Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
As we all know, the radical right have their own "language". A language grounded in ignorance, bigotry, hate, and down-right stupidity. Over the last few years the fringe right have desperately tried to insert their lexicon into mainstream America. For example, we've heard their excessive and despicable use of "homicide bomber" , "death tax", "feminazis", "activist judges", and my all time favorite, "liberal media".
So , while I was running some errands today I was surfing through the channels on Sirius radio in my car. This time of day is typically the normal time slot for O'Reilly's hate-fest so I tuned into Faux Radio (Sirius 145) to see what new "enemy" the right-wingers were attacking. O'Reilly was not on air and in his place was some wanna-be, second tier hate jock named Phil Valentine. As I tuned in, Valentine was on some bigoted, racist rant on the topic of racial profiling when he introduced a term that I have never heard before. In lieu of using the widely accepted "racial profiling", he proceeded to call it "criminal profiling".
I chuckled in disbelief for a second, but I thought to myself, how could anyone call it "criminal" profiling unless the person in question is proven guilty? To be precise, right-wingers actually want the targeting of individuals that they believe are criminals, however, the targeted individual has yet to be found guilty of ANYTHING! How typical and expected of the right-wing to believe in guilt before innocence. And of course, the blood thirsty Kool-Aide drinking listeners were in lobotomy-like agreement.
I didn’t grow up in Philly, therefore Rocky is not one of my “experiences” in life. It doesn’t talk to me, or make me proud, the way it does to all of my friends and family that grew up here. When I went last night with two Rocky FANS, one in film, the other a hulking wrestler, I knew I was in for it during the car ride when the two began debating the merit of Rocky V.
When we arrived, it wasn’t too difficult to notice the audience was made up of almost entirely men – men that had grown up with this underdog character that probably not only describes who they are, but describes the very city in which they live. To them, Rocky isn’t just some untouchable character on screen, he’s a friend, a hero, a role model and a source of hope for a town that doesn’t (in the sports arena anyway) have much to hope for these days (yes, after living here for 8 years, I wholeheartedly believe there is a jinx on this town).
Before going in, I was worried the movie (I will not call it a film) would be as bad as having teeth pulled. While, in the end, the movie didn’t provide me with what I really wanted it to, it was better that I had expected.
The movie opens by explaining to us how desperate Rocky has become. He’s lost his wife to cancer, and his son, now grown up, is tired of living in his dad’s shadow. Rocky has opened a restaurant and earns his living by using his local fame to bring in customers, and spends his time reliving stories of his glory days to customers that probably aren’t coming in for the food.
Increasingly desperate to rid himself of pain from the loss of his wife, and to do something that will fill a void, or even possibly prove to himself that he’s still alive, Rocky applies for his boxing license. After a scene in which Rocky gives a speech about his freedom and that “piece of paper down the street”, his license is approved.
His first fight in years finds him after ESPN runs a simulation to see who would win: Rocky in his prime or a young heavyweight champion, Mason Dixon. Dixon’s managers talk convince him to take the fight, since no other fighters are interested in fighting Dixon and he’s taking in very little revenue. Both Dixon and Balboa accept and head to Las Vegas, where hopefully, Rocky will fight his last bout.
Much of the movie was weak, seeming as though Sylvester Stallone had some ideas that worked well on paper, but could not be properly executed for the screen under his direction. The dialogue was typical Rocky, which even elicited some hearty laughs from this non-Rocky fan.
One of the worst storylines in the movie comes when Rocky and a new friend adopt a dog appropriately named “Punchy.” An old, ugly, mangled beast, Stallone uses Punchy as a metaphor for Rocky – attempting to explain the premise of the movie through the pooch.
Punchy even somehow makes in into one of the most important scenes – Rocky running to the top of the Art Museum steps. Not exactly a fitting way for Rocky to make his last run.
The end left me extremely discontent, desiring something much more than Stallone delivered. To me, the best part of the movie was quite possibly the exterior shots of Philadelphia – which was portrayed rather accurately. The bar scenes were actually filmed at a local bar that I personally frequent.
