Friday, February 29, 2008

Credit Card Crisis the Next "Housing Bubble?"

I had nearly $30,000 in credit card debt at one time (see here). Part of that debt came as a result of being so strapped that I paid my rent two or three times with those handy-dandy "courtesy checks" the credit card companies send you. Who knows how much of that $30K was a result of those (comparatively) little payments? You get in over your head so quickly, and getting out takes a very long time. It took me over 9 years.

I really feel for these people. They are in for an incredible amount of stress and anxiety, and years and years of indebtedness.

Ship Full of Mazdas Tips Over

Photo from source, Wired

I've always wondered how those things stay upright anyway. Yeah, yeah, it was in 2006, but it's new to me. How 'bout you?


High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace

In the crew's quarters below the bridge, Saw "Lucky" Kyin, the ship's 41-year-old Burmese steward, rinses off in the common shower. The ship rolls underneath his feet. He's been at sea for long stretches of the past six years. In his experience, when a ship rolls to one side, it generally rolls right back the other way.

This time it doesn't. . .

Read more (with video) at: Wired

Matt Drudge, Prince Harry and Blogging in General

Photo from source, Times Online

As you probably know by now, internet star Matt Drudge "outed" Prince Harry of England's role in the conflict in Afghanistan. The whole of the British media had a pact, apparently, not to report the story, to protect the safety of Harry and his compatriots.

Was Drudge wrong to blow Harry's cover on The Drudge Report (an site akin to a blog, but not a blog), in order to put another feather in his cap? My gut reaction is, "yes, he was wrong," but that's not really what this post is about.

What I don't understand is Drudge's popularity in general. As far as I understand it, The Drudge Report is a news aggregator, culling stories of (far-) right interest, and posting links and photos to those stories. Nothing wrong with that. But I don't find actual content at the site, though maybe I'm not navigating it properly or something.

What I'm getting at, is that in most news reports of this story, and others regarding Drudge, he is painted as a journalist, investigative reporter, a writer, etc. But does he write? Or is he basically doing what I'm doing, only without the commentary? Is he merely skilled at sniffing out where the stories are, or is he actually a talented writer? Because I can't ever find anything but links there. As I said, maybe I'm missing something.


Someone blabbed, and Drudge pounced

For a man whose notoriety is based on the speed with which he vacuums up sensational information and immediately regurgitates it upon an unsuspecting world, the question can only be: what took him so long?

Read more at: Times Online

Now see what I did there? I wrote editorial commentary, posted an excerpt of a story, and then a link to the site. Maybe I should just simplify, and run pages and pages of links. Maybe then my site meter would register hits like Drudge, who probably gets my 9-month total in about 15 minutes. Y'think?

David Letterman: Larry Craig Internship

Wow, I haven't put up anything about Larry Craig in a long time! And I wouldn't now, but this David Letterman clip is pretty funny. Also, it's Friday, it's payday and it's the last day of the month. In other words, a "casual Friday" is in order here. While I'm all about the political posts, it's a lot more fun to do them with entertainment mixed in! Enjoy.

Attorney General Refuses Contempt Citations

Photo from TPM Muckraker

The "rule of law" party--as Republicans like to refer to themselves--is officially a farce, if it wasn't already. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to order a Grand Jury on the contempt of Congress citations against Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers.

The case is pretty straightforward. Bolten and Miers were subpoenaed to appear before Congress. They ignored the subpoenas, and simply didn't show up. That's contempt of Congress, pure and simple. They claimed "executive privilege," but plainly are not President or even Vice President (and even Dick Cheney claims to be apart from the Executive Branch).

Mukasey's argument seems to hinge on the fact that George W. Bush told them not to go, so it's OK. WHAT? This stinks on ice, and I'm not only hoping, but imploring Nancy Pelosi to take this as far as she can.


Mukasey refuses probe of Bush aides

Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime.

As promised, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has given the Judiciary Committee authority to file a lawsuit against Bolten and Miers in federal court. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Ellen Degeneres' Emotional Appeal for Change

Everybody knows that Ellen DeGeneres is a gay woman--it was right there on People Magazine. But with rare exceptions, the most political thing Ellen ever does these days is be herself. She rarely makes a big issue of it, particularly in the years since her ABC show, and her relationship with Anne Heche. She found herself the victim of a vicious backlash at the time, and it's surprising (and wonderful) that she's mounted such an effective comeback.

On her "Leap Year" show, Ellen decided to get political again--if only for a few minutes--to highlight a very serious topic: the murder of Lawrence (Larry) King, a gay middle schooler, over a Valentine wish. Ellen handles the topic with warmth and emotion, and a call for change. Take a look.

Republican Sexcapades With Cliff Schecter

Nothing hits my schadenfreude button harder than GOP sex scandals. It's not like Democrats never have sex scandals. But they aren't the party of self-righteous prudishness. I always suspect over family valuesy people when they get on a high horse, because historically, they seem to be the ones with the kinkiest secrets.

Little did I know The Young Turks have a regular feature with liberal blogger Cliff Schecter called Republican Sexcapades! I smell a new regular (purloined) feature for the Gazette. . .

Brave New Films: John McCain's "Bomb Iran!"

This guy wants to be President?

Bill O'Reilly Calls Arianna Huffington a Nazi

Well, pretty much, anyway. This segment is so incredibly stupid, and hypocritical too, considering the fact that Bill O'Reilly's own web site has hosted vile comments as well. To compare Arianna Huffington to a Nazi, or to the Ku Klux Klan is just remarkably vile.

Let's get something straight. On political blogs like The Huffington Post or Democratic Underground on the left or Free Republic or Red State on the right, there are often nasty comments posted by readers. Both sides are guilty. But to hold the blog owner responsible is ludicrous. And if it were true, then Bill O'Reilly is engaging in a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Breaking News: Ricin Found in Las Vegas?

