Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Political Hissy Fits

Image from source, Politico

Now's as good a time as any for this piece from Politico, an excellent assessment of all the noise we're hearing out of Washington DC right now. It tries to play "both sides are equally bad" a little to hard, but other than that a great read.


The pros and cons of hissy fits

In the course of 24 hours this week, a viral Web video portrayed a Republican congressman calling the president the “enemy of humanity,” a Democratic congressman warned sick people that Republicans “want you to die quickly,” and a New York Times columnist suggested that all the hot talk might lead to acts of violence.

To which the chairman of the Republican National Committee replied: “
Nut job. . .”

Read more at: Politico

Alan Grayson Makes News by Telling the Truth

This is the bit that has put right-wing world into a fit of faux outrage. For starters, though the statement by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is confrontational, it also has the virtue of being true. Republicans have been using similar language--with no threat of censure--for many months now, and they were making shit up. So their tizzy now is particularly hypocritical.

After the predictable GOP hissy fit, and demands to apologize, Grayson did. Um, sorta. . .

For Everybody Who Was Afraid of a Democratic Majority

Republicans, what you've been told by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and others is a lie! The Democratic majority voted for by the American people in 2008 was not the death knell of the United States! Why? Because, no matter how many Democrats are in power, it doesn't matter! They're cowed by the screaming tea baggers, and the rabble-rousing that has gone on in Right Wing World over the summer!

So, yay! Despite the fact that Democrats have commanding majorities, they cannot. Get. Their. Shit. Together. Period.

A Coup Against Obama in the Offing? Please. . .

Ridiculous poster from

So, I'm having my best day of the month--the best day in ages really--for readers on the blog. So far this month, I'm doing better for the hits than I have all year, excepting two months. And what do I do? Go on vacation! Yes, after tonight, I'll be away in the far reaches of the heartland (Ohio) for the better part of a week. It always happens like this, make some headway, and piddle it all away.

Still, I have some posts seeded over the next five days, on a time-release pattern. So the blog will not go dark. And if I'm lucky, Stupid Monkey Planet will descend from the canopy, and supply you with some fresh blogitude. Until then, here is a little political morsel for you.

Apparently, there are some in Right Wing World who think a "political coup" against President Barack Obama is "not unrealistic." Now, if Obama was all they alledge him to be, a Marxist, communist, socialist, racist, Hitler-like, Mao-like, Mussolini-like, radical Muslim, I might be able to see their point. But he's not. Not even close. He's just not "their guy," not "their color," and they are pissed off. Good. You're supposed to be. But get your shit together, guys! We put up with it for eight years!


Newsmax columnist: Military coup "to resolve the 'Obama problem' " is not "unrealistic"

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Melissa Etheridge and Salman Ahmad "Ring the Bells

More Rachel, More ACORN. . .

Sorry for the lack of new posts, but it is going to be a regular thing for about a week. We had friends over for a big soiree, and are embarking on a nearly week-long vacation, so posting will be much lighter than usual until about October 5th.

In the mean time, BOY, I wish more people watched The Rachel Maddow Show. See, here's the difference between right-wing punditry and left-wing punditry. Rachel tells the truth. And if she gets something wrong, she owns up to it. You want a no-spin zone? Well, TRMS may not be that 100%, but it's a damn sight closer than The O'Reilly Factor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall TV: New V to Have Odd Schedule

Image from Collider

When a sci-fi show premieres on FOX, I immediately get wary, and might even avoid it, since they tend to cancel them so quickly. Quick, name a sci-fi show on FOX that has lasted more than two seasons in the last few years. Right now Fringe and Dollhouse are getting their second try, but Dollhouse already looks to be in trouble. Damn it.

But the new V is on ABC, so everything's OK, right? Well, that remains to be seen. Lost has been around a while, but what else in the genre has ever made it for very long? I have hopes for FlashForward, and hopefully that one will catch on. But V is the one I'm anxious for. I absolutely loved the original, and its sequel, V: The Final Battle on NBC back in the 80s (the subsequent short-lived series, not so much). Done right, this show could be mind blowing.

So what are they doing? Waiting until November to start the show for one. And secondly, they're only going to air four episodes, and then take it off the air until the Olympics are over. Great. That'll work. Well, maybe it could work, if the show is really awesome, and ABC is smart enough to be very clear that the first four episodes are an "event" leading up to a full-fledged series this winter. Or something. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


ABC to break up 'V' debut; first four episodes air in November

An ABC spokeswoman confirmed exclusively to EW that V, the network’s much anticipated reboot of the old NBC miniseries, will air for a limited, four-episode run in November and then return to the schedule after the Olympics in March. . .

Read more at: Entertainment Weekly

Crazy Minnesota Barbie! Michelle Bachmann Doll

Image from source, TPM Muckraker

I have no words. . .


Michele Bachmann Action Figure Now Available For $34.95

Look out, Barbie -- here comes the Michele Bachmann action figure!

Minnesota Public Radio reports, the increased fame of the second-term Congresswoman had spurred a Connecticut company, Herobuilders, to manufacture a new posable toy in her image.
. .

Read more at: TPM Muckraker

Monday, September 28, 2009

Obama, Hitler and Guns, Oh My!

OK, this is just getting out of hand. . .


Right-Wing Conference Tells Activists To Get Their Guns Ready For ‘Bloody Battle’ With Obama The Nazi

. . .If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [...] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. [...] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wing Nut Posts Assassination Poll on FaceBook

Image from source, ABC News

I hope the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, or whomever is responsible for this sort of thing, lands on the jerk who made this thing up with both feet. Likely it was--to the creator of the poll--a "harmless prank." But I'm betting people who voted "yes" didn't see it that way, and I'm hoping the authorities don't either.


Secret Service Probing Facebook Poll That Asked Whether Obama Should Be Killed

The Secret Service is investigating the origins of a poll that appeared on Facebook that asked whether President Obama should be killed.

