Monday, June 20, 2005

Back-door Bolton

I don't mean to imply with the title of this, that John Bolton, the Village Idiot's nominee for US Ambassador to the UN, enjoys a certain activity which would warrant someone to obtain the title Back-door Beauty. I have no idea of his preferences in that realm. I am only referring to recent mumbling that the Bush regime is thinking about using a back-door confirmation of Bolton as the UN Ambassador. If a President's nominee to just about anything has not received a vote and the Congress is in recess, then the President can give that person a "Recess Appointment". That person can hold the post (whatever post) for 17 months free of charge. I imagine the initial intent of the Recess Appointment was for situations where Congress was on an extended leave and something happened to a judge and someone, anyone, needed to fill that seat immediately. I do not believe that it was intended to give the President a Carte Blanche to insert whatever megalomaniac fascist short-fused nut-job into whatever post he wanted whenever he wanted.

If you can tell me why Back-door Appointment is so much more noble than using the filibuster to prevent these whackos from reaching positions of power, please let me know. I can't see. The whole point of a filabuster is because sometimes a minority believes so strongly in something that it needs it's voice to be heard. And in this case, there is information the White House is withholding about Bolton. There is enough reason to be suspicious of this creep to warrant wanting his entire background and history to receive full exposure. I think there are enough Republicans on the fence about this guy that knowing even the teensiest bit more about the depths he will sink to to prove his point right (whether it is or not), that having total disclosure isn't such a far-fetched request.

Bush claims that he's the right man for the job at the right time. That the American People are demanding reform in the UN. Funny, I don't hear those demands. I hear one of 2 opinions about the UN:
1) we need to get out and do our own business our own way and bomb whoever we want
2) the UN was right about a lack of evidence to invade Iraq. Maybe they know a thing or 2.
The rest of the country seems to be rather indifferent.

Bush claims the American People want the UN to show some accountability. That's funny, because I also hear the American people wanting a little accountability regarding the Iraq fiasco. God forbid someone acknowledge that we're entrenched in a mess every bit as dirty, duplicitous and treacherous as the "Oil for Food Program".

And if he really does want accountability in the UN, why won't he let Bolton stand accountable to his methods?

The overbearing question becomes is it worse to hold a double standard like Bush or to change opinions on a subject once all the information is in. Unfortunately, in November, people stated they obviously would rather have someone have 2 faces than 2 opinions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Even More Street Related Updates!

This time, we're getting out of the gutter and strolling down Sesame Street. It seems that Congress has taken the first official step towards killing the Leftist Propaganda machines that are Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The House sub-committee responsible for budgeting the Federal dollars that support PBS and NPR programming has recommended cutting funding to those institutions by 25% next year and eliminating all federal funding for them the following year.

Obviously, they are claiming non-partisan reasons. They say that those programs are "somewhere between need-to-have and nice-to-have.'' It seems this is the general feeling toward an independent media that all Republicans share. Yes, that sound you heard is our Democracy accompanying the Koran in a flush down the toilet.

PLEASE try to stop this. It isn't too late (in fact, an article I read said that the Senate would have to approve the budget, it would be very easy for a Senator to re-institute funding before a vote happens, and the Senate is historically more supportive of Public Broadcasting). I'm going to continue on with my rant in a second, but before I do, click here to send an e-mail, via, to congressfolk letting them know that you need your Big Bird fix and you want to make certain your kids will have the same opportunity.

Returning to the rant, it seems that the theory is that when the federal funding goes away there will be corporate funding that will take it's place. It's sort of a Bizzaro Supply Side Economics theory for charitable donations. And we all know how Supply Side Economics works in the real world. You know that job that you have that you haven't gotten a decent raise in more than 4 years and that fear that you have of losing your job because there aren't any new jobs to replace them? That's Supply Side Economics at work. If you don't know by know that rich people like to keep their money and NOT spend it (and certainly not give it away), no matter how much more money they have, then you will probably never learn.

The other laughable side to this (and only laughable because it's so surreal to think that these morons were VOTED FOR, it's easier to laugh than cry) is the Village Idiot President's ridiculous "No Child Left Behind" policy. Cutting funding for Sesame Street is basically saying that you're going to prevent children from being left behind by ensuring that they ALL start at ground zero with absolutely no educational basis to build on. Tabla Rasa. The really sad thing is that this is only going to hurt the poorest of children and the one's already at an educational disadvantage. For those kids, the ones that are allowed to watch Lion King 572 times in a row (great movie, not educational), whose parents take little to no initiative (either out of lack of funds or lack of interest) in getting them some early educational materials, Sesame Street is as close as they're going to get to Baby Einstein.