Image from Wikipedia

I'm watching Lost on ABC as I type this, and there is a breaking news crawl at the bottom of the screen. Apparently, the biological agent ricin has been found in a hotel on Valley View Dr., and four people have been taken to the hospital--apparently in good condition. I'd imagine this story is either going to get bigger. . .or turn out to be nothing. Stay tuned.
Side note: This is 1 or 2 miles from where I work. Eeeek!

Suspicious Substance Found At Hotel On Valley View Dr.

Metro police and numerous other agencies have responded to a haz-mat situation at a valley hotel.

A suspicious substance has been found at the Extended Stay America hotel on Valley View Drive.

Initial tests show the substance is ricin, a deadly poison that has been used in biological warfare.

Metro is still waiting for more tests to be finished.

Four people have been taken to the hospital, but they are said to be in good condition.

Here's more:


Police in Las Vegas, Nevada, are investigating the discovery of what they believe to be ricin at an extended stay hotel Thursday.

Authorities were called to an Extended Stay America hotel after staff found a suspicious substance in one of the rooms.

"They determined it might be some biological agent, and through presumptive tests, we determined it to be ricin," said Capt. Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The discovery of ricin alarms law-enforcement agencies because authorities in several countries have investigated links between suspect extremists and ricin. . .

Read more at: CNN

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama Remixed

Yes, another silly YouTube video, but this one does to relate to politics. Picture an alternate universe (?) where the love-in atmosphere of the CNN debate is taken to its logical conclusion. . .

Bud Light Ad Too Risque for Super Bowl

Oh, c'mon, really? Who doesn't love a good fart/poop joke? Are we as a nation really that delicate? Anyway, I thought it was funny. See what you think.

President Bush's Petulant Press Conference

Picture of Childlike Bush from Democratic Underground
I heard a bit of President Bush's press conference on the importance of telecom immunity today. And as painful as that was, I was fortunate to be listening to The Stephanie Miller Show at the time. Steph ran brief pieces of the conference live (with studio commentary from herself, Chris and Jim), and mercifully cut away from the speech several times before abandoning it all together.

Hearing it this way was like hearing a radio version of Mystery Science 3000, only the movies lampooned on that show were far more engaging. It has honestly become a chore to listen to the man. He sounds like a man who never developed emotionally much beyond that of a petulant 8-year-old. And for that, I have a theory.

Bush has always gotten his way. In all his life, he's gotten to do almost anything he wanted, whenever he wanted. If an obligation did come up, he got special treatment, and rarely had to finish what he started. If he got into trouble, there was always someone there to bail him out of it. He's never had to deal with real life, where things don't always go our way.

So he behaves like a child. He gets petulant, and grouchy when he doesn't get his way, and will say anything to demonize those who dare go against him. In his current drive to get retroactive immunity for telecom companies, who he claims acted legally (quite a paradox, that), he continues to use fear, lies and distortions to attempt to get his way. If that doesn't work, maybe he'll hold his breath until he turns blue.

Or maybe he's not an overgrown child. Maybe he's just drunk.


GOP ‘Griping’ That They Haven’t Seen ‘The Financial Gravy Train’ From Telecoms

In the fight over retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who participated in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program after 9/11, a popular right-wing meme has been that “the real reason Democrats oppose immunity” is because they are allegedly beholden to trial lawyers who “want to push massive class action suits against the telecom companies.” [snip]

President Bush made the same unfounded claims in his press conference today, speculating that “class action plaintiffs attorneys” see “a financial gravy train” in “trying to sue” telecommunications companies. . .

Read more (with video) at: Think Progress

Nancy Pelosi Wants Grand Jury for Bolton, Miers

Photo from source, CNN



House speaker seeks grand jury probe of 2 Bush aides

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday requested that a federal grand jury be appointed to investigate whether a top White House official and former official should be prosecuted for contempt of Congress. . .

Read more at: CNN

McCain's Anti-Obama Plan Becoming Clear

Photo from Sahbasucks

John McCain's plan to fight a potential Barack Obama campaign seems to be firming up. It looks like he plans to let surrogates like talk radio to take the low road, while he takes the high road. Do not be shocked to see a steady stream of negative and false information coming fast and furious, while McCain seems serenely above it all.


Road Map

Hopefully, everyone can now see the McCain strategy for running against Barack Obama. Yes, we have some general points on taxes, culture wars and McCain as war hero who can protect us in ways that flash-in-the-pan pretty boy Barack Obama can't.

But that's not the core. The core is to drill a handful of key adjectives into the public mind about Barack Obama: Muslim, anti-American, BLACK, terrorist, Arab. Maybe a little hustler and shifty thrown in, but we'll have to see. The details and specific arguments are sort of beside the point. They're like the libretto in a Wagner opera, nice for some narrative structure. But it's the score that's the real essence of it, the point of the whole exercise. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

9/11 Commission Reports Don't Match FBI Records

Photo from source, Raw Story

Would it surprise you to know that there are inconsistencies between the 9/11 Commission Report and actual facts? It would surprise me if the matched.


FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report

Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Comcast Plays Dirty at Net Neutrality Hearing

Photo from source, Boston Daily Blog

Net neutrality as an issue, if you're not aware, is an effort to prevent big telecom companies from dividing the internet into tiers. What would a tiered internet mean? It means that if you pay more, you get priority "first class" internet, and if you don't, you fly coach. Or something. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that whatever these companies do, it's probably not in the interest of the little guy. I'd say that's a pretty safe bet.

So is it really surprising that Comcast--one of the biggest of the big--stuffed a Congressional hearing on the matter with paid seat fillers, in order to prevent interested parties from getting a seat?


. . .Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said that the company paid some people to arrive early and hold places in the queue for local Comcast employees who wanted to attend the hearing.

Some of those placeholders, however, did more than wait in line: They filled many of the seats at the meeting, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, scores of Comcast critics and other members of the public were denied entry because the room filled up well before the beginning of the hearing. . .