The audience, all Philly boys, seemed to enjoy it. There was a smattering of applause at the end, and no one left during the credits, which consisted of locals mimicking the Rocky run up the steps of the Art Museum. More than for anything else, I believe the audience stayed to see if there was anyone they knew in the credits.
If you’re a Rocky lover – you’re either going to love it or hate it, but either way – you’ll probably want to go see it. For non-Rocky fans: if there isn’t anything better you wish to see, “Rocky Balboa” might help fill an hour and a half with some laughs.
I love Liam Lynch - I'm a huge "Sifl-n-Olly" fan, I loved Sarah Silverman's stand-up that he directed, and hopefully I'll be seeing "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny" sooner or later. But for today, I needed a little bit of Lynch at this best.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
As I mentioned last week, the NJ state Senate passed a law that would entitle same sex couples all the rights entitled to married couples.
Today, Governor Corzine signed the bill into law, making New Jersey the third state to provide civil unions for same sex couples.
During the ceremony, Corzine said, "We must recognize that many gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey are in committed relationships and deserve the same benefits and rights as every other family in this state."
The law goes into effect February 19th, 2007 and after that date these civil unions will entitle same sex couples to "adoption, inheritance, hospital visitation, medical decision-making and alimony rights and the right not to testify against a partner in court."
This might be the best Christmas present I've ever gotten: tolerance.
(CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO Two peace activists have planned a massive anti-war demonstration for the first day of winter.
But they don't want you marching in the streets. They'd much rather you just stay home.
The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace.
"The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it," Reffell said Sunday. "Your mind is like a blank. It's like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change."
By promoting what they hope to be a synchronized global orgasm, they hope to get people to channel their sexual energy into something more positive.
The couple said interest appears strong, with 26,000 hits a day to their Web site, www.globalorgasm.org.
"The dream is to have everyone in the world (take part)," Reffell said. "And if that means laying down your gun for a few minutes, then hey, all the better."
Update 12/21/2006: I figured I would bump this post to the top since it is December 22nd in some parts of the world already. Everyone, have a wonderful Global Orgasm For Peace day. If you so desire, please feel free to send pics of your "protest". Peace!
A judge has thrown out a suit by an Iraq War veteran against filmmaker Michael Moore. In the $35 million suit (Comment: I think variety got it wrong, all other links cite an $85 million suit) that also sought damages from Miramax, the soldier claimed Moore used his image without permission for the documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."To no surprise, Sgt. Damon is a supporter of Faux news, Bush, and his failed war (Comment: I thought Republicans hated lawsuits?) I heard Sgt. Damon one morning back in June on the Faux Radio show, "Brian and The Judge". Now, I do feel sorry for the guy, but listening to Damon on "Brian and The Judge" was like listening to O'Reilly. He broke out every RNC/Faux talking point and it was really sad to listen to those two twits exploit and goad this American.
The film shows an armless Sgt. Peter Damon lying on a gurney at Walter Reed Hospital. Damon says he feels pain but that medication allows him to "take a lot of the edge" off of it.
Here is the video clip from F9/11 that includes Sgt. Damon. He's the poor soul at the end of the video in the hospital gurney.
Reuters is reporting that Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich has been charged with 13 counts of murder for his possible role in killing unarmed Iraqis last year in Haditha, Iraq.
"Wuterich led a squad at the center of the probe into the November 19, 2005, shooting of 24 unarmed men, women and children in the western Iraqi town. It is one of a series of cases in which U.S. service members have been accused, and in some cases convicted, of involvement in killing civilians."
Looks like the right-wingers owe the ever prescient John Murtha an apology.
There is no subliminal message, analogy, political statement, or purpose....I just love Sinatra. Here's one of my favorites:
The song revolves around a gambler (Sky Masterson) hoping that he will win a bet, the outcome of which will decide whether or not he is able to save his relationship with the girl of his dreams.
