Marion the first part of the film and killing her off in the shower, Hitchcock’s creative genius was sparked--he decided to cast a major actress for that part. All the more shocking for the audience that way! . . .
Read the rest at:

Arnold Explains Reality to George Bush

Thanks to for this link. Arnold Schwarzenegger explains the difference between reality and fantasy to George W. Bush. Enjoy.

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 FUNNY Horror Movies

Image from

Yes, horror can make you scream and laugh. Some of these films are straight-ahead comedies with horror thrown in. Some are horror with comedy thrown in. And some may be unintentionally funny. But if you like your scary movies cut with a little bit of humor, these are the films for you.

Greenlee Gazette Top 10 Funny Horror Movies

1. Shaun of the Dead (2004) - This movie is a horror spoof, but it doesn't spare the shocks, or the gross-outs. Probably the best horror spoof ever made. It helps if you like British humour.

2. Fright Night (1986) - This film isn't quite a spoof, but it is surely an homage to the old "chiller theater" TV programs of years gone by. Excellent performances, lots of laughs, and a shock or two.

3. Army of Darkness (1992) - The third of the Evil Dead series was the most mainstream, and more straight-ahead comedy. I recommend getting Evil Dead 2 (which is sort of a higher-budget remake of part 1) in tandem with this one. A classic.

4. Final Destination 2 (2003) - This horror film isn't exactly a comedy. But try not to laugh (maybe nervously) at the inventive and gory kills in this one. Better than parts 1 or 3 by a long shot. And some genuine thrills.

5. Critters (1986) - Riding the Gremlins and Ghoulies wave of the 80s, this New Line Cinema (A Nightmare on Elm Street) offering offers thrills and laughs--most intentional. Actually manages to be cute and scary.

6. Psycho II (1983) - The sequel to the all time classic is not the fright-fest it could have been. Tony Perkins is clearly playing it for laughs. And he gets them.

7. April Fool's Day (1986) - One of my all time favorites. Every holiday got its horror movie in the 80s, and this one has a novel twist. Gamely played by actors a notch above the typical horror flick.

8. The Car (1978) - James Brolin fighting a car possessed by the devil. Just try not to laugh when The Car kills the tuba player. . .

9. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) - The terror is long drained out of both of these series, so the kills are mostly for laughs. A good time anyway.

10. The Blob (1986) - I've blogged about this one before, and it is one of my favorites. Funny mostly for Kevin Dillon's mullet, and the general 80s vibe. Still has a few shocks and is most enjoyable.

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 SCARY Horror Movies

Image from

There are as many "top 10" horror movie lists as there are horror fans. And for the list to have any relevance, you have to quantify what you mean by "horror." There's the kind of movie that really scares you, and keeps you up at night. There's the kind that makes you laugh (yes, horror can be funny). And there's the kind that is just iconic--they might not scare you exactly, but leaving them off of your list is heresy.

So, because I'm unable to whittle all of those types down to 10, here is the first of three lists. More will follow in the next couple of days. Hopefully, you can use this for your Halloween night suggestion list.

Greenlee Gazette Top 10 Scary Horror Movies

1. The Exorcist (1973) - This is the granddaddy of all scary movies. Even better if you're Catholic, or have ever had a devil dream. Loses none of its punch, 34 years later.

2. The Hitcher (1986) - Maybe not strictly "horror," but definitely scary. The first time I watched this, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole film. Skip the sequel and the remake.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978) - The greatest zombie movie of all time packs in the gore, shocks and scares. Possibly the best low-budget horror movie of all time. Even Leonard Maltin thinks so.

4. The Omen (1976) - Creepy, scary and right up there with The Exorcist for religion-inspired nightmares.

5. Halloween (1978) - The godfather of slasher flicks, this film will actually make you jump. Great suspense, good payoffs, and an incredible score.

6. 28 Days Later (2003) - A modern update of zombie movies--sort of. It will scare you, and give you a vague discomfort hours later.

7. Phantasm (1979) - This (extremely) low-budget film has more scares than some entire horror franchises. The Tall Man is one of the creepiest villains ever on film, short of Fred Thompson.

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Sure, you may have forgotten that the series started out scary, but the first film in the franchise delivers the scares, and an eerie nightmare vibe.

9. Hostel (2005) - This is in the current trend of "horror porn," where the camera lingers on the cruelty and gore. But it is undeniably scary, and will freak you out.

10. Hellraiser (1987) - The series has been diluted by the countless sequels, but the original still gives me the creeps.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Katherine Harris for President!

Photo from source,

I know this site isn't serious, and it really doesn't matter. It's hilarious. Republicans don't seem very happy with their current slate, so why not "batsh*t crazy" Katherine Harris? Really now, is she any worse than Rudy, Mitt or Fred?

Maria Shriver Not Returning to NBC News

1st Photo from source,
2nd Photo from

I make it a policy at Greenlee Gazette to only post stories that interest me in some way, be they political, newsworthy, silly, or just entertaining. So, I honestly must say, I don't really care about this particular story. The reason I'm posting it, is for the photo, and only for silly reasons.

