Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sharron Angle, RINO ***UPDATE***

Just like Scott Brown, Sharron Angle is turning her back on the Tea Party supporters who somehow got her elected in the Nevada Primary. Remember this, when she was just a candidate?

"...if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, 'My goodness what can we do to turn this country around? And I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."
Which is, as any NRA member will tell you, the primary reason that we have a right to bear arms. But now look at her!

Angle, in her first extended Nevada interview since winning the June 8 primary, said she was speaking broadly about the Constitution and her words about the Democratic leader were "a little strong."

The Republican nominee stopped short of an apology but said she no longer uses that phrase.

"I meant take him out of office, and taking him out of office is a little different," Angle said. "I changed my rhetoric."
Way to go, Benedict Arnold! Or should I call you Neville Chamberlain? Either way, we can't count on YOU to lead our armed insurrection against duly elected officials.

What kind of eerie Muslim hypnosis is Obama using on these Teabag candidates anyway?

***UPDATE*** You know who is rumored to be considering endorsing Reid over Angle? You won't guess. Seriously, it's the last people you'd think.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2nd Quote, For Those Who Were Enraged By the 1st One

Many of the big American stories now, the most-told stories, are apocalyptic. They’re stories about how the world is getting hotter, more crowded, and dangerous. They’re about arctic floods and disappearing resources and entropy and the world winding down. And nobody knows whether all this is fiction or not. But like many complicated stories about the future, there’s no way to predict which version is more likely. It’s just sort of a matter of preference. It comes down to which story do you like better? This is another thing I love about stories— they are wild and alive and always changing.
- Laurie Anderson

Quote of the Day

As an artist I work with lots of different media but mainly what it comes down to is storytelling. I tell stories. And I love stories. They’re illusions. You can make them up. You can get a lot of people to believe them. You can even get a lot of people to believe a story about how they’re in great danger and how there’s an evil despot with lots of hidden weapons who wants to kill you. I mean you can actually start wars with stories. That’s how magic they really are.
-Laurie Anderson

Monday, June 28, 2010

The East-West Rivalry Heats Up

How annoying - Russian spies display a particular East Coast bias when planting moles!

The alleged agents were trained by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and sent to the US to infiltrate policy-making circles and collect information, according to court papers filed in US District Court for the southern district of New York.

Some of them had been living in the country under false identities since the early 1990s, using codes and and engaging in advanced computer operations, including posting apparently innocent pictures on the internet which contained detailed texts, investigators say.

The FBI also reported observing older techniques, such as money being buried next to a beer-bottle marker and "brush pasts" in parks.

Five of the suspects will appear later in a Manhattan federal court - a couple known as "Richard Murphy" and "Cynthia Murphy", who were arrested in Montclair, New Jersey; Vicky Pelaez and a man known as "Juan Lazaro," who were arrested in Yonkers, New York state; and Anna Chapman, who was arrested in Manhattan, New York City.

Another three - Mikhail Semenko and a couple known as "Michael Zottoli" and "Patricia Mills" - will appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, after being arrested in Arlington, Virginia.

The final two people - a couple known as "Donald Howard Heathfield" and "Tracey Lee Ann Foley" - were arrested in Boston, Massachusetts, and will appear in a federal court in the city.

A suspect known as "Christopher R Metsos" remains at large.
So what about the flyover cites? What are they, chopped liver? And WHAT ABOUT ALASKA? And of course, L.A. We got lots of important industry here! Where's OUR Russians?

Well, that's why they're not a superpower any more.

Finding This A Little Disturbing?

Aloha Dave Weigel. Just like that Geico spokesman before him, Weigel expressed opinions in a private setting that the tea baggers didn't like, so they made these opinions public, then somehow got the guy fired. So essentially got a guy fired for THINKING BAD THOUGHTS.

The usual parade of sarcasm will not follow this time. I'm just a little scared that this strategy is succeeding. Come on man, we're Americans. Everybody is entitled to their opinions. Glenn Beck has said some stuff that's pretty crazy but he's not only still saying it on national TV every night, I'm GLAD he's there. I'd be glad to hear the Tea Party Activists decrying Dave Weigel. I just don't want to see Dave Weigel lose his job because they have free speech and not him.