Posted over the weekend, the poll was removed by Facebook after the Secret Service received a tip and contacted the company, which was not aware of the survey, sources tell ABC News. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Glenn Beck Before He Was Glenn Beck

It's interesting to see where some TV political pundits got their bona fides. Rachel Maddow, for instance, has a degree in public policy, a Rhodes Scholarship, and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Politics. What about rising star, Glenn Beck? Surely--given his massive popularity--he's got to be equally accredited, right?

Surprisingly, no. Apparently, he's an early college dropout (full disclosure, I am too, but I dropped out much later than Beck), and was a wacky morning zoo DJ! That's it! Wanna see him in his previous job?

Liz Cheney: Cream of the GOP Crop?

Image from source Politics Daily

"Laugh or cry?" That quote from the HBO program, Nurse Jackie, has quickly become a favorite in our household. And it couldn't be more apt, in relation to the excerpted article below. Liz Cheney is seriously being considered a "fresh face" of the GOP, a rock star.

On one hand, my heart sinks at the notion of a continuation of the Cheney legacy. On the other, she is only slightly less cartoonish than the rest of the roster (Sarah Palin, Bibby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, ad infinitum). So, a good thing, or a bad thing? Laugh or cry?

Liz Cheney, 'Red State Rock Star'

Although former Vice President Dick Cheney has taken a lower profile recently, his eldest daughter, Liz Cheney, has become an in-demand spokeswoman for conservative causes and a hot property on network and cable news shows alike.

Monday, the New York Times
put Liz Cheney on its front page, with an in-depth profile of the woman one Republican described as "a red state rock star. . ."

Read more at: Politics Daily

Glenn Beck Gets Keys to City. . .Change the Locks!

Image from source, Raw Story

So, it is appoaching the wee hours of Monday morning, and I always like to have something fresh posted for the week. Sometimes, on a Sunday evening that is easier said than done. Then I stumbled upon a headline that made me laugh (paraphrased above). So until later folks, enjoy the story and have a great Monday.


Glenn Beck gets key to city — ‘Change the locks,’ protesters urge

Some 800 protesters packed the sidewalks outside an auditorium in Mount Vernon, Washington, on Saturday to express their displeasure at the city mayor’s decision to give Fox News host Glenn Beck the key to the city.

“The Fox News personality’s visit Saturday to Mount Vernon had sparked weeks of protests and petitions calling for the cancellation of the visit,” Seattle’s KOMO TV
reported. The station said one protester was arrested when the crowd “surged” during the protests. . .

Read more at: The Raw Story

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conspiracy Corner: Birther Info-mercial

Want to go on a trip through the looking glass? That's what it feels like to watch this "commercial" for the birther movement (people who think Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen, and therefore not eligible to be President). Let's start with the bizarro hairdo of the preacher/host, Bill Keller. Then, there is a line at the very beginning that is--if you're being charitable--a misstatement of truth, and if you are not, a lie.

He claims that Obama's paternal grandmother has stated that he was born in Kenya. This is untrue. The statement came from his paternal step-grandmother, and was a mistranslation that Mrs. Obama tried to clear up repeatedly immediately after the faux-pas was made. It's clear as day that she wasn't trying to say that Obama was born in Kenya. Okay, next up are some bizarre edits, which may just be the product of the video maker abridging the clip. But then, a lawyer is introduced, the (aptly named) Gary Kreep. He's Orly Taitz without the accent, wig and heels. And he's apparently on the opposite side of a birther schism too.

Anyway, Kreep goes through a litany of debunked claims, including the falsehood that Obama could have been born anywhere, and still obtained a legal Hawaii birth certificate. He also points to an (unnamed) "expert" who has proven that Obama's current certificate is a fake. This one has long been debunked too. This video is very unlikely to persuade anyone who is even slightly informed on this ridiculous conspiracy theory. Bonus points for the hackneyed scary music. By the way, I wonder if Taitz and Keller got their wigs from the same vendor?

[Editor's Note: If you want a resource for the debunkings of virtually every Birther notion, here is an excellent resource that is informative
and entertaining: Obama Conspiracy Theory.

Ann Coulter Blames Obama "Hitler" Signs on Liberals

The funniest thing about this video to me is that Ann Coulter believes there are whack-job "outliers" in the tea party movement, or that the nuttiest of the fringe are liberals in disguise. How would one be able to tell the difference between a "mainstream" or a "fringe" tea bagger, exactly?

The other noteworthy thing about this video, is that President Obama is clearly pointing out the inherent WTF? things about the tea bagger movement, in this case the Hitler imagery as it pertains to health care reform. It makes about as much sense as the "Socialism" signs with Obama as The Joker. Again, WTF?

Catching a Ride on the Clue Bus Never More Difficult


David Letterman: Top Ten Questions for Sarah Palin Dinner

I'm actually quite relieved to find that David Letterman wasn't spooked by the faux outrage he sparked a while back when he made jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter. He's still panning gold from the endless comedy fodder Palin provides. Good for him.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

DVD Review: An American Carol

Let me start out by saying that some of my very favorite movies are those made by Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker (known affectionately as ZAZ), together or separately. Airplane!, Top Secret!, Hot Shots! (Part I and Part Deux), The Naked Gun series and Ruthless People have held spots in my video library in VHS, LaserDisc and DVD versions. I've watched them all many, many times.

Later works have been a little less classic (Scary Movie 3 and 4). But there's still some good stuff in there. Something happened to parody movies over the last decade or so. First, it seems like anyone thinks they can do it. Second, movie makers somehow got the idea that just putting Leslie Nielsen into a film would automatically make it funny. And lastly, even the old hands (Mel Brooks, David Zucker) seem to have forgotten what is funny. Case in point is An American Carol.

Somewhere along the way, David Zucker not only became a conservative, he decided that he could make it funny. He was sooo wrong. Or actually, trying to make a conservative's idea of what liberals think just isn't funny. At least not to a liberal. There must be some nugget of truth in comedy for it to work, and that's a big problem with this film.

