Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DNC Ad Aims to Close "Enthusiasm Gap"

It's true. Democrats are not as enthusiastic about the upcoming election as the Republicans are. Outside of conventional wisdom, and historical precedent, this of course makes sense. Republicans got squashed in the last two elections, and they're champing at the bit to regain power.  So, this election is going to come down to a battle of enthusiasm, and the Democrats seem to have used all of theirs up in the last go around.  You mean we gotta do this again already? 

The wild card in this particular election is the sheer mount of crazy on the Republican side, with the Tea Baggers, and the fact that "the fringe" has taken over.  Add to that the fact that should Republicans take over, they'll not only revert to the policies that put America in the ditch, they'll try to undo any of the positive things that have happened since 2008.  Even worse, they've promised to keep the Obama Administration tied up in knots with ridiculous investigations, subpoenas, and have even threatened impeachment inquiries.  Great.  So much for Obama ignoring all of the things that the Bush Administration did.

So--possibly too late--the DNC is trying to drum up some enthusiasm by showing them exactly who would be in charge, should Republicans be victorious in November.  It's a good strategy, but it needs to be much bigger, much louder, and more pervasive.  They need to take a few news cycles away from each week's FOX "News" inspired faux outrage.  So, get enthusiastic, Democrats!  You don't have to slavishly follow our guys, you've just got to go to the polls and make sure the nutters don't get the keys to the car.  Trust me, the Republicans won't care how they win. They don't care if they only get into office because we were too apathetic to vote, and they win by default.  A protest "sit out" helps nobody but Republicans.

Quote of the Day: Steven Weber on Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally

". . .That the Glenn Beck rally, as seen from space, looked like a beige version of the gulf oil spill is just a commie plot."

via Huffington Post

Conservatives Believe President Obama is All Kinds of Muslim

Image from RandiRhodes'
Daily Newsletter
Sigh. Recently, I wrote a piece about the paranoia of conservative anti-gay people who believe that gays set out--as an ultimate goal--the complete destruction of marriage and the family.  They don't just wanna get married, the gays want to destroy society.  It's so ridiculous, and yet it is pervasive in certain circles. Something very similar is going on with the anti-Islamic faction of the Republican Party (as though those are different people). They think that President Obama may not only be a Muslim, but that he wants world-wide Islamic Law.  Paranoia barely covers it.


Poll: Majority Of GOP Believes Obama Sympathizes With Islamic Fundamentalism, Wants Worldwide Islamic Law

A majority of Republicans believe that President Barack Obama "sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world," according to a survey released on Monday. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Hat tip to Randi Rhodes for the link.

The Iraq War is Over, Next Phase Begins

While President Barack Obama's speech on the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was somewhat anticlimactic, it is historic, so I bring it to you now.

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Is the Tea Party Toxic to the GOP?

Image from source, Washington Post
While history is not yet written on the 2010 elections, conventional wisdom and history tell us that it is likely that the GOP will stage a comeback after their 2006 and 2008 defeats.  How strong that comeback will be, and whether or not they can retake control of the House and Senate is still up in the air.  It's depressing, it's infuriating and it's predictable that they'll have more power on November third than they have now.

The news beyond 2010 may be predictable as well.  If the Tea Party gets a large share of the credit for whatever success the GOP achieves, do you really think they're going to disband, "mission accomplished?"  No, they're going to be emboldened.  The roster of nutty candidates that become nutty politicians will have joined the already chock full of nuts Republicans, and the tea baggers will work to get even more of them in there.  And while they're doing this, those Republicans are actually going to have to govern.  Meanwhile, the GOP is demonizing Muslims, gays, immigrants, blacks. . .and on, and on.  Sooner or later, they're going to scare everybody away.  The bad news is, we might have to live through two years of absolutely abysmal times before the Tea Party sinks the GOP.


Why the Tea Party is toxic for the GOP

So the "summer of recovery" swelters on, with Democrats sun-blistered, pestered by bottle flies, sand in their swimsuits, water in their ears. Jobless claims increase, Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot, and George W. Bush is six points more popular than President Obama in "front-line" Democratic districts that are most vulnerable to a Republican takeover. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Keith Olbermann Talking Through Glenn Beck?

Glenn Beck's bizarre religious revival this past weekend was attended by either tens of thousands or several billion, depending upon what source you read.  And that's fine, because it really wouldn't make sense for any part of that event to. . .make sense.  That miracle that Beck kept insisting would happen turned out to be a bunch of geese flying overhead in a V formation. Seriously.  But it turns out, the voice speaking to Beck may not have been God. . .

Ghost Train Seeker Killed by REAL Train

Image from source, Mail Online
A potential candidate for the Darwin Awards. . .


Ghost train hunter is killed when a REAL train comes down the tracks

A man who was waiting with several friends for a legendary North Carolina 'ghost train' was killed when a real train came down the tracks.

Christopher Kaiser, 29, of Charlotte was waiting with around a dozen friends on a railway bridge when the three engines and one wagon rounded the bend. . .

Read more at: Mail Online

The Emmys Glee-ful Opening Number

I just loved this. . .

Emmy Awards Recap

Image from Stargate-SG1-Solutions.com
I'm not going to post any winners here, since people may have recorded it to watch later, and I suppose some markets could be time-shifting it. For me, in Las Vegas, I was surprised to see The Emmy Awards broadcast live.  They may have done it before, but usually it is tape-delayed in the Pacific Time Zone, which is terrible for someone who doesn't want to be spoiled. 