Read more at: Boston Daily Blog
And another take here: Beta News

More Obama Urban Legend Madness

Photo from source, AOL News

Today I was listening to The Randi Rhodes Show on Air America Radio, which was being guest hosted by Sam Seder while Randi's away. Sam loves to engage right-wing callers, listen to them tell their story (usually skillfully setting up their answers), and then he shoots down their arguments one by one. Sometimes this leads to the befuddlement of the caller, sometimes they concede that they were wrong, and sometimes, they act like Peggy.

Peggy was a caller from Ohio, who has bought, hook line and sinker, the entire boatload of lies, half-truths and innuendo about Barack Obama's heritage and patriotism. The amusing (and simultaneously scary) thing about Peggy was that while she believed it all, she had most of the stuff wrong. She had the wrong stuff wrong! She thought he was unpatriotic about the flag pin thing, said he "refused" to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and "refused" to put his hand over his heart. Peggy was so verklempt, she had a pit in her stomach, and actually thought Barack Obama was a covert agent of. . .wait for it. . .al-Qaeda!

The problem is, most of this stuff is partially wrong or flat-out wrong. Yes, Obama was at an event where he didn't put his hand on his heart during The National Anthem, NOT the Pledge of Allegiance. And he didn't "refuse," he just didn't do it, that one time. He doesn't wear a flag pin, but it's not out of anti-patriotism, and he's explained why, many times. Suffice it to say that in his mind, the cute little flag brooches are akin to bumper stickers or T-shirts, and I agree. There's much more, and all of it its mind-numbingly stupid.

The scariest part is that Peggy did not sound stupid. She sounded very uninformed, and was tragically gullible, but not necessarily stupid. So, my question is. . .how much of America is like Peggy?, as I've mentioned in the past, is a go-to source for anything that might be a hoax or urban legend, and I highly recommend it in this case. Upon visiting today, I found out that among their thousands of catalogued stories, the Barack Obama hoaxes are #1 with a bullet. If you believe any of the crap floating out there (or your annoying friends/family do), go there now, and learn the truth:


Obama Fights False Links to Islam

The Democratic presidential front-runner and his campaign reacted strongly this week when a photo of him in Kenyan tribal garb began spreading on the Internet. And the praise he received Sunday from Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the black Muslim group Nation of Islam, prompted pointed questions during Tuesday night's presidential debate and in a private meeting over the weekend with Jewish leaders in Cleveland, Ohio. . .

Read more at: AOL News

Onion News: McCain Has Already Won Election

Outrageous! The Diebold company has accidentally released the results of the November 2008 elections, and the winner has already been determined. And it's John McCain.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Heheheheh. . . .

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Saturday Night Live to Write More Clinton/Obama Stuff

Photo from source, Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton's shout-out to a Saturday Night Live skit at the debate the other night was kind of a groaner. But the skit would not have been funny were there not some truth to it. I loved the skit, personally, particularly Kristin Wiig as Campbell Brown. Too bad she blew the last line, but nobody's really commented on that, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Anyway, SNL could use a boost, with a lackluster--and abbreviated by strike--season. They always do their best stuff when politics are in the limelight, so they should be set for how ever many episodes they have left.


James Downey knew something odd had happened when he stepped away from watching the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night to check on something in the kitchen and his phones started ringing.

Hillary Clinton had cited the "Saturday Night Live" skit Downey had written to complain about her treatment by moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Featured Blog: Vote For the Worst

Photo from source, Vote for the Worst

Speaking of American Idol, there is a very snarky, very dirty, hilariously bitchy site out there called Vote for the Worst. They delight in exposing secrets about the contestants (Gay stripper? Wears a wig?), and especially in encouraging their readers to vote for the worst contestants. They very well may have been responsible for Sanjaya's drawn out appearance last year.

In other words, it's right up my alley.

[Excerpt] was started in 2004 to support voting for the entertaining contestants who the producers would hate to see win on American Idol. It has since expanded to other shows. Why do we do it? During the initial auditions, the producers only let a fraction of the people who audition advance. Many good people are turned away and many bad singers or over the top personalities are kept around. . .

Read more at: Vote for the Worst

Imagine: David Archuleta on American Idol

I've been quite underwhelmed with this year's American Idol. While I rarely give the show my full attention, I at least usually remember the names of the contestants, and can root for somebody. Until last night, it all seemed sort of old hat. . .been there, done that.

But last night's show, though still littered with bland-to-slightly above average performances, contained one standout. Young David Archuleta, shown singing Dreamgirls' "I'm Tellin' You, I'm Not Goin'" as a child in a video clip, then performed the night's last song. He chose John Lennon's "Imagine," a disastrous choice for almost any singer. And he knocked the judges socks off--and mine too. Simply outstanding, especially for a kid.

YouTube clips are notorious for unexpectedly disappearing. Should this happen, please let me know at the email address at the upper left of this page. Thanks.

Here's a spare, just in case!

Michael Bloomberg Not Running for President

Photo from source, Reuters

While there is much speculation whether a Bloomberg run would hurt McCain or Obama (Clinton?) more, I think this is a good thing either way. Ralph Nader provides only a small distraction, but Bloomberg might provide a big one. Better to keep it simple.


NY Mayor Bloomberg says will not run for president

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided not to run for the U.S. presidency, he said in the New York Times, ending long-running speculation that he could launch a challenge as an independent candidate.

"I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not and will not be a candidate for president," Bloomberg said in an opinion article in Thursday's newspaper. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Bush Lied About Telecom Bill

Now before you think I'm just a guy who slings the word "lie" around willy-nilly, he did. He really lied. When you say something you know to be untrue, you lied. For far to long, the press has pussy-footed around administration lies, calling them "misstatements," or saying "the President's words were proven inaccurate." It's time--no long past time--that their lies be called what they are.