The film centers on a film maker modeled after Michael Moore, played by the late Chris Farley's brother Kevin. The film maker hates everything about America, and all the patriotic trappings. He hates the military, boy scouts, and the 4th of July. Moore himself, in real life, is none of those things. But conservatives think he is. So basically, this film is a parody of a perception, which is kind of strange.

Eventually, after much pointless (and not terribly funny) slapstick, the film segues into a take-off of A Christmas Carol. Transposing the idea to Independence Day from Christmas is sort of jarring. And honestly, the story has had so many takeoffs over the years--from other movies to just about every long-running TV series for the past 30 years--it's pretty worn-out territory. Farley is serviceable as Moore, and the acting in the film is not the problem. It's what they're given to work with that is the problem.

Cameos and larger parts are made by several recognizable actors, including almost every well-known conservative actor in Hollywood. Kelsey Grammar, Kevin Sorbo, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, James Woods, Robert Davi, David Alan Grier, Jon Voit and many others turn up. None of them is bad in their part. But, not only does almost every joke land with a thud (and the subtlety of an anvil), the subject of the humor never rises above the late un-lamented 1/2-hour News Hour from FOX "News."

Leslie Nielsen--one of my all-time favorites in about half his films--may be getting a little too old for this kind of thing. He plays "Grandpa" but looks like "Great Grandpa"--at least. Grammar as Gen. George S. Patton (an actual relative of mine) is the closest thing to funny in the whole picture. That has a lot more to do with him being a pro, than it does with the material he's given. Farley's character is so nasty and vile, I'm surprised Moore didn't sue for defamation. And I was just embarrassed for Grier as a slave in a "what if Lincoln didn't fight the Civil War" present day.

A 1968 musical number could have been funny, but suffers from the central problem: it's centered around what conservatives imagine that liberals believe. Parody is all about exaggeration. But this doesn't exaggerate the truth, it exaggerates ideas that exist only in the minds of the far-right's fevered imaginations. The very premise of a prominent liberal wanting to abolish the 4th of July is completely out of right-wing world. I'm aware that the film is intended for conservative audiences, not for me. But do even conservatives find this funny?

I should mention that I bought this DVD in a three-for-$10 bin at Hollywood Video. $3.33 is more than the film is worth though, sadly. The film pulled in a dismal $7 million (though it had a budget of $20 million), so I guess I'm not alone. I'm not sure how well the DVD itself did, but as a graphic artist, I must say the cover sucks. And that's being generous. The blurbs don't quite sell it, and the lack of a major studio's name anywhere on the box makes me wonder how this thing even got to DVD.

An American Carol is worse than Date Movie or even Disaster Movie bad. It's The Happening bad.

My review: Don't even get it for $3 just to see how bad it is. Just take my word for it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What Happens in Vegas: (In-)Famous Legend Bob Stupak Dies

Image from source,

Bob Stupak was probably the most colorful public figure in Las Vegas since Bugsy Siegel. His ideas were outlandish, and not always executed very well. The Stratosphere Tower was probably his singular positive achievement, but it was known for a very long time as "Stupak's Stump," because it stood unfinished for a very long time. Stupak was never quite himself in public appearances after a motorcycle accident in the 90s. And the gaudy statue he had made of himself when the Stratosphere opened didn't endear himself to the city very much. But he was one of a kind. RIP, Bob.


Stratosphere developer Bob Stupak dies from leukemia at age 67

Anti-ACORN Law Unconstitutional?

When lawmakers try to enact legislation in a knee-jerk response to some flare-up in faux (or real) outrage, there are often unintended consequences. The attempt to federally defund ACORN may actually either be found un-Constitutional or may have to apply the same rules to countless other government contractors, like Blackwater! Oopsie!

SNL Weekend Update Thurs.: Obama on TV

This is a reasonably humerous clip, poking fun of President Obama's big media tour last weekend. I was happy to see that they pointed out and defended Obama's choice to exclude the odeous FOX "News." Enjoy.

A Critique of FOX "News"

This post is a complete rerun of one I ran earlier this year. Upon reflection, I thought it deserved another posting. I'm not one to toot my own horn (very much), but I thought this one hit the nail squarely on the head. Take that for what you will. . .

Image from source, Media Matters

I pretty much stopped watching FOX "News" in September of last year, after the debut of The Rachel Maddow Show. There is only so much cable news that is healthy to watch, and I already watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann most weekdays. I generally watch those two programs on the DVR, which brings my total to less than two hours, still probably too much.

Since Rachel started, FOX "News," particularly Sean Hannity, have been banished from the home, by edict of The Other Half, who just cannot stomach it. But today, while surfing the internet, I tuned to FOX "News" (since The Other Half is away). It is safe to say that FOX "News" isn't just still rightward leaning. It has gotten more so.

Sites like TV Newser and Johnny Dollar's Place are populated by commenters and posters who will vigorously protest the notion that FOX "News" is right-wing. They'll concede that it is "center-right," but more balanced than MSNBC or CNN. Bull pucky. First of all, every FOX defender I have ever read has been a right-winger. And secondly, I have eyes, ears and a brain.

Today, I caught most of replay episodes of Hannity and The Glenn Beck Show. Every element of both shows, as well as in-house advertising, and the crawls at the bottom of the screen practically scream a partisan bent at you. You could defend FOX's integrity by saying "hey, these two shows are just commentary." But that doesn't explain away the advertising and the crawls. It also doesn't explain away FOX defenders' critiques of MSNBC as leftist because of their two major commentary shows.

Hannity is a subtlety-free zone, with the most ham-handed host on television. Without Alan Colmes (who had at best a 33% "balance" on Hannity & Colmes), Sean Hannity has lost something. Controlling the program solo, Hannity's voice seems to have gone up half an octave, and his narration feels hollow, as though a voice-over artist is just reading what is put before him. I don't for a second believe that anything Hannity says is heartfelt--or even possibly understood--by the host. He seems to be there simply to advance the conservative cause and slam Democrats in any and all situations. Segments like "Liberal Translation" are pointless, and interminable, with a heavy-handed circus music score. Every segment hits like an anvil, with no subtlety or nuance whatsoever. If you aren't already in agreement with Hannity, you are very unlikely to be swayed to his side. Almost unwatchable.