What are my reasons? Only to ask a question. Is it just me, or is the old adage saying the longer you are married to someone, the more you start to resemble them, true in this case? Just wonderin'.


Maria Shriver said she won't resume her TV news career and the late Anna Nicole Smith is the reason why.

Shriver, speaking Tuesday at a conference on women, said the media circus surrounding Smith's accidental drug overdose death last February led to her decision.

"It was then that I knew that the TV news business had changed and so had I," Shriver said. "I called NBC News and told them I'm not coming back."

Read the whole story at:

Cheney Falls Asleep On Camera

Image capture from source, (no, you can't play it here)

Yeah, you've heard about it, but did you see it? Do you want to see it? Of course you do. Head on over to (again)

Dick "Buckshot" Cheney Going Hunting Again

Photo from source,

If you live in Dutchess County New York, you might be wise to stay indoors this weekend. . .

CAUTION — Cheney going hunting this weekend.

The Poughkeepsie Journal in New York reports that “Vice President Dick Cheney is coming to Dutchess County again to go hunting.” On Monday, Cheney is “expected to leave Poughkeepsie and head to the Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club.” No word on whether the Vice President will be drinking beforehand this time.

Will Clinton Support or Oppose FISA Bill?

Daily Kos has a great diary up regarding the FISA/Telecom Immunity bill. Their pointed question to Senator Clinton, is will she support or oppose the bill? Excellent question, which I will be waiting anxiously for.


Well, Senator Clinton?

Earlier today, Barack Obama's campaign released an unequivocal statement on telecom immunity:

"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

That is clear, and welcome.

Hillary Clinton is now the lone holdout among presidential candidates in the Senate, hedging on whether she will support a filibuster of any bill that contains retroactive immunity rather than just maybe one specific one. . .

Read on at:

Man Wins--And Loses--Huge Jackpot at Casino

Photo from source,

Being a long-term Las Vegas resident, this story hits close to home. On one hand, if the machine this guy was playing clearly states its maximum payout, I understand the casino's position. On the other hand, this guy was told he won huge money, with jackpot screen, music and well-wishers. I'd be more than crushed, I'd be pissed if this happened to me. The casino (whether or not they are at an Indian reservation) could have handled this much more equitably.


Jackpot or Mistake? Man Sues Over $1.6M 'Jackpot'

For about an hour last August, Gary Hoffman was a very lucky man.

Hoffman was playing the nickel slot machines at the Sandia Resort and Casino on an Indian reservation in New Mexico when he appeared to hit the jackpot: the machine said he won nearly $1.6 million.

"I became ecstatic," he said.

But the ecstasy was short-lived. Hoffman says in a lawsuit filed earlier this year that Sandia refused to pay, claiming that the machine malfunctioned. Instead, he said, they gave him about $385 and a few free meals at the casino. . .

Read the rest at:

Top 30 Horror Movies

I've been meaning to have a little more frivolous horror movie posts, given that this is October, the traditional Halloween scary movie month. I'll probably get a few more personal opinion posts on horror movies up this weekend.

In the meantime, here is a fun "Top 30" list of the best horror movies of all time. There is much to agree with--and disagree with--in this list, but it will undoubtedly help you compile your movie rental list. Enjoy!

Best Horror Movies of All Time: 31 Days of Horror

GOP Selling Cute (Not Scary!) Elephant

Once again, the GOP sent me more mail, even though I tried to get removed from their list. Today, they are trying to get their supporters to send in $35 for a cute little stuffed elephant. Nothing wrong with that, aside from the curiously upside-down stars in the GOP logo. . .I'm still surprised the religious right hasn't done something about that. It's far cuter than the GOP convention logo, what with that elephant's "wide stance" and scary trampling pose.

So next time you hear that all the GOP has to offer is fear, you can know it's not true! They also offer cute, but over-priced plushies!

I have to admit to having a soft-spot in my heart for the GOP symbol, since my Mom had a stuffed red, white and blue plush Nixon elephant hanging in our rec room for years!

Should you wish to order this one, and separate yourself from $35 in the aim of continuing the tragic stretch of Republican-rule, here's the link: Click here to order yours today.

A Word on FOX "News," Wildfires and Al Qeada

It's no secret that many--including me--do not believe that FOX "News" is a legitimate news organization (hence my habitual use of quotes). That said, the morning show, Fox & Friends is an even bigger can of stupid than anything else on the channel. And that's saying a lot.

You may have read that the goobers at Fox & Friends tried to tie a four-year-old intelligence document on wildfire terrorism to the events in southern California. They did so by leaving the "2003" date out of the equation, trying to make it appear recent. Anything to make sure their viewers remain plenty scared. Tragic.


Fox Booby Hatch: Al Qaeda Linked to the California Fires?
In that George W. Bush has replaced the U.S. Constitution with whatever signed statement he finds expedient, continuing to use the same post-9/11 battle cry of "terrorism" it makes perfect sense for Fox News, to follow an identical pattern.

With the California wildfires blazing and over a half million residents forced to flee their homes, in Wednesday coverage of the disaster the specter of al Qaeda loomed as correspondent Adam Housley told "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy that he had received "hundreds of comments" from readers of his Fox News blog speculating about a link to the current tragedies. . .
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