Anyway, for the first time in a while, almost the entire program was really, really entertaining. I've underestimated Jimmy Fallon (and who could blame me after Taxi?).  The opening Glee! tribute was amazing and funny.  I'll post the clip when it is available. The speeches (except for Al Pacino's) were funny, entertaining, or at least endurable.  This year they tightened the show by moving some awards to last week's untelevised "Schmemmys," and hurray for that.  It looked like the people present were having a great time, and Fallon really delivered.

Here's a comedy clip they did using ABC's Modern Family cast, allegedly getting tips from the powers that be, on how to "improve" the show.  That sort of network meddling happens a lot, especially with freshman shows--it killed Mork & Mindy, and countless others--so I'm sure the cast enjoyed digging at the network execs. Plus, there's a great star cameo (which I can go ahead and spoil as George Clooney, since the preview gives the joke away).  Kudos to NBC for putting on a great show, and allowing Fallon (and others) to rip on them for the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno fiasco.

Blast from the Past: Lost Songs of the 80s!

What do I mean by "lost song?" Well, it could be a one-hit-wonder's only claim to fame.  It could be a group that had one big hit, and a couple that got lost in the shuffle.  Or it could be one of the lesser hits of a bigger group.  But for some reason, all of these songs got lost somehow. They rarely show up on "Best of" collections. You almost never hear them on "Mix" or "Jack"-type radio stations. Everyone seems to have forgotten about them. But not me.

1. "No Myth" by Michael Penn - This is one of my favorites, sung by Sean Penn's brother, and Madonna's former brother-in-law. Too bad she couldn't have helped him have a bigger career.
2. "Baby Love" by Regina - Speaking of Madonna, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is one of her early hits.
3. "The Sun Always Shines on TV" by a-ha - You thought a-ha was a one-hit wonder, didn't you? Nope, "Take on Me" wasn't their only hit.
4. "Come as You Are" by Peter Wolf - Best known for being the lead singer of the J. Geils Band, Wolf had a couple of solo hits too.
5. "Living in a Dream" by Pseudo Echo - They're best known for their cover of "Funkytown," but this one got play before that one did.
6. "Pop Goes the World" by Men Without Hats - Sure, you can sing "Safety Dance" in your sleep, but can you remember this one? It even has a little riff from their big hit buried at the end.
7. "Hyperactive" by Thomas Dolby - Everyone knows "She Blinded Me with Science. But this one rarely gets played.
8. "Two Tribes" - Their biggest hit "Relax" is omnipresent in 80s compilation albums and radio stations, and is still a pop-culture touchstone. But "Two Tribes" gets no love.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glenn Beck's Dream!

Okay, this is silly, but it makes as much sense as anything presented at the "Restoring Honor" Beckapalooza on Saturday!

Glenn Beck is Vaguely Nuts

I put up a couple of posts yesterday about Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington. It was reported variously as an evangelical religious revival (ironically led by a Mormon), an apolitical political event, or an ego trip.  But one of the overriding themes was the vagueness of the message. Restoring honor from what? Restoring honor to what? The only thing everyone can agree on is that it's over now.

So, Sunday morning has rolled around, and it's time for FOX "News" Sunday.  No big surprise, Beck's home network has him in the #1 spot to talk about yesterdays big event.  I didn't have high hopes that Beck would clarify what it was all about, and they wouldn't have been met.  Beck is quite frankly bonkers.  Apparently, we as a nation need to "return to God," and we're "lost" until we do.  Mmmkay. For a dude who likes to wave around the Constitution, trying to weld religion to politics seems un-American to me. As a non-believer, I wouldn't cotton to this message anyway, but coming from Beck--an outsized cartoon character--I can't figure out why anyone would.

Keith Olbermann has dubbed him "Lonesome Rhodes Beck" from the film A Face in the Crowd, starring Andy Griffith. I've never seen the film, but the description seems apt.  Still, having watched a rerun of Saturday Night Live last night, I'd say Beck is more like "Nicholas Fehn", the babbling "comic" on Weekend Update.
He opens his mouth, and says stuff, and it sounds like he's making some sort of sense if you aren't paying close attention. . .but he isn't saying much of anything.

It's a mishmash of "things in America are bad," "we must work together to make it better," "we want the truth," "America must stand guard," "we must get right with God," and on and on. . . I can't for the life of me understand this man's hold on people.  He is saying nothing, much like his primary guest yesterday, Sarah Palin.  I'd like to call it style over substance, but the style is so unappealing, I truly cannot see the appeal.  

By the way, as always happens, there is a dispute about the size of the crowd at yesterday's event.  Immediately, Beck fans started saying "hundreds of thousands," with 300,000 become the fast favorite round number.  CBS News estimated slightly less than 100,000.  Beck today said 300,000 on the low end, perhaps as high as 650,000, which sounds like a ridiculous overestimation. But it's just like the "argumentum ad populum" logical fallacy that is consistently made about the FOX "News" ratings.  Popularity doesn't equal "correct." It doesn't equal clarity either.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One More Beckapalooza Post

Image from source, Wonkette
Because the photo and the headline are so funny. . .