It just boggles my mind that they look at Sesame Street and they see political bias. It really is demonstrative of how scary far right the Republican powers that be have become when they see an ideologically middle-of-the-road program as a left wing threat. Your entire perception is frame by your basis of origin. And for the right, it just keeps getting further and further out there.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Update from the Gutter

To update a previous story that I posted here at the beginning of May, t-Shirt Hell has brought back it's Worse than Hell line of shirts. Let's hear one for free speach: Hip hip HOORAY!!! Anyway, at the time, I said that any form of censorship, even if it is self imposed, is still sensorship and that is bad. I'm glad that the owner of the site agrees. Just to give you some idea of what Worse than Hell has in store for you, they have a new welcome back shirt: on the fron tit says "Dave Chapelle went to Africa" and on the back it says "One Down". IF that's not just wrong, Id on't kow what is.

That's all I have for today. I"m sure something will happen in the next day or 2 to sufficiently rattle my cage.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Smiths: boring name, fun movie

Jenn and I got to go see an advanced screening of Mr. and Mrs. Smith on Wednesday. It was very high on the list of movies I wanted to see this summer, but I was a little worried about it. It looked like it had tons of potential, but on the flip side, if not done properly, it would have sucked. That sort of distinction can be the difference between a wonderfully funny movie like Grosse Pointe Blank and a fun yet flawed movie like Hudson Hawk.

I was very relieved when it was far more the prior and far less the later.

I imagine at the pitch in some 20th Century Fox's big wig's office it was described as a cross between True Lies and Grosse Pointe Blank (for those that do not know, that is how all new movies are presented, by comparing them to 2 movies that already exist). But I liked this FAR more than True Lies (Brad and Angelina are better than Arnold and Jamie Lee in many many ways). It's not a stretch to call it in GPB's realm, although it isn't remotely as original. However, I think you can have a premise that has been done before in some form and still wind up with a good movie.

Action movies these days seem to be trying for one of 2 things, at least the one's I like: try to blow the mind off of people with the stunts (like Bourne Identity) or try to make them laugh (like Ocean's 11). Mr. and Mrs. Smith isn't as exciting as Bourne Identity nor is it as smart as Ocean's 11, but it's every bit as fun as both of them. Ocean's 11 has become my barometer for the action movie. I had more fun watching that movie than any movie I can remember in a very long time. Just smiling broadly from start to finish. And while the plot is far less intricate (the one "twist" in the movie was very obvious and not the least bit surprising), Smith still keeps me grinning the whole time. And the action scenes weren't the best I'd ever seen, but they were plenty to keep any one watching and excited.

OK, so the ending is a tad "Hollywood," but if you're expecting "realistic" or sad endings from a Hollywood action flick, odds are pretty good that you're not going to see this movie anyway.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is one of those movies that, if it were a Wide Receiver in the NFL, you'd want on your team. They're not the fastest guy on the team, but their quickness is enough that you know they'll outrun most safeties. They're not the flashiest, but their hands are so solid that anything you throw at them, they'll bring down. They're never getting the long balls but when it's 3rd and 7, you know where the balls going to. There's nothing it does the best, but it's hard to argue consistency.

Speaking of football really quick, Yahoo's Fantasy Football started sign-ups today. YAY!!!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Brief Wedding Update

This past weekend, we went to the jeweler to get our wedding bands done. We're having it done by the same guy who did Jenn's Engagement ring. Since the Engagement ring is different than most you'll find, it stands to reason that we have the bands done special, so the band doesn't stick out as being so different. My band will basically be a manly version of the original design. The guy doing the ring called it a more German version, which I found very funny.

To do the design, he had to take Jenn's ring. She had a hard time adjusting to that. She kept thinking she'd lost it. She's so adorable.

Also, we have a grand total of 26 people attending the reception. That is the official count of ONLY those responses we have in the form of a reply card. So that doesn't count relatives and friends we know that will be going but have yet to reply. Our early estimate was 70 people, and the responses we've been getting have been falling pretty much right on target with our expectations. If we get to 60 in July and are still expecting 20 or more responses back, I may use this space as a way to lobby against people going. But as we stand now, we're on target and we hope everyone that wants to come does so.

Told you it'd be brief.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Crossing over from the Dark Side

Just so everyone doesn't get too used to frequent posts, I'm letting everyone know now that in about 2 to 3 weeks, once the Fantasy Football season starts to pick up a bit, my lunch time blogging will be reduced a bit. So enjoy it while it lasts.