Glenn Beck is very different from Hannity, because the host is so earnest. He's batshit crazy, but he probably really believes every over-the-top thing he says. He's histrionic, he's emotional, he cries. He predicts a financial apocalypse for America. He's scared to death of what liberals and Democrats will do, and yet seems to think they are outnumbered by conservatives, and thus are not a threat. Cognitive dissonance has no problem squaring in Beck's world. That circus music from Hannity would play very well as a soundtrack to the entirety of Beck's show.

But these guys sure are popular! Read the comments to any day's TV Newser ratings list. Every day, you'll see commenters ecstatic that FOX "News" won the night again! Every show on FOX beats every MSNBC and CNN show on the air, most nights. And while MSNBC has the next two highest rated shows, they are irrelevant and "nobody watches them." Still, this irrelevant network requires them to rant and rave daily about Keith Olbermann on Olbermann Watch, and Johnny Dollar's Place. So which is it, irrelevant or dangerous? Once again, cognitive dissonance rules.

I'm not sure why I even follow all of this. Ratings are irrelevant, except as it pertains to the continuation or cancellation of shows we like. They are certainly no measure of quality, or American Idol wouldn't hold the top three prime time spots week after week. No, ratings only measure how many sets of eyeballs are watching, not to how good those shows are. In my opinion, FOX continues to rule the roost, not because all the other networks are liberal, but because only FOX "News" is right-wing biased. I will not concede that all the other networks are left-wing biased, only that they don't tip rightward. MSNBC sure. The rest? A real case has not been made. It is a myth that just won't die. And it is a myth that is generally promoted by people who prefer their news with a heaping helping of right-wing bias.

FOX gives their "base" what they want, and gives them a place to congregate. I know--and I'm sure you do too--people who have FOX "News" running on their televisions at any given hour of the day, as background noise. They talk about the "Democrat Party" and ACORN. You'll hear nearly word-for-word "statements of fact" that you heard Sean Hannity say earlier that week. If you start asking serious questions of a FOX viewer, the foundations of their arguments aren't very steady or solid, in my experience. Throw a nuanced question at them, something a little detailed, and they don't have a substantive memory from FOX to draw upon. I can't count how many times I've been in that situation, and had the person I'm talking to just revert to the same lines over and over, even if they've been thoroughly debunked.

Anyway, that's enough ranting about FOX "News." I don't think I'll repeat this experiment for a while, because I don't expect the situation to change. With the addition of Beck, their lineup is more conservative and wack-a-doodle than ever, and they're not going to mess with success, except maybe to add more like it. How soon will we be seeing a sister network, a FOX Headline "News?" Maybe if the FOX "Business" channel never catches on, they can just turn it into FOX "News" 2!

Fall TV: FlashForward

Image from source, TV Squad

Well, I don't know about you all, but I loved it. It wasn't quite as awe-inspiring as the premiere of Lost, but it was close. If everyone on earth experienced a blackout for over two minutes, there would be a hell of a lot of mayhem, possibly more than they've shown so far. Every car, every plane would be careening out of control. People crossing the street, people climbing rocks or even going up the stairs would be in immediate peril.

They showed some of that, but unfortunately, things seemed to go back to "normal" a little too quickly. Still, I think they did an admirable job, and I'm hooked. I'll be back for as many weeks as ABC gives the show. Which, as we know, could be seven seasons, or seven episodes. Time will tell.

For the last several seasons, I've given a pass to several shows that I feared would die a quick death, like Day One, Invasion and Jericho. I was right, and those shows bit the dust before any resolution could take place. On other shows like Swingtown, Traveler and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I watched despite those fears, only to be disappointed by (too soon) cancellations. But I'm biting the bullet with FlashForward and hoping for the best. By the way, if you missed it on Thursday, the show is re-running tonight at 8:00pm. Watch it! Please?


FlashForward: No More Good Days

Well, that was it. The most eagerly anticipated premiere of the season, if early buzz is any indicator. Is it the next Lost? Is it as good as everyone says it was? It can be. As much as I liked this pilot, though, I can't say that I know for sure how good the show is going to be based on it. . .

Read more at: TV Squad

Conan O'Brien: Before PhotoShop

As a graphic artist, I liked this one. . .

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut: The Real ACORN Story

You know, when a story is being beaten like a dead horse by right-wing talk radio and FOX "News", my antennae go up. "There must be more to this story," I think to myself. More often than not, I'm correct in that assumption. Because as often as the media likes to present "two sides to every story" as though they are always equal, it isn't always true. And when the right-wing media is focused like a laser on something like they are on ACORN, there is usually a huge amount of misinformation.

I won't say that left-wing media is pure as the driven snow, or that they don't over-emphasize the importance of things on occasion. But they don't as a rule completely skew a story, using blatant falsehoods. If they do, the stories don't hold water for very long. But if it's FOX "News" or Glenn Beck? Even discredited, thoroughly debunked claims continue to be repeated and believed. It is maddening. So after months of ACORN-bashing (a subject where I really have no dog in the fight), it is refreshing to see The Rachel Maddow Show shining a little light on the story. And it turns out I was right. Most of the crap being troweled on to ACORN is just that, crap. Take a look-see, won't you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worst Person in the World Threefer!

Please excuse the double Countdown with Keith Olbermann post, but this collection of Worst Persons in the World is particularly tasty. First up is the loathsome (and dim) Sean Hannity. The manatee is followed by far-right celebrity (don't they hate celebrities?) Chuck Norris, who is promoting the idea of desecrating the American Flag. But the winner--by a well-spring of stupid--is Glenn Beck who is unwittingly promoting slavery.

Michael Moore on Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Michael Moore is making the rounds, promoting his latest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. It looks good, and couldn't be much more timely. The interview is quite entertaining, and there is an interesting discussion between Moore and Keith Olbermann regarding their "corporate masters." Enjoy.

Stuck on Crazy: Glenn Beck Boils Live Frog On Air?