And yes, I did use the term TEA BAGGERS in the first paragraph, per early Tea Party self-identification.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Wrong to Not Let Business Step On You

Congratulations, conservatives! Your drive over the years to ensure a more business-friendly Supreme Court has resulted in Jeffery Skilling getting a little break. How can American business thrive if they have to throw away one of the best tools in their arsenal - faking scarcity to drive up price? What's next, not allowing collusion? Having to tell the truth to investors about profits? Come on!

Meanwhile, why oh why are we making BP pay for that oil spill? Getting them to agree to put up money for reparations is exactly like what Hitler did. And notice BP wasn't forced by any laws to set up that escrow fund - they volunteered! How DARE we even ASK an oil company to PAY for DAMAGE?

And credit card companies - why should they have to limit their rates? All that does it give loan sharks an unfair competitive advantage. Until the banks and loan sharks can operate exactly the same way, this is a socialist nation.

How I long for 1911, the year the Triangle Shirtwaist factory was in business. 99 years ago, we didn't have all these regulations and people were better for it. Why do I have to pay taxes just to drive up the price of my meats and food to meet so-called "safety" regulations - that stuff is a lot cheaper in Mexico and Somalia and they don't have any health problems! Tell you what, if this doesn't change soon, I'm moving to Costa Rica like Rush Limbaugh did and starting a life there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We Hardly Knew Ye

Just like Oz or Barsoom, there is a parallel world out there. In some ways it is like our own, but in others it is a nightmarish surreal parody of it. For example, this guy.

What the hell is that, you are asking if you're an American. Well, my love of British television has lead me to subscribe to the Twitter feed of one Graham Linehan, creator of The IT Crowd and Father Ted and Black's Books, eccentric little gems of sitcom goodness. And no, Graham is not the guy with the papier mache head depicted above. However, one of his little side themes this last week was about that guy.  His name? Frank Sidebottom.

Sidebottom, from what I'm reading, was a cult comedy figure in the eighties. He had recently made the news again with a song about the World Cup Matches called Three Shirts On My Line. However, this good news was eclipsed when, in the last week, he died of complications from an operation to remove a tumor from his chest. To be more specific Chris Sievey, the creative genius inside the head, died and took Sidebottom with him.

So I'm reading this outpouring of appreciation and grief for Frank Sidebottom, a character that has absolutely no resonance for me because up until 4 days ago I had absolutely no knowledge of him. It's like the famous actor's nightmare, where you're on stage but you don't know the lines or the blocking. Except, of course, no one is expecting me to speak. Still, it is very odd to process nostalgia without any context. Sure you used to do it with your parents; but this is a guy who might have been MY cultural touchstone had I only been aware.

You know what? I bet the Brits would feel the same way about Larry the Cable Guy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Different Angle on The Clampdown

Teabagger-approved candidate Sharron Angle, prefers to not clarify the call for "second amendment remedies" to frustration with the government. Come on man! That's your a-list material! How will you beat Reid if you hide your fuse under a bushel?

Joe Barton Probably In Trouble For Apologizing for Apologizing Now

I was careful yesterday to mock only Joe Barton over his heartfelt apology to BP for making them volunteer to commit money to compensate victims of their oil spill. After all, as he said, he was only speaking for himself. Besides by the end of the day he was saying that he wasn't even doing that. Anyway, it's not like ALL Republicans feel that way.


– PAT BUCHANAN: “Barton made a very courageous statement in my judgment. … To have anyone stand up and even indirectly defend [BP] and say that they were a victim of a shakedown shows some political courage.”

– INGRAHAM: “I think Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point.”

– NAPOLITANO: “That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don’t have the authority to do. ”

– KILMEADE: “One Congressman calling the BP compsensation fund a ’shakedown,’ but does he have a point?”

– GINGRICH: “The president is directly engaged in extorting money from a company.”