GLENNBECKPALOOZA: Glenn Beck’s Slob Picnic About What You’d Expect

It was Colonial Williamsburg staff day at Glenn Beck’s GlennBeckPalooza! Show up in your work uniform and get a 60-pack of Hot Wings for just $4.99! Guess who didn’t remember his work costume? Wonkette’s new drive-time “shock jock” Riley Waggaman! . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

EDITOR'S NOTE: So, this thing was allegedly not political, right? So why are those people dressed like they're going to a tea bagger rally?

FOX "News" Reports on The Beckoning Before it Happens?*

Image from source, NewsCorpse.com
I don't want to report much on Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, really.  I can't even figure out what the event is supposed to be for. They say it isn't political, and yet Sarah Palin was there.  The call it "Restoring Honor," but what is it being restored from, and what is it being restored to?  Apparently, the whole thing was a patriotic, religious revival.  The followers are--I'm guessing--of mixed faiths, but mostly evangelicals and Catholics, right?  And their religious revival is being led by a Mormon. I'm so confused. . .

So, what I gather from this rally is that modern hard-core Conservatives don't mind being on the fringe. They don't mind being derided as stupid or crazy. They don't mind aligning themselves with leaders like Beck who embody all of those traits. And they don't mind their message being impossibly vague.  Like tea baggers, you don't get much clarity on the overall mission, just a crazy-looking assemblage of fringe partisans.  How does this rally differ from the tea partiers? What is the hoped-for outcome of the rally?  Did delusional Beck get his expected "miraculous" result? I doubt we'll ever really know. 


Fox News Posts Review Of Glenn Beck’s Rally Before It Happens

Fox News promos often tout the network as “The Most Powerful Name In News.” Now that power extends into the supernatural as FoxNews.com is caught publishing a story reviewing Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, the day before it takes place. This demonstration of journalistic clairvoyance may just be a part of the “miraculous” occurrences that Beck promised would take place at tomorrow’s historic event. . .

Read more at (the fabulous): NewsCorpse

*Before you ask, yes I'm aware that this is a parody.

Bill O'Reilly and Porn. . .

Vaguely creepy image from
source, Raw Story
Ex. . .excuse me. . .(blugh!). . .while I go wash out my mind's eye with bleach. . . I'll leave you with a topic: Bill O'Reilly's first big show was called Inside Edition. Discuss. . .


Young Bill O’Reilly’s early work foreshadowed ‘obsession with porn’

Digging through their archives after being tipped off by a blog post, a Massachusetts newspaper has unearthed decades-old writings by Fox News editorial personality Bill O'Reilly that appears to reinforce what one online magazine called a professional "fixation" on the world of adult films. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rewind: Apple's Keyboardless Mac (The Onion)

For some reason, an old post I put up from The Onion has been gathering hits today. I couldn't remember the clip, so I just watched it.  It holds up a year and a half later, and is funnier after having actually gotten an iPod and a Mac laptop.

My Applephobia has taken a slight turn. After familiarizing myself with Mac OS X, and iTunes and whatnot, I'm not as allergic to the whole iExperience anymore. But I do still find the alleged "intuitiveness" of iProducts to be vastly overstated, and the cultish behavior of Cult of Mac enthusiasts to be at turns fascinating, amusing and sad. But who knows. I could still get sucked in. . .

New Ad Attacks Harry Reid. . .for Being Gay?

Okay, not exactly. But it surely tries to paint him as in league with them dirty hom-a-seckshuls, doesn't it?  Isn't it great that in America 2010, they can still use me and all other gay people as a scare tactic?  Sub in "Muslim" or "illegal alien" or "militant black," and you get roughly the same effect.  It's dirty, it's nasty, and it--in a just society--would not work.  And maybe it won't. After all, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) has broad support. But that was before the "summer of hate 2010™".

New Sharron Angle Ad: A Pelosi-Reid-Obama Bisexual Three-Way?

That seems to be what Sharron Angle is implying in this ad, but she couldn't really, right? Well, of course not, but that is the gag they're going for here. I'm not sure who the ad is aimed at, though. Anyone loony enough to vote for Angle already thinks that President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are degenerate demons, so no need to convince them.  Most of us outside of the right-wing machine's bubble may like or dislike any of them, but this ad's power to sway us is pretty slight.  It's pretty silly, and likely a waste of campaign dollars. Judge for yourself.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cenk Uygur: GOP is the Party of Hate


When Partisanship and Homophobia Lead to Paranoid Delusions

Image from Progressive Nation
I know the blog has been more top heavy of late with the gay, and that's of course because the subject has been in the news a lot this summer.  Also in heavy rotation has been the odious conservative web site FreeRepublic.com.  That is because whenever a divisive issue hits the news, there is no better place to find the boiled down, uncensored, unvarnished conservative counterpoint.  They're like Sophia on The Golden Girls, if she were a slightly older Ann Coulter.  They're all id and no filter.