Image from source, LA Times

You know, very little that Glenn Beck does surprises me anymore. No, the surprising part is that he's a raging success with the birther/deather/tea bagger crowd. So, when I heard that Beck had "boiled a live frog" on air, I thought it was weird, but no weirder than anything else he does.

But the motive behind the whole affair rather baffling. After all, he was trying to illustrate a point with the old adage about a frog sitting in slowly warming water, to one thrown in to already boiling water. Supposedly, the frog will sit in the slowly heated water until he dies, but will hop right out if he's put in the boiling stuff. Beck's frog--if it was really a frog--didn't jump out, and presumably died, disproving the point he was trying to make.

After the stunt, he says it was a rubber frog. But if so, he knew his illustration was going to fail from the outset. So why do it? Possibly to elicit attention like I'm paying him now. He also had to know that animal rights groups would be raving about it. More attention. Doesn't matter if it's negative attention, we've learned that much by now.


Fox News commentator Glenn Beck throws a frog in boiling water (maybe)

We're not quite sure we can actually believe our eyes -- but it seems that Fox News host Glenn Beck has thrown a live frog into boiling water on his television program.
"You know
the old saying ... if you put a frog into boiling water, he's gonna jump right out because he's scalding hot, but if you place the frog in lukewarm water and gradually raise the temperature, the frog won't realize what's happening and die," Beck said to his primarily conservative audience. "Let me get the frogs. . ."

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

David Letterman: Ice Cream for Heterosexuals

Funny, funny!

KFC's Grilled Chicken Might Cause Cancer?

And here I thought it was the fried chicken that would get you. Who knew?


Doctors' suit: KFC grilled chicken a danger

After losing its first battle against fast-food restaurants, a doctors group went back to court Wednesday and accused the KFC chain of selling grilled chicken with dangerous levels of a cancer-causing chemical.

In a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine accused KFC of violating California's Proposition 65, which requires businesses to warn customers if they are being exposed to substances that cause cancer or birth defects. . .

Read more at: SFGate

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Census Worker Found Hung, With "FED" on Chest

Yikes. This is disturbing. The details are scant, but I can't imagine that they won't be scary.

Anti-ACORN Law Could Open Floodgates for Other Organizations

In their zeal to demonize ACORN, Republicans may have crafted a law that could defund any number of organizations. Some, like Blackwater/Xe have been somewhat off-limits for Republicans and the right-wing punditry for some reason. This could get really interesting.


They Want To Punish ACORN? Two Can Play This Game

. . ."Any organization that has filed a fraudlulent form with any Federal or State regulatory agency" can no longer receive federal funds? (And individuals who've merely been indicted for election law violations, whether or not the charges were proven?) The bill further defines "organization" as including ACORN and its affiliates, but it doesn't say it only includes ACORN-related entities. So, gosh, I imagined, there's a lot of entities that suddenly qualify. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

The Origin of Stupidity: Darwin, Cameron and Comfort

Oddly enough, I don't often delve into my own religious beliefs, or rather lack thereof, on the blog. I'm an agnostic, but not--usually--radically so. But every once in a while, a story or video clip comes along that just screams blogworthy!

The subject of this video is a free giveaway of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin on the 150th anniversary of its publication. The catch is, a creationist named Ray Comfort has shoehorned in a 50-page "introduction" to the book. It is an attempt to debunk Darwin with "creation science" In addition to this secular blasphemy (heh!), actor Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Left Behind) is helping him promote the special giveaway as earnestly as his acting ability allows. Kirk, whose most famous role was as a amoral, Lothario teenager (scrubbed squeaky-clean, 80s-style) has become one of the most outspoken actors-for-Jesus in the industry.

Needless to say, the sales pitch is sort of goofy. But, the girl in the video below, Christina, offers an outstanding and entertaining critique of the whole idea. Her Romanian accent is rather thick, but no harder to understand than Arianna Huffington, and she's surely saner than Orly Taitz. Thanks to The Ex-Roommate, Rich for the link. This girl is a hoot!

Mike Stark Interviews "Values Voters Summit" Attendees

OK, this is pretty funny. Blogger Mike Stark attempts to interview attendees of the "Value Voters Summit," pondering where such Republican luminaries as David Vitter, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Foley and others might be. After all, most of them have proclaimed to have these prized "values." Stark is admittedly confrontational, but I find it interesting that most of the people interviewed have no answers and are mostly just pissed off.

So, while I may not choose to be quite so overtly mean (most of the time), there's still something to be said for this technique. Be forewarned, parts of the audio are NSFW, but are quotes directly from O'Reilly. . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

President Obama Interrupts Glenn Beck

Hee hee. Glenn Beck had his show interrupted by a speech being given by President Obama. FOX "News" anchor Shepard Smith seemed rather pleased, Mr. Beck, not so much. Wind to the last 30 seconds to see their reactions.

What Happens in Vegas: Mr. Potty vs. Karl Rove

This morning, a sanitation tanker truck from "Mr. Potty" blew a tire, and then a valve, releasing noxious waste all over U.S. 95. The same day, Mr. Turdblossom was on the radio promoting an appearance here in Las Vegas. I'll leave it for you to decide just who stank up the valley more. . .

It was mildly amusing to hear conservative radio KXNT-AM's Alan Stock refer to Karl Rove as a "political consultant," to the dismay of the corpulent "author." If you feel the need to hear the interview, it can be had here.

President Obama on Late Show with David Letterman

Some say that President Obama is becoming over exposed with his "media blitz" of the past few days. I disagree. I think some of us have forgotten what we liked about him during the campaign. He's a personable, well-spoken, charming and funny guy, especially in venues like The Late Show with David Letterman. Obama's relative absence from the center stage during August and early September let that image recede, and it was replaced with smarmy people like David Axelrod. Bad idea. More of this in the future please. . .

Watch CBS Videos Online

FOX "News" Tamps Down on Unprofessional Behavior

Image from source, Mediaite

Uhhh. . .yeah, right. Listen, I know I've been hitting the FOX "News" stuff a little hard lately. And it's probably lazy blogging, since making fun of them is like shooting fish in a barrel. But this one takes the cake. In order for the employees at the channel to live up to the Vice-President's stern rebuke, they'd have to completely change their format and direction.