– VARNEY: “It is Hugo Chavez-like, is it not? To sieze a private company’s assets.”
So I think it's fair now to say that the Republican position is that it's okay to destroy the economy of a region, as long as there's a potential to keep the price of oil down nationally. Though also they're against any sort of requirement to keep the price down. Or to sell the oil in the US.

But again, Obama isn't doing enough in this crisis.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rep Joe Barton, America's Friend

A Texas congressman is under fire for accusing the White House of engaging in what he called a "$20 billion shakedown" -- requiring BP to establish a fund to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican, apologized to the oil giant's CEO, Tony Hayward, on Thursday morning during a congressional hearing into the April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers, unleashed a flood of oil that has yet to be stemmed and has been widely called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

"I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation would be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown -- in this case a $20 billion shakedown," Barton said.

"I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure," the 13-term congressman said. "That… amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize."
Take that, Small People! BP shouldn't have to pay to fix this any more than I should have to pay someone if I accidentally drive my car into their living room.

To their credit most Republican lawmakers are distancing themselves from this position. Actually I'd credit their survival instinct in this case, but at least they're willing to go public. Even Boehner!

I have said since the beginning that BP ought to be held responsible for every dime of this tragedy... And they ought to be held accountable to stop the leak and get it cleaned up as soon as possible.
Democrats and the White House, of course, have been twittering away about this all morning. And someone in Texas is cutting together politcal ads right now that consist enitrely of footage of Barton apologizing to BP, leaving a place blank for whoever will be running against the guy the November.

By the way, persuading BP to commit a sum of money without a cap and without passing a regulation, avoiding a twenty year court battle like the Exxon Valdez situation... isn't this exactly the best-case scenario that Republicans would want out of this situation? Well boys?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Clampdown

My head is surrounded by emanata upon reading this exchange between Rand Paul and a reporter:

ALESSI: Would you vote for the extension of the Medicaid reimbursement increase that the governors, at least thirty governors want?

PAUL: Why don’t you submit your questions to us and we’ll look at them.

ALESSI: You’re not going to answer any questions in person?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a reason that certain politicians won't speak extemporaneously; they're afraid that they'll lose a majority of their followers. Sure no matter what you say you'll piss off someone, but to completely shut out spontaneous speech from your bag of tricks should be taken as a sign that you think you'll be elected because people think you're someone else.

I'm looking forward to hearing more interviews with the other Tea-Party-approved candidates.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BP At Work

Just in case you didn't see this going viral somewhere else.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pinched Nerve Viewing Diary

I suffered all last week with a pinched sciatic nerve. It's kind of like having a perpetual leg cramp. Anyhow, part of the strategy for dealing with this injury was to keep off my feet as much as possible when I could, during the weekend. I ordered groceries online and had them delivered, for example. But also I took advantage of my monster television in a big way. Below, a look at what I used to distract myself from the horrible, debilitating pain.


HEROES, Season 4 episode 1- Having lost track of Heroes shortly after season 3 started, I was pleased to see that a: series creator Tim Kring seems to have backed off the strategy of a major premise-shift per episode and b: this season involved creepy Carney folk. Of course as I watch I know that the show is already doomed (it was canceled last month) but that makes it better as far as I'm concerned. This stuff is just easier to take if there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

OMNIBUS: JAQUES TATI - Earlier in the week I took another crack at PLAYTIME, the world's most difficult comedy; the BD release of it includes an episode of a BBC documentary series when Tati is interviewed about his body of work. With the accent, that man was incomprehensible.

BAD BIOLOGY (2009, Frank Henenlotter, Dir) Kind of the best way to describe this movie, if there IS a way to describe it, is that it's a grind house take on the erotic thriller. Henenlotter has been out of action for a while but is known for BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER, two worthy additions to the exploitation genre. In this case, it's the story of a sex-obsessed woman born with 7 clitorises (is there even a plural for that?) and an accelerated reproductive system who is desperate to find a man to keep up with her unusual needs. Meanwhile across town, a boy has somehow developed his penis into an over-sized drug-craving monster that literally has a mind of its own. Like any good romantic comedy, they don't meet until the last act, and by then a considerable number of the people they know are dead or insane. The acting and dialogue are pretty good, much better than they need to be for a movie of this calibre.