A hidden camera caught two people repeatedly stabbing an inflatable 12-foot snowman at a home on Crest Road over the past weekend.
"I thought I heard something, but didn't think much of it. But then my wife came running downstairs saying Frosty was down," said 26-year-old Matt Williquette, who has seen it happen twice before in the last three weeks. "They slashed him there and they also got him in the head twice."
Inside Frosty's mangled torso, Williquette found a screwdriver and footprints on the nylon. His neighbors also heard the commotion.
Last week, Williquette installed a hidden camera because he knew the vandals would come back. This time he got them on tape.
The police canvassed the area and deputies arrested Robert Snell, who lives on nearby Overdell Drive. He was charged with criminal damaging.
Link to the Video
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Earlier this week it was reported that Vice President Cheney will be called as a witness for the defense in the trial of Scooter Libby. According to Cheney spokesperson Lea Anne McBridge, "We've cooperated fully in this matter and we'll continue to do so."
However, during this morning's press conference, CNN's Elaine Quiano asked the President about this development.
"What is your reaction to that, is that something you'll resist?"
Bush responded that he was unaware of this development until reading the newspapers this morning.
"No, I read about it in the newspaper today, and uh, it's an interesting piece of news and that's all I'm going to comment about an ongoing case."
Why is it I knew the Vice President was being subpoenaed a day before the President did? Why was it that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, had to read about his Vice President testifying in the newspapers? Guess the Patriot Act doesn't cover sharing information within the Executive Branch.
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No. 04cv2688, was the first direct challenge brought in United States federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of "Intelligent Design" as an alternative to evolution as an "explanation of the origin of life". The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Eleven parents of students in Dover, Pennsylvania, near York, sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the school board required to be read aloud in ninth-grade science classes when evolution was taught. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and Pepper Hamilton LLP. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) acted as consultants for the plaintiffs. The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics, publisher of a textbook advocating intelligent design titled Of Pandas and People, tried to join the lawsuit as a defendant but was denied. 
The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief. Since it sought an equitable remedy there was no right to a jury trial; the Seventh Amendment did not apply. It was tried in a bench trial from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005 before Judge John E. Jones III. On December 20, 2005 Judge Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover mandate was unconstitutional, and barred intelligent design from being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school science classrooms. The eight Dover school board members who voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a November 8, 2005 election by challengers who opposed the teaching of intelligent design in a science class, and the current school board president stated that the board does not intend to appeal the ruling.
Amen!! Mark this date in history. Bush FINALLY does something right! Now, if he would only stop placating his unhinged out-of-touch base and open up funding for stem cell research. Oh well, two years isn't that long....unless of course you are suffering by one of the myriad of diseases that could possibly be cured via stem cell therapy.
Since Bush took office in 2001, funding for autism research has increased from $56 million to $101 million, with $5.9 million going to study the factors that may put children at risk. The measure calls for early screening for the condition and to increase the number of people able to diagnose the condition.
"For the millions of Americans whose lives are affected by autism, today is a day of hope," Bush said in signing the measure, the Combating Autism Act of 2006."By creating a national education program for doctors and the public about autism, this legislation will help more people recognize the symptoms of autism. This will lead to early identification and intervention, which is critical for children with autism."
Flashback 2004. Mr. Kerry was called a "flip-flopper" (Tm) over and over by the right-wing MSM because he actually had the NERVE to self-reflect and change his mind. The nerve! Well, flash-forward and compare and contrast what the Hannity wanna-be Rich Lowry has been saying. From the Whiskey Bar:
In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it.
National Review editor Rich LowryIt is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq . . . Even as there has been a steady diet of bad news about Iraq in the media over the last year, even as some hawks have bailed on the war in despair, even as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has become everyone's whipping boy, the U.S. military has been regaining the strategic upper hand.