While perusing their reaction to former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's big "coming out," I stumbled into a related area.  I'm not going to pick apart the article they were jabbering about--a conservative's argument against same-sex marriage--because while it would be easy, it would also be very time consuming. Maybe later.  Anyway, what inspired this post was a single comment from a FReeper. One so incredibly paranoid, so blindingly stupid, that you would think it was an aberration.  Here it is (emphasis mine):

"The real motive is the complete destruction of the institution of marriage. This then completes the leftists' attack on this institution. The lefties had to get rid of the structure of the American family because it stood in the way of people being dependent on the government. "Gay marriage" is the last nail in the coffin. If marriage can mean ANY type of coupling, then it means nothing at all. And, that is the point." --LibertarianLiz

This is--amazingly enough--a typical FReeper mindset on this subject and many others. It assigns a motive to a group they see as "other," a motive they don't have any more way of knowing than they do about the others themselves.  I'm one half of an actual married gay couple.  I have never had as a motive the "complete destruction of the institution of marriage." I've never met another gay person with that motive. In fact, I've never seen such a motive alleged anywhere outside of a forum like FreeRepublic.

It takes a special kind of paranoia to actually believe that gays are monolithic and diabolical enough to get together and frame issues, present them to the public in a deceitful way, and keep it all secret. Not to mention that this Gay Squadron is only one piece of the "Lefty Legion." The gays are one cog in the greater Lefty machine, playing their part to destroy marriage, and then the WORLD!!! I can't comprehend when and where they think this all happened.  Who led the rally? Are there membership cards?  Am I supposed to get a gift or recognition from "gay central" for playing my part?

It's a lot like conservatives who say that President Obama's end game is to "destroy America." Really? He set out to get the job with that as his goal?  And they say this with an utterly straight face. 

The worst spats I've ever had with friends or family have all stemmed from the assumption of motivation.  "He didn't call me because. . ." or "Well, she said one thing, but what she really meant was. . ."  Assigning motivations to other people without really knowing what their actual motivations are is almost never a good idea.

But in the world of FR, especially when it comes to what they call "The Homosexual Agenda" is that all gay people are lying, and only rigidly anti-gay conservatives really know what's going on.  I'm here to tell them here and now: your assumptions are wrong.  And paranoid. And delusional.  And if you're this wrong about this subject, how much should anybody trust your other opinions?  'Nuff said.

Read more of the delusional "insights" at: Free Republic

Egg Paranoia! from Pink Flamingos

I wanted to serve you up a big mess of bloggy goodness this morning, kids. But the eggs, they're not safe!  Oh, if only I could be reassured about the future of eggs.  Maybe by a 400-pound transvestite!

Actually, I was having difficulty finding something to post for Thursday, and I remembered this gem from John Waters' Pink Flamingos. While the film itself is definitely Not Safe for Work (NSFW), the clip is fine. Oh, it's disturbing--that is a woman in a playpen--but it's safe for work.  If you've never seen Pink Flamingos, this will make absolutely no sense to you.  And if you've seen it. . .well, it still doesn't make any sense!  Enjoy.

Miners Trapped, Possibly Until Christmas?

Holy cow. This story is amazing, and nearly triggers a reflexive clausterphobic panic. But these Chilean miners seem to be hanging in there. It makes the "Baby Jessica in the Well" story seem like no big deal.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bad Idea Department: Nevada Proposal to Tax Food

Sharron Angle has been trying to tie Senator Harry Reid to the state of Nevada's financial woes. But we've had Republican leadership for the past two governors. Former (and recently deceased) Governor Kenny Guinn left the state with a budget surplus, if I'm not mistaken. But current Governor Jim Freakazoid Gibbons has us in a world of hurt.  All his fault? Didn't say that, but it may be more accurate than Angle's position on Reid.  Anyway, the Republican mantra of no new taxes has always struck me as pandering for votes.  Taxes pay for shit, y'all, you know, roads, schools, fire fighting, police. . . 

But a tax that is considered "fair," one that everybody pays, is a bitter pill in today's economy.  A proposed tax on food (by a Republican, no less) would hurt the poorest Nevadans. This doesn't seem like a winner to me.


NV GOP Minority Leader Suggests Placing A Two Percent Tax On Food To Close His State’s Budget Deficit

Nevada is currently “facing a projected $3 billion deficit for the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1.” State legislators are wrangling with different ways to deal with the deficit, and efforts have been complicated by conservative leaders signing pledges to not raise taxes under any circumstances. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Muslim Cab Driver Stabbed & Cut, Probable Hate Crime

Okay, this anti-Muslim crap is getting out of hand. I'm agnostic, practically anti-religion (any religion), and even I can see this is getting nuts.  Maybe this dude is just bonkers, but it sounds like more than that. And I'm particularly squicked out that this guy looks so ordinary, so eerily like. . .well, me. The way he's dressed, the way he looks. Very me. And very weird.

Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman Comes Out as Gay

Image from Democratic Underground
There were rumors about Ken Mehlman being gay years and years ago. The reason he may not have been all-the-way outed back then may have been because the gays didn't want him.  After all, he played a key role in some of the most homophobic years ever for Republicans, culminating in state after state enacting state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.  With the assistance of Karl Rove (another one rumored about, but not wanted), Mehlman really put the screws to gay people, so to speak.

Most of the reactions from the gay blogosphere--at least what I've seen so far--has been far from positive. We still don't want him.  So, I was surprised to find that AmericaBlog (my spiritual blogfather) and its spin off AmericaBlog Gay has a more positive spin to it.  And there is merit for the idea that a person like Mehlman can be redeemed.  Maybe he could turn out like David Brock, who came from the belly of the Republican beast, and became one of the primary forces on the left.  Or gay-adjacent Arianna Huffington who pulled a similar about-face.  Nobody knows the inner workings of the diabolical right-wing spin machine than Mehlman does.  Let's hope he doesn't end up in GOProud or Log Cabin.  If we have to claim him, we need him where he can do the most good.