I read an article on Michael Moore's web site that had me scratching my head. There have been dozens others like it since the start of the illegal war in Iraq. A story about a person who was pro-Bush, pro-blowing up Iraqi civilians, pro-defending our boarders that aren't threatened by the enemy we were attacking. That is they were pro all of these things until the one day when their child was tragically killed while in Iraq. This made them start questioning things like, "Hey, why are we there again?" And in every instance it leads to the blatantly obvious answer, "This is bull crap. We have no business being there."

I really feel bad for these people. I do. It's terrible that their children died for a lack of cause. But my problem is this: they never explain why they were so gullible in the first place. The guy in the article goes so far as to say that he doesn't care if people call him un-patriotic or un-American. Excuse me?!?!? I MIND AND I HAVEN'T HAD MY HEAD UP MY ASS FOR THE PAST 2 YEARS!!! It's absurd and ridiculous to call those of us that know the difference between political speak and truth un-patriotic and un-American. I much prefer un-ignorant and un-lemming-like.

Here's my point: I'm glad that there are more people being woken up to The Truth, but I'm equally, if not more, mad that it takes these people having a kid die to do it. Their entire anti-war discussion is based on self-interest and personal experience rather than any understanding of world politics, political motivation and ideology, and a true desire for peace and loving thy neighbor. Essentially, he is only against murder once someone HE knows is murdered. Otherwise, it's not a concern of his to know what's actually going on. It's like the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) principle of nuclear power plants as proposed by George Carlin.

The greater fear, and likely reality, is of course that the majority of the lemmings will continue to jump off the cliff because none of them will have a loved one (thankfully for them) die while in Iraq. There's the Truth just sitting there waiting to be discovered. Waiting to be listened to. But everyone chooses to ignore until it become convenient to do so. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that the Official Truth Disseminators of a Democracy, the media, are afraid to give the Truth a louder voice. For whatever reason. it may be that they don't want to be branded: be it "liberal", "un-patriotic", "un-American" or "un-cooperative". I don't know. But for those of us that know there are questions not being asked, what more can we do than continue to try to ask them in our own way? And we will take conversions from the Dark Side. I'd just prefer that they not get all the press coverage because they're still rookies at this whole Truth thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Most Shocking Image of 2005

I was innocently watching the Discovery Channel over the weekend, one of my 4 or 5 favorite Basic Cable channels, not thinking that after about 5 minutes of viewing I was about to be shocked and appalled to the point of nearly losing continence. A commercial came on advertising a show they were putting on call The Greatest Americans - standard fare during Basic Cable sweeps month. Again, I'm not thinking about having a seizure in about 20 seconds. They're flashing pictures and the voice over is saying things like, "Who's inspired us, who's made discoveries,..." Picture of Walt Disney (T-minus 3 seconds to heart attack). Picture of Neil Arstrong (2 seconds and counting). Picture of George Washington (1 more to blast of). Picture of VILLAGE IDIOT PRESIDENT GEORGE W. FRIGGIN' BUSH!!!!! I have about .5 seconds of shock before I erupt during whcih time I witness Abe Lincoln's picture flash on the screen immediately after the esteemed Village Idiot. I go Ballistic. Jenn has the where-with-all (after an initial screech of her own) to jump on my lap and immediately try to calm me down. It took a minute before I was able to utter a sound that resembled a word and a good 5 minutes before those words could be strung together in a coherent sentence. That sentence:

WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!

My first thought was that I needed to write the Discovery Channel a protest letter. An exept I had in my head was going to go something like this: "Why not include the images of Al Capone, Edward McArthy and Richard Nixon? Individuals who are equally adept at ruling by fear, using fear to acheive and sustain ill-gotten political power and manipulating the office of the President into a guilt-free get-out-of-jail-free pass to push forward one's own personal and political intiatives at an incalcuable cost (respectively). Each of these individual's acheivements were no less great."

I was also going to demand that they owe an apology to the families of the 1,700+ dead servicemen that lost their lives in Iraq, the thousands more that have been wounded and perminantly disabled, the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed, wounded or homeless now, and the Florida voters who failed to have their votes counted in 2000.