Bush Aired Telecom Amnesty Attack On Congress, Despite Knowing It Was False

In Saturday’s Radio Address, President Bush alleged that without immunity, private companies will be “increasingly unwilling” to cooperate in intelligence activities, pinning the blame on the House. . . [snip]

But in reality, on Friday night — the day before Bush’s radio address — those companies agreed to temporarily cooperate with the administration’s surveillance. “We learned last night…that new surveillances under existing directives issued pursuant to the Protect America Act will resume, at least for now,” explained DNI Mike McConnell and the Justice Department. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Overstuffed Terror Watch List?

Photo from source, Raw Story

This issue has always bothered me. We keep putting people on this "watch list," and it is very difficult to have a name removed once it's on there. So what good does a list with hundreds of thousands of people do? How can they possibly focus on numbers like that? Shouldn't it be winnowed down a bit?


ACLU calls out US over 'absurd bloating' of terror watch list

More that 900,000 people are currently listed as suspected terrorists on the US government's "do not fly" list, and that number will grow to beyond 1 million by summer, says the American Civil Liberties Union.

"If there were a million terrorists in this country, our cities would be in ruins," Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, stated. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

John McCain Caught in Lie (Again)

Photo from Sahbasucks

So much for Mr. "Straight Talk Express." I know we expect politicians to lie. But we usually expect them to be a little more artful about it.


Split with McCain matters

. . .On Tuesday, McCain said he had never met Cunningham. But Cunningham told CNN he met McCain twice before, including with Mike DeWine at Kenwood Country Club. [snip]

He again said that he isn’t supporting John McCain. But he backed off Tuesday’s on-air remarks that he would support Democrat Hillary Clinton.“John McCain, I’m done with you,” he said. “I may not vote for Hillary, but I’m done with Juan Pablo McCain,” he said. . .

Read more at: Cincinnati Enquirer

Bush Confident Republicans Will Keep White House

Photo from source, Reuters

Keep dreamin', George. I just don't think so. Barring a cataclysmic event (and I wouldn't put that past him), there's just no way a President with a 19% approval rating passes the baton to someone from his own party. Oh God, at least I hope not. . .


Near the end of his second term in office, President George W. Bush tried to offer some encouragement to his fellow Republicans who have seen control of the Congress and many state governor mansions end up in the hands of rival Democrats. [snip]

“I’m confident we’ll hold the White House in 2008. And I don’t want the next Republican president to be lonely, and that is why we got to take the House, retake the Senate, and make sure our states are governed by Republican governors,” Bush said. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Terminator Timeline: My Attempt to Sort it Out

Or, "Come With Me if You Want to Live"

I've written before about getting lost in "Wiki holes," where you just lose yourself in Wikipedia (and related links) for hours, reading about the history of things. Over the last few days, I've taken up an interest in The Terminator franchise, particularly because of the current Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles series on FOX.

Many fans of the series take exception with each new episode (and the movies themselves) for inconsistent chronology. Thus is born the "fanwank," which is an effort to make sloppy writing (or unrevealed plot points) "fit" into a consistent timeline. The same thing happens in any series that has been written/produced by many different people. One commonly held belief is that such series should hire a fan to keep track of continuity!

The Terminator franchise throws in a HUGE monkey wrench because of the use of time travel. This causes as many divergent opinions, because different people have different ideas on how potential time travel should operate. Some think time can't be changed, so everything must fit in a consistent, linear fashion. Others think time can be changed, and the future is not set (an actual quote from the series, by the way). Still others think that every time someone moves in time, a new reality is created.

The problem with the "time can't be changed" theory is that it creates paradoxes: Kyle Reese can't be John Connor's father, because if he were, how could Connor send him back in the past to be his father if John Connor wouldn't exist without him? The only solution here is that time is a closed loop, and that Connor always sent him back from the future. Which blows my mind a little.

The third theory, that separate timelines are created, won't fit in my head. Each new time traveler creates his own universe, and the original still exists? Where did the matter come from to create a whole new reality? Dozens, hundreds, millions of "separate realities" are all existing at the same time in different dimensions? How? What exactly created them?

I prefer the "no fate but what we make" method of thought. But with a few tweaks. In order for it to work, the time traveller himself has to be unaffected by any action he takes in the past. Sure, he might wipe out his own existence in the future, but he himself--his current time traveller self--does not wink out of existence. The future--the only future--changes with every action taken by the time traveller. People he interacts with, mates with, kills--everything--would change the future he knows. But he himself does not change, and he still remembers the future he is from. With that in mind (if it makes any sense), here is my Terminator timeline.

The Terminator - Kyle Reese is sent back from his future by John Connor, the leader of the resistance against the machines. He is sent back to protect Sarah Connor, so that she can give birth to John. The machines send back a Terminator to kill her. It kills Kyle instead, but not before Kyle gets Sarah preggers. Sarah destroys the Terminator. But parts are left behind.

CONTINUED (Click Link Below)

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - In a now altered future, a John Connor who has Kyle Reese as a father sends back a reprogrammed Terminator to protect his 10-year-old self (and sends Kyle Reese too? Ah geez, another wrinkle). The machines send back a liquid-metal Terminator (possibly one that never existed in the T1 future) to kill John. The parts from the original T1 Terminator are used by Cyberdyne to propel Skynet's creation faster than would have ordinarily happened. Sarah and the good Terminator destroy the liquid Terminator, all the parts of the T1 Terminator, and the good Terminator himself. No evidence is left, except possibly off-site software backups from Cyberdyne.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - I hated this movie, from a timeline perspective. We can assume that something survived from Cyberdyne's records, and that Skynet still came into being, but later. We now have (at least) a third future where Terminators are sent back, but it doesn't really matter, because. . .

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - From another version of the future, a reprogrammed female Terminator is sent back to protect John Connor in 1999. A bad Terminator is sent back to kill him. The good Terminator locates a time portal, built over the years by an unknown group of people sent back to 1963. The female Terminator launches Sarah and John into 2007, unwittingly taking part of the bad Terminator with them. In 2007, a group of resistance fighters has also been sent back, along with assorted other bad Terminators with various missions.