By the way, I in no way believe that Mehlman has just arrived at the conlusion that he's gay in the last few months.  Those rumors had to start somewhere, and they've been around for years.  People used to stay closeted to the ripe age of 43, but today? I'm not buying it.


Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman comes out as gay man

Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has told family and associates that he is gay.
Okay, my thoughts.

Good for Ken. I know a lot of people will want to criticize him for heading up the GOP as a closeted gay man. He says he only recently came to terms with being gay. I suspect he always knew he was gay, but recently came to terms with accepting it, and embracing it. And good for him. He's now doing the right thing, helping support marriage equality. I'm not going to fault him for that. Coming out is a horrendously difficult and complicated thing. It's not rational. . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog Gay

AMC's The Walking Dead

I love zombies, as a rule.  From the original, slow-moving George Romero zombies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead) to the fast-moving zombies (the remake of Dawn of the Dead) to the not-quite-zombies (28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later) to the funny zombies (Return of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead).  So, even though I don't know what channel AMC is on, I am so there for The Walking Dead!

FReepers Freep Out Over McCain Win

Hilarious animated gif from FortSanders.net
As predicted, the denizens of FreeRepublic.com are very unhappy about John McCain's win in Tuesday's Arizona Senate primary election.  It's one less tea bagger in the race, with J.D. Hayworth out. Which is small comfort for those of us in Nevada, with the Tea Party mascot, Sharron Angle. But I'll take my glee where I can get it, and the FReeper reaction to this is priceless.  A sampling:

"I’m going to go beat my head against something hard."


"You’ve got to be kidding me."

"Here comes AMNESTY."

"So they bought his lies yet again. Disgusting."

"Hang your heads in shame, Arizona!"

"Hell, he has to DIE sometime."

"F%&k Sarah"

More priceless gems like that at: FreeRepublic.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

John McCain Defeats J.D. Hayworth in Arizona Senate Primary

Image from source, MSNBC
So far, Sarah Palin hasn't been very good at picking them, but she put another feather in her endorsement cap with John McCain's win Tuesday night in Arizona.  Of course, a lot of conservatives (of the FReeper variety) were pretty upset with this particular endorsement.  Well, turnabout is fair play, and after all, we wouldn't even know who Palin was were it not for McCain. Thanks a lot John.  The FReepers won't be happy, but when are they ever?


McCain defeats conservative challenger

U.S. Sen. John McCain has defeated conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth in the Republican primary in his bid for a fifth term. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Tea Party Not Happy with Glenn Beck?

Image from source, Think Progress
Political in-fighting is high entertainment for the opposition to those doing the fighting. Right now, there are factions of the Democratic Party who are unhappy with President Obama's perceived accomplishments, and those still ardently supporting the President.   But the fights on the other side are far more interesting to me.

After all, this political season was supposed to be a tidal wave of Republicanism.  It's counter-intuitive, given that it was Republicans that got us into such a deep hole, and that Obama's big problem only seems to be that he hasn't dug us out fast enough.  So, why would going back to the policies that got us here even be an option? Because Americans don't pay attention to detail, and they've got very short memories. And, historically, the President's party loses big at the midterm election.  But man, how would you handicap this one?  The prominent Republicans are so cartoonish, and so prone to outrageousness, it's anyone's guess.

The Tea Party--supposedly a grass-roots uprising of disaffected Americans--has made quite the splash in the media.  And as far as cartoon characters go, they don't get any more cartoonish than the tea baggers. But they're constantly at war with each other, and have split into a dizzing array of Tea Party this and Tea Party that. Their message has been co-opted by Republican politicians at the same time that it has been driven by corporate interests from the shadows.  And now, their most vocal supporter/leader is in the cross hairs.  Pass the popcorn!


Tea Party Leaders Criticize Beck’s 8/28 Rally: ‘All He’s Doing Is Trying To Use Us To Promote Himself’

This Saturday in Washington, DC, Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally will take place at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Beck has claimed that the rally — meant “to recognize our First Amendment rights and honor the service members who fight to protect those freedoms” — is “going to be one for the history books” and will be “a turning point in America. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Primary Election Roundup: What's the Matter with Florida?

Photo of Rick Scott from source, CNN
Okay, so the Republican candidate for Governor of Florida is a former health industry executive. Rick Scott is that man, and his company (Columbia Hospital Corporation) had to pay out $1.7 billion for fraud.  Just wow.  And he's creepy lookin' to boot.  Anyway, not all the returns are in, so I may be back with another update. Here's what CNN's got on it so far.


Political newcomer wins Florida GOP primary for governor

Millionaire political newcomer Rick Scott on Tuesday defeated Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary for Florida governor, CNN projected.

McCollum has yet to concede. Moments before CNN's projection, he acknowleged to supporters he was behind, but said a couple of big counties had yet to fully report its results. . .

Read more at: CNN

Crazy Things A Lot of Americans Believe and Do

One in five Americans believe in Alien Abduction
(Image from Huffington Post)
So, one of the big stories of the week ties into one of the ginned-up FOX "News" controversies of the week. In the heat of the nontroversy about the (not) Ground Zero (not) mosque, there was a poll that said over 1 in 5 Americans believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim.  Forget the fact that these same people (c'mon, you know they're the same ones) bemoaned the radical Christian church that Obama went to for 20 years. And forget the fact that the President is allowed to be any religion (or none) that he wants to be. 