Internal Fox News Email Addresses “Standards” After 9/12 Flap

Mediaite has obtained an email from Fox News Vice President of News and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon to the staff of the D.C. bureau, in the wake of an FNC producer caught pumping up the crowd during the 9/12 tea party broadcast.

The email, with the subject line “standards,” addresses the controversy head-on: “We do not cheerlead for one cause or another,” writes Sammon. . .

Read more at: Mediaite

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keith Olbermann: More FOX "News" Nuttiness

Trying to blog while watching the premiere of Heroes is a little difficult. I know the show fell out of vogue, but I am still in. So, slogging through the interwebs in search of bloggy goodness is a little hampered. But this clip from tonight's Countdown with Keith Olbermann is a winner. There's nothing new about Olbermann tearing into FOX "News," of course. But there was a treasure trove of stupid from them in the last several days, and Olbermann made the most of it. Watch.

Quote of the Day: On Trusting Glenn Beck

OK, so I'm surfing around on the 'net, and I land on the opinion blog of The Dallas Morning News. The topic was Glenn Beck's most recent paranoid fantasy about the Rockefellers and art. It's weird, and you can watch the video below, if you so choose. Anyway, the blog post was short, but interesting. But it was the comments section I found the most entertaining, with Beck defenders and--surprisingly for Texas--Beck deriders as well. One of the comments provided my first genuine belly laugh of the day. The entire quote is below, with the best bits in bold.


Glenn Beck, conspiracy nut

How on earth did this crackpot get a national TV show? Watch this amazing eight-minute monologue in which Glenn Beck interprets public art, and ties together the Rockefellers, communism, fascism, corporatism, the United Nations and the Obama White House together in a grand conspiracy. If this were in a movie, you wouldn't believe it. But this is on national TV, on Fox News, every weeknight. . .

And now, the comment that got me going. . .

Posted by Bill Marvel @ 6:55 PM Fri, Sep 18, 2009

An astonishing performance.

History for those who won't bother to read, art appreciation for those who won't bother to look.

I don't know anything about Beck's ACORN reportage, because I don't watch him. And this performance doesn't give me any reason to start.
But if his history of "Rockefeller" -- he doesn't say whether he means the old man or Junior, or even that he knows the difference -- the Progressive movement, Fascism, Leninism, and recent art and architecture are any indication, I wouldn't trust him to honestly report on the contents of his shirt pocket.

This sounds like an essay test written at the last minute by a dim but superficially glib student who's been sleeping all semester.

Source: Dallas Morning News

SNL: The Truth Behind Joe Wilson's Outburst

I'm a little late on this, but it's damned funny.

Tea Baggers Untie!

What is it about the most jacked-up, frothing partisans among us that unleashes such a flurry of bad spelling and punctuation? I don't know, but it's hilarious.

Top 10 Conservative Idiots, September 21, 2009

Mondays are always a little better when there's a new Top 10 Conservative Idiots* column online. Well, at least it puts a spring in my step. Enjoy.


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 373

September 21, 2009

The Amazing Racism Edition

This week we conclusively prove that racism is a thing of the past in 21st Century America as Teabaggers (2,3) invade Washington DC, Roy Blunt (6) tells a funny story about a monkey, and Rush Limbaugh (7) goes pro-segregation. . .

Read the list at: Democratic Underground

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Greenlee Gazette does not contend that all conservatives are idiots. Merely that many prominent conservatives are idiots, as this column regularly confirms. So, please, no offense is intended to those of my friends and family who are themselves conservative. In other words, present company excluded!

Steven Weber: Beck Off!

He's done it again. Steven Weber, actor and part-time blogger, often writes posts that feel like they're gleaned from my skull, and put down in a far more artful way than I'm capable. I really should copy and paste that bit every time I excerpt one of his pieces, because it's always true. This time he takes on Glenn Beck, and nails that weaselly little sucker.


Beck Off!

I'll puncture my own theorem by stating the following:

Unless we make a real effort to detach ourselves from the throbbing data-teat, the one that oozes garish, incendiary, pseudofacts from every beeping, blipping electronic device in our homes, cars and pockets 24 hours a day, grade-A schmucks like Glenn Beck will thrive.

Which I cannot seem to do myself, hence my punctured theorem.

Read more at: Huffington Post

Sunday, September 20, 2009

CNN's Howard Kurtz Calls FOX "News" on Lie

Rick Sanchez did it last week, and now Howard Kurtz has joined the fray. I'll not be surprised to see Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow join the fight tomorrow. It is long past time for the true nature of FOX "News" to be called out for what it is.

Blu-ray Review: Sex and the City

Image from source, Wikipedia

I am not one for "chick flicks." Sure, the odd Steel Magnolias or Ghost might sneak into my video watching from time to time, but for the most part, I'm avoidy. I know that as a gay guy I'm supposed to be an unspoken segment of the target audience (you know how they say Lifetime is television for women and gay men?), but they're just not my thing. But I didn't see the Sex and the City movie as a chick flick per se.

I may be splitting hairs here. And to be honest, I wasn't even a fan of the HBO television show, really. I caught an episode here and there, and liked it. The Other Half caught more of them, and even got a season or two on DVD from the library. Because of this, I'd drift in and out of the room, and invariably be sucked in. Over time, I became interested enough in the characters to care what happened next. Not so much that I was in line at the theater, no. I bought The Other Half the Blu-ray disc for Christmas. There it sat until today, still in its shrink wrap and cardboard sleeve. After I watched Tropic Thunder earlier this afternoon, I went to the video library and mulled the choices. I picked Sex and the City mostly because THO keeps watching it on high-def cable.