When the Media’s Right
December 19, 2006
National Review editor Rich Lowry
What Went Right
April 27, 2005
Is this is an example of a split personality disorder, flip-flopping, disfranchised wingnutism, or simply a wake-up to the truth that Bush and his policies are complete and utter failures? I pick "all of the above".
For the first time in my life I am absolutely speechless. Words can't describe my complete and utter contempt I have for this president. From the WaPo:
President Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq and said he plans to expand the overall size of the "stressed" U.S. armed forces to meet the challenges of a long-term global struggle against terrorists.
As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, "Absolutely, we're winning."
In another turnaround, Bush said he has ordered Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to develop a plan to increase the troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps, heeding warnings from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill that multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretching the armed forces toward the breaking point. "We need to reset our military," said Bush, whose administration had opposed increasing force levels as recently as this summer.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Growing up just outside of DC, former Mayor Marion Barry was in the news just about everyday. I even remember hearing about him as far back as kindergarden, when I thought he was two people ("Mary & Barry"). And, of course, it's impossible to forget learning about hookers and crack at the ripe old age 9 while watching grainy footage of the police sting that eventually took him down (the first time, anyway). No matter how old I get, Marion Barry will always be my first introduction to corrupt, drug-addled politicans.
Now I'm 25, and Barry continues to not disappoint:
"Marion Barry said that he is talking to his lawyers and thinking about suing the D.C. government and the U.S. Park Police after he was stopped, arrested and then released this past Saturday.
Barry said that he was driving to a holiday party around 4:30 p.m. Saturday when U.S. Park Police officers, who said that he was driving too slowly, stopped him.
Barry said the officers asked him for his license and registration and then said that his license was suspended.
Barry told NBC4 the suspension was a clerical mistake, and he accused the U.S. Park police of racial profiling."
Who knows what the real story is - maybe it was simply a clerical error on the part of the DC Motor Vehicles (which, sadly, is extremely likely) but for Barry to immediately jump to "racial profiling" in DC is just, well... Classic Barry.
Maybe this will get him another term as Mayor!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Here's to 5 years of incompetence, blindness, ignorance, and narcissism. You will not be missed.
And just so you don't forget the type of man Rummy was, here's a brief reminder:
And Rummy - good luck fighting those war crimes charges. I pray justice is swift.
9/11 Commission recommendations not followed. Cargo not inspected. A country involved in terrorism given the keys to our ports. Why hasn't the Bush Administration just turned our plan for fighting in Iraq over to the insurgents? Oh wait. They did.
The blog, "IraqSlogger" is reporting that the Pentagon has released a 282 page report on the United States counterinsurgency plan. This is the first such report of this nature since 9/11, and is now available on multiple military websites that can be accessed across the globe.
The report itself does not contain any classified information, but does discuss such topics as "Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance", "Intelligence Cells and Working Groups", "Executing Counterinsurgency Operations", and "Targeting".
So, Bush policy it seems, is to provide an unwavering commitment to an illegal war, decline to offer an exit strategy/timetable because it will embolden the terrorists, but handing them our plan on a silver platter is A-OK.
UPDATE: It is now being reported that jihadist websites are now linking to and mocking the report.
"Jihadists and their supporters are reading and mocking the Pentagon's new counterinsurgency field manual, which was released publicly and posted on several Department of Defense Web sites Friday even though it addresses such sensitive topics as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting.
One Arabic-language jihadist Web site linking to the Pentagon's 282-page counterinsurgency manual is Tajdeed.net, which routinely calls for the killing of U.S. and British forces in Iraq; praises bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the 9/11 attacks; and whose sponsor, Mohamed al Massari, has called for the assassination of George Bush and Tony Blair."
Thanks George Bush.