Now, in the first two movies, most events in the timeline worked, and don't need to be "fanwanked." In the third movie, continuity was thrown out the window, but it doesn't matter, because it has been retconned out of existence, effectively. Unknown events before T:TSCC caused that future to not take place. Or, unknown events from the series cause T3:ROTM to happen. Either way, I'm ignoring it.

Several events in T:TSCC have differed from what we "know" from T1 and T2. From my perspective, these events do not need to be fanwanked away. This is the current timeline, up to this point. Who knows how many versions of the timeline have happened by now? Just because there were three movies and a series doesn't mean that we, the viewer, are privvy to everything that has happened. After T2:JD, there could have been two, three, a dozen different adventures that altered the timeline to how it appears now. The producers of the show are free do do pretty much whatever they want. And the movie makers can then retcon the series. Time travel is very freeing that way!

Unfortunately, my brain won't let that work, not entirely. After all, any person's conception is determined by which sperm hits the egg. Alter the conception by a day, a minute, a second. . .and you are a different person. So global, or even local events that are changed would fundamentally change the people involved in these adventures. With all the changes made, the John Connor of 2029 would be a vastly different person, or at least have different memories and compatriots each time. So I'll have to find a fanwank for that one. Not to mention that if different future John Connors have sent back different Kyle Reeses, Sarah Connor had a very busy dance card.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Politics of Fear: The Truth on Protect America Act

Last week, the GOP released a deplorable ad (view it here) criticising the House of Representative's denial of President Bush's request demand to have retroactive immunity for telecom companies put into the "Protect America Act." It was the politics of fear at its zenith.

Crooks and Liars has put together an answer to that ad, shooting down its claims. Check it out.

Dying Lesbian's Partner Denied Access in Florida

Image from ByteLand

Championing gay rights has never been a primary focus of this blog. The issue is important to me, but there are countless other blogs devoted to the topic that can do a more thorough and focused job of it. In this case, I'm going to make an exception.

Most Americans seem to think that any gay rights issue has to do with "special rights." They'll say that gay people have the same rights as anybody else, and that any other rights granted to them would be above and beyond what straight people have. It's never been true, but it is difficult to get people to understand that. This story should illustrate to even the hardest hearted of you (a group I'm often accused of belonging to), exactly why the fight for gay civil rights is important.


Dying Lesbian's Partner Denied Access To Her

Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond had planned to take their three children on a family cruise. The Olympia, Washington couple had been together 18 years and with their children were looking forward to the holiday.

But just as they were about to depart on the cruise from Miami, Florida. Pond, a healthy 39-year-old, suddenly collapsed. [snip]

Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Langbehn’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither she nor her children were allowed to see Pond until nearly eight hours after their arrival. . .

Read more at:

Jimmy Kimmel F'ing Ben Affleck?

I feel a little out of the loop on this little pop-culture fact: talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is dating comedienne Sarah Silverman. Anyone who didn't know that probably knows by now, from this "birthday present" video Sarah made for Jimmy:

I'm F'ing Matt Damon! by Sarah Silverman

It was very funny, and of course while the naughty bits are bleeped, it's plain what she's talking about. Not to be outdone, Jimmy now has a response:

I'm F'ing Ben Affleck! by Jimmy Kimmel

Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Faces Foreclosure

Photo from source, Raw Story

Who knew the housing bubble was this bad? Seriously though, this story is particularly sad for me for a couple of reasons. Growing up as I did in the early 1980s, I'm old enough to remember when Thriller came out, and quite literally changed the world of music. I'm also old enough to remember standing in a K-Mart, looking at the LP cover, and feeling vaguely embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to notice I was looking. It was akin to admiring the Osmonds or the Carpenters' new album.

Then Thriller took off, with a huge string of hits, and was largely responsible for putting MTV on the map (along with Duran Duran, Culture Club, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, of course). Michael Jackson was almost a deity from late 1982 to some time in 1984. And along about that time, he started getting weird--weirder. All sorts of bizarre rumors, strange behavior, the flaming Pepsi commercial. He didn't get unpopular, exactly, but it wasn't as cool to like him.

Then came Bad, which heralded another wave of Michael love, but in a more contained and more compressed time frame. His eccentricities shone through during they heyday of Bad, so much so that he answered the tabloid stories with an extra cut called Leave Me Alone. The cycle continued with Dangerous, which was also hugely popular (especially Black or White), and the coolness factor was even shorter.

At around this time, a friend of mine who worked for Michael (long story) asked me to come work at Neverland for a famous celebrity's wedding. Being in the area at the time, I jumped at the chance (as did several of my friends). In all, I got to go to the ranch twice, and even tour Michael's house. It was all spectacular, in a simultaneously ostentatious and understated way.

Let me just say that if I had Michael Jackson's fame and fortune back then, I could only have dreamed of creating such a place. It was flat-out amazing. I'd never want to leave. Due to legal documents I signed, I really probably should leave it there, other than to say if you've ever been there, you wouldn't find it crazy. Here in Las Vegas, I've seen some of the "secret rooms" in casinos that they reserve for Arabian Shieks and such--those are crazy. Neverland Valley Ranch was cool.

So, sorry Michael. I'm sorry your dream has come to this. I'll always remember it fondly.


Michael Jackson faces forced sale of Neverland

Michael Jackson's famed Neverland Valley Ranch in California will be foreclosed and sold on March 19 unless the pop star pays a balance of nearly $25 million, property records showed on Tuesday. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Karl Rove Punked with "Free Siegelman" Poster

There is no one more deserving of a public "Punk"ing than Karl Rove. And if he thinks Karma is through with him, I'd say she's only getting warmed up.

For more background on the Don Siegelman story (the subject of the poster), go here, here and here.