Like a lot of polls, this one is largely pointless. The people believe a lot of wacky stuff.  And when they watch FOX "News," they believe a lot more of it. As for me, part of being agnostic is being open to believing odd things, though only if some sort of evidence is available for it. For instance, my mom's old house sure seemed to be haunted.  We even jokingly called the "ghost" Thomas. That doesn't mean that I actually believed that a dead person named Thomas was really haunting the house. But how would I put that down on a poll?  That's the problem with polls, they limit your responses.  Still, it can be interesting to see what sorts of things people are willing to state that they believe in.


The Craziest Beliefs Shared By 'One-In-Five' Americans

Poor President Obama. Even after attending a Christian church for most of his life and sometimes even getting in trouble for it, he's constantly been haunted by rumors that he is, in fact, a Muslim. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Daily Show: Awseome FOX "News" Smackdown

The Islamophobia being pushed by FOX "News" is particularly hypocritical when you find out that one of their biggest investors is the same dude as one they're trying to get their fans to fear.  But not by name. . .

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Rachel Maddow: "Anti-Incumbant" Story is Bull Pucky

There are a bunch of memes that float around on cable news, like "voters are angry!"  And those angry voters, so the story line goes, are voting out incumbants in droves.  Funny thing is, it isn't happening. At least not in the primaries.  It doesn't matter how many incumants win their in-party votes (and right now it stands at over 300 to seven), the story won't die. Rachel Maddow put together this "pre-buttal" to tomorrow's primary votes, in the expectation that they'll trot that old line out again.

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ron Paul Repudiates Republican Response to "Ground Zero Mosque"

Image from Think Progress
Yeah, I know, not at Ground Zero, not a mosque. Not the point. What is interesting here is that--crazy as he can be--Ron Paul got this one right. Or, correct, rather.


Ron Paul breaks with GOP on New York mosque: The opposition ‘is all about hate and Islamaphobia.’

In strongly-worded statement released today, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a tea party favorite and perennial GOP presidential candidate, strongly condemned his “fellow conservatives” for opposing the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center near Ground Zero. The outcry over the mosque “implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks,” Paul said, explaining that the rights of minorities must be protected, even when it’s unpopular. Ultimately, Paul argues that the opposition to the mosque “is all about hate and Islamaphobia,” stoked by “neo-conservatives” who “never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars”. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

New Harry Reid Ad: Sharron Angle Too Extreme

For all the material that Harry Reid has to work with, he's being kind of gentle with Sharron Angle. He's been using the "extreme" angle (!) on her for a while. I think he needs to step it up, with the full-on-crazy we Nevadans have grown to know over the summer.  Shots of her running away from the press might be a good coda on the ad too.

FOX "News" Financial Backer Also Backs "Ground Zero Mosque"

Image from Raw Story
What are the chances that the FOX "News" viewers are going to find out this little nugget of information?  If Sean Hannity were capable of thought, his pretty little head might explode at this news.


Fox News co-owner funded ‘Ground Zero mosque’ imam: report

The second largest shareholder in News Corp. -- the parent company of Fox News -- has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to causes linked to the imam planning to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, says a report from Yahoo!News. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Blast from the Past: Schoolhouse Rock!

This batch of videos will delight the 70s child in you, unless you're inner child is younger than that. If you're too young to remember these clips, do yourself a favor and watch them anyway, if only for the pop-culture knowledge. And hey, you might learn something. Enjoy.

1. Preamble to the US Constitution - Sing it with me, "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union!"
2. I'm Just a Bill - This should be required for anybody who thinks they know about politics, but only gets the talking points. Oh, yeah!
3. Interjections! - One of my favorites.
4. Conjunction Junction - What's your function?
5. Figure Eight - Sung by the late Blossom Dearie.
6. No More Kings! - Despite what they may think, presidents are NOT kings!
7. Elbow Room - A cleaned up lesson on Manifest Destiny.
8. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly - Get your adverbs here!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bill Would Allow Mispronunciation of "Nevada"

Image from GreenwichMeanTime
For the record, the correct way to say the name of a place, is to say it the way the natives do.  I don't mean with the local accent necessarily.  But if you're in Bellefontaine, Ohio, you don't call it "Bell-fon-tain" or "Bella-fon-tin," you say, "Bell-fountain."  People from the state of Nevada pronounce it "Nehv-add-uh," not "Nuhv-odd-uh."  And don't give me the Spanish origin as a reason to keep saying it wrong.  If that rule held, we'd all say "Lows-AN-guh-leez" for Los Angeles, "Tay-hass" for Texas or. . .well. . .however the French say "Bellefontaine."  Of course, if I stick to my own rules, Fort Worth should be pronounced, "Foat Wuth," and Columbus would be "Klum-biss."


Bill would give OK to 'Ne-VAH-da' pronunciation

You know the old adage: You say to-MATE-o, I say to-MAHT-o. You say Ne-VAH-da, I punch you in the face. . .