This was stuff I was GOING to say. So I went to the web site to figure out where to send this rant. It so happened that there was a link the the show The Greatest Americans. And so I went there just to see what it was all about. They listed their "100 Greatest Americans" as well as the final cut to the "25 Greatest Americans". Welp, I looked at the list of 100 and I instantly realized that sending a letter to these people was useless and the country is SO ignorant that the battle is not worth fighting when the opponent is the Discovery Channel (whose motto is Entertain your Brain but hence forth will be Entertain the Mindless Masses). Not only was George Bush, Village Idiot on the list of 100, but BOTH his mom AND dad were. Not only was George Bush, Village Idiot on the elite list of 25. But RICHARD "I AM NOT A CROOK" NIXON WAS ON THE LIST OF 100!!!! He shouldn't be on a list of the Greatest 10,000 Americans. Hell, if I could list 1,000,000 Americans, just random folks I know on top of the famous ones that other people may have heard of, he'd not be on the list either. And if I included Fictional Characters on the list, and made it the list of 10,000,000 Americans, I'd verture to say he'd fall somewhere between Marmaduke and John Holmes.

Maybe the e-mail would ahve been worth while if Blair were around and we could have come up with a list of 100 famous Americans that more than 10% of the population would have heard of that were truly greater than the Bush clan. Coming up with the list against Nixon I could do in an instant. Woodward, Robert Redford, Berstein, Dustin Hoffman, Deep Throat and Hal Holbrook. There's 6 that weren't on Discovery Channel's list right off the top of my head without even trying. Obviously, they'd be on the Bush Clan list, too, but I'd want that list to be really impressive.

Oh God, Condaleeza Rice is on the 100 list, too.

Anyway, you can see, the list is far too ridiculous to even argue against with a simple diatribe. I'd need my own list. And that's a slightly more daunting task to take on alone without the help of a history guy like Blair. I can think up Louis Arstrong, Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale,


I'm getting more and more pissed off as I try to write a rationale blog about this. Why do I bother?!?! If Rush Limbaugh is on the list and Howard Stern is not, then we are lost as a country. It's sad to say but I really have lost a little hope for our future today. Because THIS is the list that We, The People, are presented with. And most of the Peolpe aren't going to realize that Limbaugh and Dr. Phil (I shit you not) being on the list and Edward R. Murrow not is a crime and a rotting of our freedom to think and our free press.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Deep Thoughts on Deep Throat

When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies not featuring Darth Vader or Indiana Jones was All the President's Men. I found it absolute fascinating. Prior to seeing it - I must have been 7 or 8 on my first viewing - my favorite President was Richard Nixon. He was President the year I was born, so he was my favorite. I had no idea what impeachment was and only a vague knowledge of the word "Watergate" with almost no connection to it whatsoever.

Then I saw the movie.

After that, I was far more pleased that 1974 was the same year Nixon left office than the fact that he was the President that year. I can't even begin to imagine what 1974 must have been like for my parents, the ultra liberals, Mr. and Mrs. Conscientious Objector. Within the first month, they find out that they're going to have a baby and to mark the time along, they get to follow the Watergate mess. Nixon resigned a month and a half before I was born, so technically, I spent the first 8 years of my life with the wrong favorite President: it should have been Ford.

By no rights should an 8 year old be all that enthralled by a movie like this, but I was. My favorite scene, by far without any doubt, was when Woodward is meeting with Deep Throat and Deep Throat is being vague again but Woodward insists that he needs specifics. Then the music gets all serious and Deep throat tell him that his life is in danger. Next shot is Woodward running into Berstein's place and cranking up some classical music and they start communicating ont he typewrite. Keep in mind that I'm still at the age where mom or dad have to read it for me because there's no way I'm keeping up. I would have to say it remains one of my most favorite 10 scenes in any movie all time.

And the best part of this was that IT WAS REAL!!! I could actually MEET Deep Throat. This was mind boggling to me. Movies weren't real. BUT THIS REALLY HAPPENED! And yes, today I understand that in "based on a true story" movies, they dramatize this. Now. But I didn't know this then, so as far as I knew, what was happening happened just as they said. To this day, I think of the events depicted in ATPM as occurring as shown in the movie. There is no suspension of disbelief required and there is no spoil-sport in the back of my head saying, "Sure, but you know it wasn't EXACTLY like this."

The only caveat to ATPM was that Deep Throat was real but we didn't know who he was. I've known since the first time I saw the movie that Woodward was going to keep this secret until the actual Deep Throat died because after the movie I must have asked my dad about 1 zillion questions. It's always been the one piece of the puzzle that was missing that probably helped keep my interest going.