It was OK. I mean, I still like the characters, particularly Samantha (Kim Cattrall). The banter is great, the writing is fine. But it really plays like an extended episode of the old show. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but meh. The Blu-ray-iness didn't even wow me, since we've gotten HDTV for a very long time, and in a show like this it just doesn't matter. The "will they or won't they" between Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Christopher Noth) was never my favorite part of the program, so hinging the picture on that might be the reason for my blah reaction. This would have all played better as a six-or-eight episode "extra season" on HBO.

But whatever, you know? As I said, I'm not the target audience, and there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half 151 minutes. If you loved the show, you'll probably at least like the movie. But be prepared for at least two bathroom breaks. This movie is friggin' long.

Recommended for fans, women and (most) gay men.

DVD Review: Tropic Thunder

Image from source, Wikipedia

WARNING: Here there may be spoilers. . .

I started watching this movie this past spring at my parents' house. They pronounced it "stupid," and we popped it out, and put in Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Fraser. And, boy howdy, that movie was stupid. After sitting in my travel bag for many months, the DVD was rescued, and finally watched this afternoon.

Tropic Thunder starts out very promisingly, with three hilarious "coming attractions" trailers, all of which you can nearly believe that Hollywood would produce. The funniest of w hich was Satan's Alley, with Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire as monks with a forbidden love. . .to an Enigma soundtrack! From there, the movie proper starts, with an over-the-top, gory Viet Nam story, which we soon come to realize is actually a movie shoot.
Over budget, and sick of the drama-queen actors, the director plunks them all down into the real Vietnamese jungle. Unbeknownst to him, there is a real paramilitary Vietnamese drug-running group out there with them. The premise doesn't logically lend itself to comedy, but there is plenty to be found, some very dark. Much of the film is a parody of Hollywood itself, and the ridiculous demands actors make. Industry politics and the quest for Acadamy Awards feature prominently, along with method acting. If you're a fan of the "sausage making" in Hollywood, there is much to like here.
I was surprised that Downey got an Acadamy Award for his role as a method Australian actor who undergoes pigment augmentation to play a black Viet Nam vet. He claims to never break character until it is time for the DVD commentaries. Having watched the film, the unlikely use of "black face" to win an Oscar may just pay off. Downey is good, and a highlight of the film. Tom Cruise is cast against type as a Hollywood producer. . .bald and bespectacled. . .and a total douche.
I can see why my parents thought it was stupid. They just weren't the audience for a picture making fun of the motion picture-making business. I am such an audience, and I loved it. It is all of course utterly preposterous, not believeable in the slightest. But it doesn't matter. It's a hoot and a half. I also loved the cute cameo at "The Oscars." I just don't recommend it for your parents, if they're over 60.
Recommended for everyone else

Mike Huckabee Wins Conservative Fringe Group's Straw Poll

It used to be that the Powers That Be in the GOP placated and pandered to their base and their fringe groups, merely to get their votes. They threw them red meat, they used coded language, they got the votes, then they did whatever they wanted to do. If you'll notice, abortion is still legal, but that issue is still trotted out, even when it is only tangentially related to whatever issue is being discussed (Sidebar: The Democrats do this with gay rights issues, promising much but usually delivering little).

A political inversion has taken place in recent history, where the fringe sets the agenda, and the politicians are at least on the surface, backing them up. Attempts to distance themselves from them have been tepid, and rarely do they attempt to completely shut the nuts down. And so, many of the most prominent GOP figures are now regularly appearing at the most extreme events, such as The Values Voters Summit. "Values" is a shortening of "traditional family values," a twenty-odd years old code phrase for "we don't like gay people." Actually "family" is as much a code for that as values is. Pick a political/religious group with family in the title, and you can bet that the primary purpose (at least originally) was to fight the advancement of gay rights. Almost always with a Christian fundamentalist slant.

It is discouraging to see that politics is being blended with religion so nakedly. For all of their claims of allegiance to Constitutional intent, they are determined to erase the wall of separation between church and state. Not surprisingly, one of the most overtly religious of the current GOP hopefuls list won the group's Presidential straw poll. For Democrats, this is likely a good thing. I believe Mike Huckabee could actually win a Republican primary. But I have strong doubts that he could win a general election.


Huckabee Wins GOP Presidential Poll

A day after former Baptist minister and likely presidential rival Mike Huckabee offered a withering critique of Mitt Romney's record, the former Massachusetts governor made his pitch to the same group of religious conservatives. . .

Read more at: AOL News

Sunday Morning Blogging, Pt. 2: FOX "News" Sunday, 9/20/09

Ah, the weak link in the Sunday shows, FOX "News" Sunday. . .what can be said? It is no less biased and no more "fair and balanced" than anything else produced by the ironically named cable channel. President Obama isn't appearing there, and has seemingly blacklisted the channel, as well he should. It is not a legitimate news channel. I challenge anyone with an open mind to watch one of their alleged "hard news" programs--not the supposed commentary ones--and tell me there is no hard-right bias there.

Case in point, this week's installment of vaguely creepy Chris Wallace's show. First up: ACORN! The bogeyman organization endlessly hyped by FOX as practically a satanic organization is a favorite subject there. Bertha Lewis, the leader of the organization did an admirable job keeping the discussion in the realm of reality, though she tried to avoid answering a couple of questions quite the way they were asked. Wallace did not give her the deference he reserves for Republican guests, and berated her for not answering the way he wanted. To my way of thinking, if ACORN has some shady characters in the organization, by all means they should be eliminated and penalized. But how this becomes FOX's leading issue of the week is baffling.

Next up, three CEOs of corporations? Mm'kay. Whatevs. Wallace asked a lot of leading "help me smear Obama"-type questions, but no fireworks really flew. Moving on. . .

Now it's time for the pompously named "Power Panel," the no matter what is going on, half-the-show segment to turn the program into 100% commentary, FOX's wheelhouse. First, Wallace whined that Obama wouldn't come on his program. Next, a discussion on "is Obama overexposed?" What? He's the freakin' President. Not much else of note was discussed, and of course no criticism of any Republican or conservative was profferred. They are all, conservatives and "liberals" on the the panel, of the opinion that there should be no investigations into torture and other war crimes from the Bush Era. Brit Hume said it's a terrible idea. Why?