Read more at: 8 News Now

Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link

Mac Update: My Progress Report, Week 2

Two weeks ago, as I detailed in this space, I got my first Mac.  As a 20-year "PC-guru" who would rather fight than switch, I replaced my wheezing Celeron laptop with a 2005 PowerBook G4 15".  The goal was not to "make the switch," but to become familiar--fluent, hopefully--in a second computer "language." It is long past time I got over my Mac-phobia, and see what all the fuss is about.  I opted for the used computer, as a way of hedging my bets. Why invest a small fortune in something you might end up hating?

For a much smaller investment (thanks to Ron and Tracy!), I got what was once a near top-of-the-line, originally $2,200 computer, with the next-to-most recent release of Mac OS X Leopard.  It ain't "Snow Leopard," but it'll do. It also came preloaded with all of the graphics and office software I could need to get up to speed on how the other half computes.  My goal was to set aside a few hours every weekend to work on a specific project, no matter how frivolous, just to familiarize myself.  After all, just sitting in front of a PC, farting around, was how I self-taught myself MS-DOS 4 or so, all the way up through Windows 7.

Original Image, Cut-out, Background
and Finished Image
(Green Lantern is ® DC Comics)
So, how's it going? Well, the social calendar intruded a bit, as did some basic laziness. But I've actually worked with the Mac more than I'd intended, but mostly for my usual blogging and surfing around.  I have learned a few tricks, and even applied some knowledge back to the PC platform.  For instance, in Apple Safari (both PC and Mac), you can drag an image straight from the browser into PhotoShop or Photo-Paint.  I got lucky on my first try on the Mac, dragging a drawing of Green Lantern from an image, and plopping him onto the page, already cut out of the background. I was floored!  This allowed me to pop him onto any background I wanted, with no tedium of drawing masks. 

I hurriedly ran back to the PC to try it there.  It works in Safari and Firefox, but not in Google Chrome or Microsoft Internet Explorer.  But cool, I learned something new.  The result at right is no masterpiece, but considering I accomplished in in about half an hour? Not bad!  And, I have some nifty, home-made Green Lantern wallpaper for my Mac.

Learning the simplest things about how the Mac works is akin to me teaching others how a PC works. It's ground floor time, baby. But I figured--and I was right--that if I just puttered around, I'd figure it out.  Well, most of it.  There are still some vexing problems. So, I went to the library, and looked at the computer references guide.  The second or third book I saw, was Switching to the Mac, Leopard Edition by David Pogue. Perfect!  It seems to be thorough, and written in a way to ease confusion. But it shares a trait that every computer reference book (and web site) has. That is, it will tell you in a step-by-step way how to do something, and when you go to do it, the buttons, menus and links do not match.

Oh, not every time. Lots of stuff is correct. But it turns out this book was written for users of Windows Vista and Windows XP. I have Windows 7.  But aren't I a PC-guru? Yes, yes I am, but networking has always vexed me.  And nothing I do from the book or from websites I've visited has helped me to network the Mac to my desktop PC. Nothing matches, and nothing they say will happen happens. Arrggghh.

Overall, I have to stand by my previous assessment that the Mac isn't exactly "better," it is just "different." OS X is a little more elegant, and Windows 7 a bit more staid and business-like. For a Windows user like me, I prefer to have whatever program I'm using be full-screen. I cycle through my open programs in a flash with ALT+Tab, or WIN-Tab. I use keyboard shortcuts as second-nature. So I'm relearning, and adjusting to the differences. I'm still not used to all the open pallets and floating toolboxes all over the place on my Mac. And one program that is barely functional on the Mac? AOL.

Yes, I still use AOL, and have since 1994 or so. I use it in tandem with IE or Firefox, and I like the way I can arrange things on my screen. That is out the window (!) on the Mac, as the AOL browser there is more sluggish than anything on my Celeron, and the program looks and works different anyway. So when blogging on the Mac, my work habits are quite different, and my email has to be accessed via Safari.

But I'll get used to it. And I'll keep playing with it until it's second nature. One of the things that'll make that easier is that the Mac "wakes up" when you open the lid almost instantaneously, at least in comparison to my Celeron.  The "sleepy toddler" behavior of my Celeron upon wake up was my initial inspiration for replacing it in the first place.  So if nothing else, I've solved that problem.

DVD Review: My Bloody Valentine

Image from Wikipedia
"Happy f**king Valentine's Day!" That line, spoken by veteran horror/schlock star, Tom Atkins, sets the tone for the quality of dialogue in the remake of My Bloody Valentine.  After a montage of animated newspaper images and voice overs of a mine disaster flash by (the film was originally in 3D, made painfully clear by the staging of many shots), the film starts out with the bad guy escaping, and then to a bunch of kids partying in a mine shaft.

You read that right. In order to have the killings take place in a mine, they've got a literal underground party going on here.  The ridiculousness of that aside, I've got to say, they didn't stretch out the film before getting to the gore. At less than ten minutes in, the body count is at least to a dozen.

Image from FanSiter
The key to enjoying a film like this, is to go in with low to zero expectations. And by "film like this," I mean the string of remakes of classic horror films of the 70s and 80s. By the time they got to My Bloody Valentine, they'd reached sub-classic status. It was in the C- to D-list range in the slasher pantheon. I'm expecting Terror Train to be made next.