Bush Says We'll Thank God for Iraq War

Photo from Theocracy Watch

Gahhh. Delusions of grandeur, anybody? Or maybe he's just echoing "Bush's Brain," Karl Rove, who said essentially the same thing. 11 more months, 11 more months. . .


"I believe 50 years from now, people will look back at this period of time, and say, thank God the United States of America did not lose its faith in the transformative power of liberty to bring the peace we want for our children and our grandchildren."

Read more at: Think Progress

Ridiculous Anti-Obama Attacks from the Right

Photo from source, Los Angeles Times

People have said that this is an ugly campaign so far. I don't believe it's been so bad--and have been of the opinion that the attacks so far have been rather feeble. But feeble though they may be, they're just getting warmed up.

The difference in this campaign--assuming that Barack Obama gets the Democratic nomination--is that the attacks will be steadily more personal and petty. Outside a perception that Obama's experience is lacking, the only other thing they have to throw at him is innuendo. We've seen that with the pictures of Obama in African dress, and allegations that he's a Trojan Horse Muslim. We've seen it in the attacks on his patriotism over flag lapel pins and the national anthem/pledge of allegiance non-stories.

And most ridiculously, attacks on his middle and last names. All of these things are just insulting to intelligent people. I can only hope that there aren't enough gullible voters out there who buy these loads of crap.


Obama slammed by speakers at McCain rally

Local conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham described Obama as "a hack Chicago Daley-style politician who is picturing himself as change. When he gets done with you -- all you're going to have in your pocket is change," he said. [snip]
"At some point in the near future the media ... is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama," he said. "At some point the media will quit taking sides in this thing and maybe start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they cover Bush, the same way they cover Cheney, and same way they cover every Republican."

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

Steven Weber on the Waning Power of Dirty Politics

Photo from

I know, I know, I link to a lot of Steven Weber's opinion pieces from The Huffington Post. I don't cover them all, but it's difficult not to. Primarily because he writes the way I want to write, but rarely pull off as well.

With all the talk of how dirty this campaign has been so far, I've been left scratching my head a little. Most of the mud flinging has quickly dried, and been brushed off. Rarely do any of these "attacks" really stick, and almost all of them leave me rolling my eyes. I've actually heard the campaign referred to as "the dirtiest ever," and Hillary Clinton's campaign called "the most spectacular failure" ever. Puhleeeze! Far dirtier campaigns have been waged, and Rudy Giuliani's, Mitt Romney's and Fred Thompson's campaigns failed more spectacularly. We just have very short memories.

Here's Steven with his opinion on why the poo being flung just doesn't have that sting anymore.


Fight With Clubs

. . .The feeling that the population has just come to after having ingested a roofie-laced order of Freedom Fries has gone viral, penetrating even the most traditionally impregnable strongholds. So obvious is it, that even those most adept at hurling invective-laced loogies are doing so with bewilderingly less commitment and a significant decrease in phlegm. It just ain't in 'em. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

FOX Attacks: Barack Obama

Brave New Films once again shows us why FOX "News" deserves those quote marks, and is not a "fair and balanced" news channel. I'd argue it's not a news channel at all.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cute With Chris: I Got in Trouble

I haven't featured a clip from Cute With Chris in a long time, but the blog is in need of some funny. And funny around here usually means deeply twisted, an area in which Chris excels.

I particularly like this one, because of the interaction Chris has with people who have visited his site. I often wish I had more vocal visitors, and had more of a two-way communication with people who land at my site. But often when they do, it's because they are complaining about something. When this happens, I have one of a few reactions: sarcasm, anger, remorse, amusement. . .sometimes a combination of those things. See how Chris handles it.

Golden Raspberry Awards: Razzies Announced!

While everyone goes on about the 80th Annual Academy Awards Oscars show, people like me--who didn't see any of the movies--are left out of the discussion. And while I didn't see the movies up for a Razzie either, they're way more fun to read about! And as a "bad movie" fan, I may just have to check them out. Or not. . .


Eddie & Lindsay Both Achieve Trifectas of Trash, Lohan's KILLED ME Cops New RAZZIE® Record

Many a RAZZIE® record was broken at this weekend's 28th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards, which dis-honor Worst Achievements in Film. Lindsay Lohan and Eddie Murphy, each starring in one of 2007's Worst Picture nominees, both managed the unenviable feat of securing three of the gold spray-painted, $4.89 trophies apiece. Murphy became the first performer ever to win three of the four Worst Acting trophies in a single year — all for his multiple roles in the film everyone assumes cost him last year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for DREAMGIRLS. . .

Read more at:

Bush Still Pressing for Warrantless Wiretaps

Photo from source, Huffington Post

This reminds me of George W. Bush's campaign to privatize Social Security. He kept beating a dead horse, long after it was drawing flies. So why won't he just give it up already? Probably because the House and Senate have caved eventually, almost every time. Here's hoping that for once, they don't. This telecom immunity provision Bush is pushing so hard for would effectively end any investigations into the matter, if granted. That is why he's pushing so hard.


President Bush on Monday lobbied again for an intelligence law allowing government eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails, as the tone of the dispute between the White House and Congress over terrorist surveillance grew increasingly sharp. [snip]

"Our government told them that their participation was necessary," Bush said. "And it was, and it still is, and that what we had asked them to do was legal. And now they're getting sued for billions of dollars. And it's not fair."


Read more at: Huffington Post

Mitt Romney Back in? Romney Spawn for Congress?

And we thought we were through with Mittens and his clan, at least until 2012. I guess it's (kinda) interesting. After all, with the bad week John McCain has had, I suppose anything's possible. And Josh Romney running for Congress in Utah? What are the chances that he could win, I mean his dad only took 90% of the vote?


Breaking News: Mitt Romney to rejoin GOP race?