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2006 Weblog Awards. I'm still shocked that even in TPT's infancy (just around 6 days old), we were not a finalist in one of the categories! Nonetheless, I digress, so based on 526,974 votes cast in 45 categories over 8 days of voting in early December 2006, here is a shortlist of the winners for The 2006 Weblog Awards (go to their website to view all the winners and finalists):
So, I was surfing through the categories and checking out blogs and links that I was not familiar with (which was quite a few) when I came across the Video Of The Year Category (The Diet Coke and Mentos video was the winner). One of the video finalists was a "Free Hugs" video. It's a powerful video accompanied by an equally powerful song. I thought I would share it with you (We'll consider this 'The Song of The Day'):
Best Blog: Daily Kos
Best New Blog: Lesbian Dad
Best Individual Blog: Lileks
Best Humor Blog: Sadly, No!
Best Comic Strip: Least I Could Do
Best Online Community: FARK
Best Liberal Blog: Think Progress
Best Conservative Blog: Little Green Footballs
Best Centrist Blog: The Moderate Voice
FYI, here is some information about the Free Hugs Campaign.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
"Macaca, Global Warming Denier, Herstory and Flip Chart top the list of the most egregious examples of politically correct language found in 2006 by the Global Language Monitor in its annual global survey.
In 2006, the Political Correctness movement continued to gain momentum to the effect that many were unaware of the extent that it had inserted itself into ordinary English-language conversations, said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor (GLM). The year has been rife with examples that have been nominated by the GLM’s Language Police, volunteer language observers from the world over".
Well, well, well....Bill-O "returns to combat". John Kasich filled in for Bill O’Reilly, the combat veteran, Thursday night. In explaining his absence, Kasich said that O’Reilly was on assignment and would be back on Monday with a “major breaking news story”. It turns out the that "Culture Warrior" and Phone Sex Enthusiast was visiting the troops in Iraq. I'm guessing he couldn't be one-upped by his fellow faux nitwit, Sean Hannity, since Hannity just returned from Iraq last week.
"Bill O’Reilly came to visit the Camp Striker, Iraq dining facility Dec. 15. O’Reilly visited the Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and other units at the Baghdad base camp to thank them for their service, he said. O’Reilly had lunch at the dining facility (Comment: Was falafel on the menu?), greeting Soldiers and civilians alike before autographing hats and shirts emblazoned with the title of his latest book, “Culture Warrior.” He posed for photographs with Soldiers, as well."I wonder if O'Reilly gave the troops some advise on torturing the "enemy" and tactical movements?
Magazine Awards Annual Recognition to Internet Community
"Yes, you, along with everyone else in the "digital democracy" blew other contenders, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and President Bush, out of the water (though both made it into the magazine's list of "People Who Mattered.) In an age where MySpace, YouTube and blogs rule, Time chose to recognize the power of the common people who create and use content on the Internet."
Steve Young at The Huffington Post writes:
So, I'll be expecting my check in the mail and brass monkey award very soon. I rule!
Anyone who was anyone and everyone who wasn't: Time's Person of the Year.
George Bush. Check. Nancy Pelosi. Check. Donald Rumsfeld. Check. Mel Gibson. Check.
John Mark Carr. Check. Michael Richards. Check. Kim Jong Il. Check. Larry the Cable Guy. Check.
Dick Cheney. Check.
The guy Cheney shot. Check.
Every single member of the Duke lacrosse team, including the manager, who wasn't even at the party. Check.
Osama bin Laden, who hasn't even made as much as a threatening tape in months. Check.
O.J. Simpson, if he did it, even though he did, along with his unemployed editor. Check.
Bill O'Reilly, like he needed any help with promoting himself. Check.
Carrot Top, who's not even a good punchline for an industry joke anymore. Check.
Barack. Now in first name needed only class. Check.
Tom Delay who didn't have to redistrict Time's voting to get himself in. Check.
Ken Lay, and he didn't even have to live out the year to make it. Check.
My old friend Mel Kardos who really hasn't done much since sinking that basket to put us within 10 points of Carl Sandburg Junior High thirty years ago. Check.
Even Britney Spears made it. She alone might be palatable, but did they have to include Kevin Federline? Talk about turning the knife.
And, oh yeah. Whomever it is who decides that Federline's name or picture belongs in any entertainment rag. Check.