When I was in college, Bill Bradlee, the Editor of the Post at the time of Watergate, came to Pitt to give a speech. You better believe that I was one of the first people there. There's not too much I actually remember of his talk. But there are 2 parts of the evening that stand out in my mind: someone in the audience asked who was Deep Throat (his answer being that he can't say yet) and that during the book signing portion, I got to ask what he thought of Jason Robards' portrayal of him in the movie. To be honest, I don't remember the answer exactly (he asked me what I thought and I said something, he more or less agreed and mentioned that he spent a day with him before filming), but just getting to ask the question was an absolute thrill for me.

So that brings us to Deep Throat revealing himself this week. To my surprise, it hasn't been remotely as anti-climactic as I had feared it would be. Maybe because all of the fascist conservatives are lambasting the guy for pointing out how crooked they are. His grandkid called him a hero, which he most certainly is. I think he's as close to a living Yoda as we can expect. I'm talking Yoda from Empire here, not the Yoda that kicks all kinds of ass in the recent trilogy. And now he's real.

I can't wait for the inevitable TV movie that pops up as a result of this. From what I've read, it seems like the guy lived a truly remarkable life. He was involved in spying at some level as far back as WWII. Some of the communication codes he used with Woodward he lifted from the Nazi's (Buchanan, Hannity and the rest should be at least a little amused about that). Just seems like a really cool guy to sit and listen to tell stories. I'll be reading each one of those as they come out over the coming weeks, to be sure.

And if he were to appear on a campus to give a talk somewhere to promote a new book, I'd be in the audience. I'd wait in line to have a book signed. And I'd ask him a question when I got in front of him. This time though, I don't think I'd ask, "What did you think of Hal Holbrook's performance as you." Nope. I'd ask a question that he'd absolutely, positively HAVE to have an opinion on one way or the other but I doubt anyone would be willing to ask. I'd have to ask, "So, what's it been like all these years to know that you were given a nick name based on a porno?"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Jon's Back!!!

If you one reading this knows Jon Stewart or anyone even remotely connected or afiliated with the Dialy Show, please let them know that the loayal viewer cannot take 2 weeks without the Daily Show. It's just too much time to have to deal with the insanity of reality on our own. The Daily Show is a becon for all of us who have a hard time rationally dealing with the insanity and stupidity of the world in general and the current administration in particular.

I needed their reassuring satire during the past 2 weeks. I needed to make sense of a pact that Democrats made with Republicans basically saying, "We will let these 3 fascist corporate whore nut jobs through to the courts now and the other 4 fascist corporate whore nut jobs through later but if you even TRY to push through a fascist corporate whore nut job in the future that was actually a registered member of the neo-fascist movement or on the board of Enron, we may think about doing something about it then." I needed to understand why Tom DeLay can say his name is being disparaged on a TV show when the show refered to a right wing nut job that killed some judged would probalby be wearing a Tom DeLay shirt when the man said, after the Terri Schiavo fiasco, that he would be certain the judiciary would be held accountable. I need to shed some light on the hypocracy of a White House that condones the torture of "enemy combatants", that refuses to acknowledge ANY rites for these detaines and then turns around and gets steaming mad about a Newsweek article about soldier's treatment of the Koran and blasts a report from Amnisty International that condemns the White Houses actions that they can't deny their taking, their only defense being, "well, yeah, but the people making those accusations are are only the ones BEIGN tortured," all the while claiming to be a becon of freedom and a defender of democracy. Without the Daily Show all of these events, and many others, were far to much for me to comprehend. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around them.

So, thank you for coming back last night, Jon. I was beginning to think my TiVo was hiding something from me. Please don't take off 2 weeks at a time ever again.

Hypocracy Alert!!!! Last week I watched the movie Control Room (a MUST see for anyone that likes to get pissed off at our Village Idiot President and any one who supports him). Int eh movie, Rumsfeld was responding to a question posed to him early on in our illeagal occupation of Iraq about the treatment of our prisoners and he stated something along the lines of, "I expect them to be treated in accordance with the laws outlined in the Geneva Convention." This coming from the same administration that said that we don't need to follow the Geneva Convention because our enemy isn't fighting for a nation. The same administartion whose current Attourny General said that the Geneva Convetion was outdated. Let's ignore the fact that the "war" in Iraq is an illegal occupation and out troops, regreattably, probalby wouldn't be protected under the Geneva. ALL IN THE NAME OF STOPPING THE PROLIFERATION OF WMD's .... er.... um.... uh.... I mean.... ALL INT EH NAME OF PROLIFERATING DEMOCRACY (or the religious right's brand of democracy).