Josh Romney, one of former Gov. Mitt Romney's five sons, says it's "possible" his father may rejoin the race for the White House, as a vice presidential candidate or as the Republican Party's standard-bearer if the campaign of Sen. John McCain falters. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

This Modern World Takes on Right Wing Media

Rarely a week goes by when Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World isn't absolutely spot-on in its analysis of the current state of politics and media. Amazingly, the strip manages to do this and be funny. This week is no exception. I'd dearly love to run the whole thing, but go to the real site to check out the rest of the strip. And check out the archives. It's genius.

Can We Put Karl Rove in Jail Already?

Photo from source, Raw Story

We already know no matter how low you go, no matter how many rocks you turn over, you'll never find anyone--anything--lower than Karl Rove. But the right wing delights in absolutely anything and everything he does. When an Alabama CBS station's transmission curiously went dark when it was supposed to be broadcasting this story, Freepers just loved it. Witness these comments from Free Republic .

"This is just too ironic (and AWESOME)!"

"Rove, you magnificant [sic] bastard!"

"Karl Rove is undercover at 60 minutes. MAN HE IS GOOD LOLOLOL!"

Read more of this insane drivel here: Free Republic

And here, the story where Rove just puts one more layer of slime onto his well-lubricated, Jabba-like self. . .


In exclusive interview, Alabama whistleblower says Rove trying to smear her

Rove's attorney says CBS should apologize for story

After a CBS affiliate blacked out 60 Minutes in Alabama, Dana Jill Simpson, the Republican attorney from Alabama and a whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case, told RAW STORY Monday that the coordinated smear attack on her credibility by the state's GOP and the American Spectator publication are being pushed by Karl Rove – the former senior aide to President Bush – in retaliation for her revelations of his role in the investigation and conviction of Don Siegelman. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

When Is a Surge Not a Surge?

There are many definitions of the word "surge." It can be a noun or a verb, and it can refer to water, electricity, or the onrush of almost anything. George W. Bush and his administration have succeeded in adding a new definition, originally based on parts of the old ones, but meaning something new: a sustained increase in soldiers into a war zone for a long period of time. Sure, it once sort of made sense, and sounded kind of "rah-rah" cool. But aren't we a little past calling this thing a surge?

Now, apparently, even when the "surge" is over, we will still have more soldiers deployed than before the surge. Do we call that a trickle?


U.S. expects 140,000 troops in Iraq after surge

The United States expects to have 140,000 troops in Iraq in July after withdrawing five combat brigades, leaving a force larger than before it began pouring in troops last year, the Pentagon said on Monday. . .

Read more at: Reuters

John McCain Says He Could Lose Over War

Photo from source, Yahoo! News

And then, he backtracked. But he was right the first time. . .


McCain says he could lose over war issue

John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, "then I lose. I lose," the Republican said.

He quickly backed off that remark. . .

Read more at: Yahoo! News

Top 10 Conservative Idiots: February 25, 2008

Wow, another week begins already. The weekend goes fast when you've got the flu. And now I have to struggle through a day at work not completely recovered. Oh, well, at least there's a new Top 10 at Democratic Underground to read. Check it out.


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 326

February 25, 2008
Oscar Special!

It's Oscar time again, so let's celebrate by handing out some little gold statuettes of our own. John McCain (1,2,3,4,5) cleans up the top honors, while Ralph Nader (6), Rick Renzi (7), and Bill O'Reilly (8), all walk away with awards. My apologies in advance for the bad language in number 9 - it's Roger Stone's fault. . .

Read the list at: Democratic Underground

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Scott Kleeb to Run for Senate in Nebraska

Photo from

Back in early 2006, when Democratic control of Congress was still a dream, a young man from Nebraska ran a spirited campaign for Congress. In the reddest of states, he did amazingly well, though he lost by 10 percentage points. He got quite a push from liberal web sites, particularly AmericaBlog, due to his earnestness, his clear message, a heartfelt desire to shift power away from Republicans, and. . .well, probably his movie star good looks. Anyway, he's back in the race, and this blog wishes him good luck. All of the above continues to apply.


Kleeb to run for Senate

Former congressional candidate Scott Kleeb will run for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Nebraska, he announced Sunday on his website. [snip]

Kleeb, a 32-year-old rancher and history teacher at Hastings College, lost a spirited open seat race to Rep. Adrian Smith in 2006 by 10 points, a strong showing in a conservative House district. He also considered running against Smith again this cycle. . .

Read more at: The Hill

Here's a video from his original campaign.

Great Quotes by Famous People #2: Frank Zappa

Photo from

There was a lot more to this guy than Valley Girl. Found today on the Democratic Underground forums:

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre." --Frank Zappa

Oscar Fever

The 80th Annual Acadamy Awards; The Oscars; The Gay Super Bowl is on as I type this, and I really couldn't care less. I love Jon Stewart, and hope he does a good job, but I haven't seen any of the movies nominated this year. What's more, I'm not interested in seeing any of the movies nominated this year.

Do you know what the most recent movie I've seen in a theater was? No, really, I'm asking because I can't remember. I know I saw Sicko (pictured with slight modifications here--yeah, that's my face) when I was visiting Columbus last spring. Since then, I really couldn't tell you.

My recent DVD purchases have reflected an interest in filling in some recent gaps in my movie-going: Shrek the Third and Spider-Man 3. And the not-so-recent: Election, Ruthless People, Jumpin' Jack Flash. The latter two being replacements for my long gone laser disc collection. I guess what I'm saying is, I can usually wait for the video.

I've also not gone in much for the current frenzy for celebrity happenings. At a time when it's more available than ever, thanks to the internet tubes, and Perez Hilton, I just don't freakin' care. Especially when the celebs featured most of all are of dim wattage.

Also tonight, the real reason for my Jamie/Michael Moore Sicko picture is that I'm illin.' I have a bad cold or a light flu, which is making me crabby. It may also make me post fewer things today, but so be it. Anyway, I hope you are having a grand time watching the Oscars tonight. I'll catch the highlights on YouTube.