OK, I've had enough of this crap. I might--I say might--slog through This Week with George Stephanopolous. I haven't made up my mind yet.

Sunday Morning Blogging, Pt. 1: Meet the Press, 9/20/09

OK, I haven't sat down to watch the Sunday morning political chat shows in a little while. There's a reason for that: they were starting to piss me off. Bouncing around from the political faux outrage of the previous Monday to the forced apology of late Saturday, the shows have largely become Politics Soup, only with actual elected officials. Then, most of the shows get together a bizarre collection of--usually, also bizarre looking--talking heads to cackle like chickens for the rest of the show.

What? You mean they've always been like that? Oh. Well, maybe it's just ceasing to interest me. Anyway, my first dose of this soup today is Meet the Press with David Gregory, a decidedly less relevant show since host Tim Russert died. President Obama was the first guest, and I was fairly impressed, though he only talked for 15 minutes. He's a little too slick, but he's also well spoken, and did not raise my embarrassment shield the way George W. Bush did every damned time he was on the tee-vee.

Gregory decided to rebut the President with two of the most powerful current Republicans, and that is a sad state of affairs for the GOP. Twitchy, orange John Boner Boehner and whiny, frowny, fey Lindsey Graham are two of the three best the GOP has to offer (the third being constipated turtle, Mitch McConnell who did not appear). These easily lampooned figures did their best to talk down Obama while trying to put an eensy bit of distance between themselves and the lunatic fringe overtaking their party like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The charisma-free twosome regurgitated the conservative lines of the week, including a "reset button" for health care reform, which isn't even under consideration. Probably no one was swayed by Obama, and definitely no one was swayed by Boehner and Graham.

The two-man "round table" included Eugene Robinson, a pundit I have a lot of respect for, and Roger Simon, a pundit I've never heard of. Robinson displays more intelligence, insight and humor than the host himself, and Simon left no impression on me at all. Discussions of "race" brought up because of Jimmy Carter's notion of racism inspiring Obama's opposition, didn't go beyond the controversy. That is where Gregory falls down, and Russert would have done better. There is a strong case to be made for racism behind the birthers, deathers, tenthers, tea baggers et. al. And Jimmy Carter saying so isn't itself the controversy. Calling out racist behavior has become the issue, rather than the behavior itself.

There is still something rather civilized about MTP that works on one hand, and doesn't on the other. For the most part, the program doesn't lend itself to boisterous arguments and cross-talk. That is welcome on a Sunday morning. But it also lends itself to a he said/he said dynamic, in which no minds are changed. OK, that's it for MTP. . . on to the next one.

CNN Ad: FOX "News" Distorting Not Reporting

'Bout time they called 'em on it. . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Andy Richter Mops the Floor with Wolf Blitzer on Jeopardy!

I know the blog is very video-heavy today, but this one is too sweet to ignore. Some of the best bits of Saturday Night Live over the last ten years or so has been a parody of Celebrity Jeopardy! with Will Farrell as Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as a clueless (but hilarious!) Sean Connery. The joke of the bit is that celebrities are kinda stupid.

Well, CNN's Wolf Blitzer proved he's ready for an SNL skit, by getting his clock cleaned by. . .Andy Richter?

CNN's Rick Sanchez Calls out FOX "News" For Lying. . .AGAIN

OK, so it is not difficult to prove that FOX "News" lies. They offer up so much ammunition. It's also not difficult to offer forth examples with transcripts and video. Media Matters for America does it every day. But who are you gonna believe, FOX "News" or your lyin' eyes?

Rick Sanchez is a host that I'm not overly familiar with, outside of a few stellar online video clips. And here is another one of them doing something rare for cable news: calling a blatant lie a lie. The weirdest part is, for "FOX Fans," this will prove nothing. If I get any responses to this post, I'll predict that they have zero to do with what Sanchez said. They'll pick apart CNN and Sanchez, support FOX "News" and ignore the lie. It's what they always do.

Rachel Maddow Asks: Is Any Republican Tamping Down Political Rage?

If you don't think that the political climate has descended into a scary, potentially dangerous place, I've got news for you: you are probably one of the angry mob. The scatter-shot, all over the place, rabid rage of the right has all the elements of an out of control pitchfork-wielding mob. They hate the President, they believe we're becoming a socialist, communist, Marxist, totalitarian, Nazi (all of these words have become interchangeable) country. They say they "want their country back," and yet they're fuzzy on exactly how it is being taken away. And they're convinced that President Obama is going to try to take their guns away, even though gun control has been cooling off the back burner for years.

That didn't stop radio back-bencher (and Sean Hannity string-puller) Mark Levin from saying yesterday that Obama was doing just that. Freakin' liar. Anyway, because of all this, the rhetoric has gotten heated to over boiling, and those scared angry people--who DO cling to their guns and religion, sorry--are calling the President the Antichrist, buying guns and bullets in record numbers, and actually showing up outside Presidential speaking events with guns.

It doesn't take a Sesame Street "if I do this, then this might happen" object lesson to see where this might be headed. But the Republican leadership has mostly jumped on the loony fringe bandwagon. The lunatics are really running the asylum. This clip from The Rachel Maddow Show addresses this problem head on. I highly recommend it.

You Don't Have to be a Czar, Baby. . .

I don't really have any position on "czars." I find it to be a puzzling moniker for a sub-cabinet department head, what with it's imperialist Russian connotation, but whatever. I remember (latter day saint) Ronald Reagan having a czar or two, Bill Clinton too. And not surprisingly, George W. Bush enlarged the number of czars beyond his predecessor.

By now, a precedent has been set. Presidents are in the habit of continuing previous Presidents' conventions, and it is not unusual for them to expand them. So, the practice of naming czars for this and that has continued into the Obama Administration. As is now usual though, right-wing world has found themselves in an uproar over President Obama's "unprecedented"--and un-Constitutional, they argue--use of czars. It really doesn't matter that Dubya did it too, IOKIYAR. Especially if you are Glenn Beck.

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