Anyway, the first round of bloodiness centers around a demented, seemingly indestructible (like Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers) coal miner. He doesn't seem to have motivation, but since when do movie serial killers have any real motivation? Not here. Nothing beyond typical horror movie psychosis.  Every single cliched slasher trope is here: whimpering girls unable to keep quiet near the killer, characters doing what no human would do in those circumstances, the ability for the killer to be everywhere at once, false scares, running through the woods. . . Bouncing boobies, even full-frontal female and full-backal male nudity. The stuff intended for 3D is a throwback to Friday the 13th Part III, right down to the eyeball gag.  And like any Part I in a rebooted series, it is of course left open for a sequel.

But you know what? It kinda works.  For what it is--and it is an 80's-style slasher movie--it's pretty good. It's certainly better than any of the late Friday or even Halloween sequels.  There is some genuine suspense, a shock here and there, buckets of blood, a body-count to rival any in the genre, and it manages to keep you guessing, when these things are usually fairly obvious.  Add to that capable acting by (most) of the actors, particularly Kerr Smith (Dawson's Creek), Jaime King and--hubba, hubba--Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), and you're in for a fun time. Provided that you don't expect any more from it than what it is.

Recommended (for what it is)

Movie Review: Carriers

Image from Wikipedia
I've continued on my obscure movie quest, watching one or two a week on the Cox On Demand. This week, I picked Carriers, because it starred Chris Pine (Capt. Kirk of the new Star Trek), and the whole end-of-the-world genre has always been a favorite. It also co-stars Emily VanCamp, one of the stars of Brothers & Sisters, and Lou Taylor Pucci (from no other project I've ever heard of).

The film starts after a world-wide epidemic has already claimed most of its victims, and centers upon four survivors, Pine and Pucci (as brothers), Piper Perabo as Pine's girlfriend, and VanCamp as fellow traveller whose origins aren't explained.  The setup is not original, having been used for countless genre stories, most notably Stephen King's The Stand. Since we've been spared the actual horror of the plague--save for a few flashbacks--this is basically a road picture, with a vague destination in mind.

The brothers have memories of their favorite childhood vacation spot on the beach, and decide that's where they should go. Along the way, they reluctantly pick up a man (Chris Meloni of Law & Order: SVU) and his daughter, which waylays them a bit. There are of course also stops for gas, presumably food and water, and run-ins with other survivors.  The picture is basically a suspense/thriller, with hints of horror and just a touch of gore.
Image from BSCReview

I enjoyed it. Van Camp and Pucci are both quite good, with a jaded innocence about them, and obvious emotional pain mixed with practical ruthlessness.  Pine is quite frankly good in everything I've seen him in.  So the acting brings the quality of the movie up a couple of notches.  Story wise, there are a couple of areas where the movie started to feel like The Happening (and if you click that link, you'll find my review of the worst mainstream movie of all time), but never falls all the way into the ridiculousness of that film.

Ultimately, the ending is bound to blow.  A happy ending is almost out of the question, because it would feel forced and phony.  As in George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (and its sequels and prequel) or 28 Days Later (and sequel), you're pretty much guaranteed to have an ambiguous, open ending.  As with any road picture, the story is really about getting there, and once you're there, where do you go?  Because of this, I can't give the movie my full endorsement.  It's well done, and if you are a fan of any of the actors or sibling writing/directing teams (in this case Àlex Pastor and David Pastor), by all means, check it out.  As a lazy Sunday time waster, it isn't bad either. But in the scheme of things, I can only say it's only slightly. . .


Ryan Reynolds: The Price of a Gallon of Gas

I agree with what Ryan Reynolds is saying here, and. . .I. . .oh, who am I kidding. Even if I didn't, I'd watch him just stand there.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kathy Griffin and Kristin Chenoweth Not Taking Emmy Losses Well. . .

And Kathy lost to Ryan Seacrest! Oh, well. It will be a great bit in her next standup special!

Via Twitter.

Spam, Spam, and Spam. . .I Don't Like Spam!

I like to leave the comments section of my blog easy to access. I don't get nearly as much commentary as my ego would like, but I do get some. I've even tried baiting the FReepers by calling them morons, idiots, brain-dead zombies and more, but I can't get them to show up. They must save their trolling for the big-boy sites, and ignore us little guys.

But in recent months, my easy access comments area has been invaded by spammers. They're pushing rings, knock-off designer hand bags, Viagra, and all manner of dietary supplements.

I could go through each and every post on this blog, and weed out the ridiculous spam comments. But I’ve posted something like 7,000 posts, and going through them all would not only be tedious, it would be pointless. Only the dumbest of the dumb would fall for these ads, and that sort of person is unlikely to land in the comments section anyway.

What really strikes me as pointless, is the fact that somebody (or several somebodies) sits behind a computer, picks through the stories I’ve written, selects which ones to comment on, and then leaves such tragically lame spam posts. Now, I know there are spambots that do this, but spambots—to my knowledge—can’t get around the security feature I have recently implemented. So these are likely real people putting these posts up.  If they’re getting paid per post, I suppose it doesn’t matter where they put them. But often, the posts they decided to comment on are ones where almost nobody would be interested in reading the comments in the first place. 

So, if almost nobody is going to find these comments, and almost nobody would believe they were worthy click-through links, even less people would actually click them.  The return rate on the time and effort spent has got to be in the mere fractions of a percent.  Basically, all they are accomplishing on their mission. . .particularly on my blog, is to annoy me.
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