Comedian Lee Camp Slams FOX "News" on Live TV

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

[gasps for breath]

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

White House LIES About "Lost Intelligence"

Whomever wins the Presidency this fall, I hope that the change we've all been clamoring for includes a change in standard operating procedure, as we have seen it in the last seven years. George W. Bush and his administration say whatever the hell they want to in order to get their way. If there are too many holes in their story, and the press or Congress is feeling unusually courageous, the White House backs down. But then issues a dire warning anyway.

But they never admit that they made up a story (lied), they either come up with a convoluted face-saving story (another lie), or they deny they ever told the first lie. Dick Cheney has done this, even when there was audio and video evidence to the contrary. Usually, this is followed by an admonition to the opposition that they've endangered national security.

Even the story I'm linking to won't call a spade a spade. The administration didn't "backtrack," they told another lie to cover their original lie. Simple as that. And quite tiresome by now.


White House backtracks on claims of lost intelligence

A day after warning that potentially critical terrorism intelligence was being lost because Congress had not finished work on a controversial espionage law, the U.S. attorney general and the national intelligence director said Saturday that the government was receiving the information -- at least temporarily. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

Ralph Nader to Run for President (Again)

Photo from source, AOL News

Here we go again. Captain Ego, Ralph Nader is once again running as a third-party candidate for President. His extraordinarily long-winded answers to Tim Russert this morning on NBC's Meet the Press, defy reality. While he acknowledges the very true spectre of voter disenfranchisement in Florida in 2000, he refuses to admit any role in the defeat of Al Gore, and the ultimate victory of George W. Bush.

The truth is, without Nader, we would have been spared a first George W. Bush administration. We very likely would have been spared any George W., though by now, Jeb would surely be ready to give it a go. I used to preface any statement about Nader with accolades for him personally. I no longer feel that way. He's riding on pure ego, and counting on voters' idealism.

The truth of the matter is, Ralph Nader hasn't a ghost of a chance of winning in 2008, and he knows this. Anyone who votes for him knows this too. Yet, all will claim they are "voting their conscience," while decrying the flaws of a two-party system. Humbug. If you want more parties, work at it from a grass-roots level. Grow the third or fourth parties from dogcatcher on up. Going for the brass ring of the Presidency every four years, without having created a viable party is throwing your vote away, and voting against your own best interest.

I think the only reason that Nader has thrown his hat into the ring one more time, is that he knows it his last chance for this sort of attention. At 74 years old, he's even older than John McCain. There's no chance that in 2012 he'd be taken seriously at 78, and in 2016? Pretend for a second he could get elected in 2008. By the end of two terms, President Nader would be 82 years old! Are we trying to compete with Cuba for oldest President?


Ralph Nader Enters Presidential Race

Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many. . ."

Read more at: AOL News

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bill Maher's New Rules, February 22, 2008

I'm a huge fan of Real Time with Bill Maher, and Maher himself. I don't agree with him on everything, but that just makes him more interesting. His show is in its second week having its writers back, so the New Rules are back as well. It is usually the best part of the show, unless the guests are particularly engaging. This week, with two conservatives, and a quiet liberal woman, the panel discussion part of the show wasn't terribly good.

I've gotta say though, I'm really digging their roving reporter, Rolling Stone magazine's Matt Taibbi. Love his wry sense of the absurd, and his willingness to jab conservatives across the table. I hope they keep bringing him back.

Sign of the Apocolypse: Dog The Bounty Hunter Returns

Photo from source, TVGasm

I get a lot of crap from my brother, friends and coworkers for being a Survivor fan. I also get razzed for watching American Idol, but to be fair, I never watch AI with undivided attention. I must be also reading, blogging, or doing chores while it is on, or I feel guilty and a little empty inside.

As far as reality series go, those two are pretty much my only guilty pleasures. But what is the deal with Dog the Bounty Hunter? Does anybody admit to watching the show?

To be fair, I've never seen it. But when Dog had his day several months ago, with some stupid racist remarks, we were inundated with his visage. Horrifying. What would possess a man his age to call himself "Dog" and to look and dress like that? Moreover, what would possess someone to be a fan of his? I just don't get it.

During his scandal, I caught Hannity & Colmes (another train wreck) on FOX "News," and they were running an "exclusive" interview with Dog that ran nearly the entire length of the show. Add to this the number of times his story cropped up on FOX "News," and I suppose it explains Dog's popularity: FOXbots.


Dog The Bounty Hunger Is Baaacccck

Dog the Bounty Hunter will be making his big return to A&E. His show will be back on the air soon, and production is rumored to start back up in Hawaii. I guess A&E thought he was put in time-out long enough. It doesn't make what he said okay, but it should be interesting to see what his attitude is upon his return. I'm not holding my breathe. I don't really miss him at all.

From: TVGasm

Coming Up Short: Enzyte Owner Guilty of Fraud

Photo from

Who would think that a company that makes a "male enhancement" pill would have an owner convicted of fraud?

What I've always wondered is, why anyone would believe that stuff actually works, and how the company was able to keep selling it.


Enzyte maker found guilty of fraud
Owner of Herbal Supplement Company Found Guilty of Fraud

A federal court jury on Friday found the owner of a company that sells "male enhancement" tablets and other herbal supplements guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

John McCain: Picture Imperfect

As the campaign for the Presidency goes on, we keep hearing about how contentious and dirty it is. It's not though, not really. There is always mudslinging, and nitpicking, and mountains being made out of molehills--but this is not unusually bad. It's par for the course.

The real nasty comes later, when we get to the general election. That is where the gloves really come off. But I have a suggestion for Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton, should things change dramatically). Just run photo collages of John McCain. Just look at these pictures! You don't need to say a word! The one with John and Cindy in goggles will frighten small children (and older adults who remember the TV series, "V." (All photos linked to their original source)

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