MON ONCLE (1958, Jaques Tati, Dir) More Tati. As I had assumed, the director's work just prior to PLAYTIME is a lot more assessable and covers the same theme - it's about the way we construct gadgets and environments for ourselves that circumvent human nature, then fight with them. The central character is not M. Hulot (Tati himself) but an ultra-modern house of the future in which he is staying. Amusing, though it helps to be a silent movie fan. Especially Keaton.

GHOST WHISPERER - Stupid show, but it looks gorgeous in hi-def 240hz.

THE THIRD MAN -(1949, Carol Reed, Dir) Great film, needs more Welles.


ALTERED STATES (1980 Ken Russell, Dir) I had bought this movie as a package deal from a going-out-of-business video store and finally had the time to watch. It was exactly as I remembered it, a weird combination of dazzling and stupid. Good to see William Hurt playing at the top of his intelligence, the polar opposite of his part in BROADCAST NEWS. Chiefly this movie gets its energy from rubbing two sticks together: Paddy Cheyefsky, the extremely wordy writer of NETWORK and MARTY, and Ken Russell, the anything-for-an-image director of TOMMY and LIZTOMANIA. Every single frame you can feel them wrestling for control of the project. Wrestling nude in the tall grass, a la WOMEN IN LOVE.

HEROES SEASON 4 EPISODES 2-3 - Why not? Had time to kill.

EYES WIDE SHUT (1999 Stanley Kubrick, Dir) This gets better with every viewing; its a pity that every viewing takes 2 and a half hours. Still, always keep in mind that it is a comedy and you'll find stuff to enjoy in it. I'm also pleased to discover that my copy is the unrated international version, which did NOT have extra people matted into the orgy scene to block the sex. Somebody (Roger Ebert, probably) pointed out that doing this to change the rating from NC-17 ironically made it easier for children to see this movie; and simulated sex notwithstanding NONE OF IT should be seen by children. Above all else, this is a movie about a guy who gets so angry that his wife considered extramarital sex that he spends a night not having extramarital sex. Haha!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sarah Palin is One of Us!

Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill.
-Palin, on her Facebook page.

More regulation! More government control of business! Only the government can solve this problem! And when government can't solve it...

I learned firsthand the way these companies operate when I served as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC). I ended up resigning in protest because my bosses (the Governor and his chief of staff at the time) wouldn’t support efforts to clean up the corruption involving improper conflicts of interest with energy companies that the state was supposed to be watching.
When the going gets tough, get going!

Man, the more oil spills into the gulf, the leftier Sarah gets. By September she'll be pallin' around with terrorists.

I Have Seen The Future, and It's All Blurry

Primaries don't mean much. Honestly, you can try to read trends out of them but most likely, you'll be taking as wild a guess as you'd be if there weren't any primary. Case in point, yesterday. Jay Newton-Small points out that yesterday's "dirty dozen" primaries was supposed to prove the case that we Americans despise incumbents, but in fact we elected a lot of 'em.

Something I'm happy about - the Tea-Party-endorsed candidate won in Nevada, which means Harry Reid will be running against a probably unelectable opponent. Probably. And understand, I'm not thrilled with Harry Reid but, you know, Tea Party? Come on.

Here in California we have choice for Governer between Republican Meg Whitman (former eBay CEO) and Democrat Jerry Brown (former Governer) and as of now, I'm for Whitman. I dig eBay and Jerry Brown is just too weird. Presumably I have just blown the minds of my long-time readers.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Republican Platform Preview

Quote Of The Day - Even SC Republicans Demanding An Apology For This

“We already got one raghead in the White House. We don’t need another in the Governor’s Mansion.”

- Senator Jake Knotts, speaking on an internet radio talk show.

I first came across this quote via Graham Linehan, sitcom creator in Britain. The quote is so egregious that it has jumped international boundries, like an ocean-spanning wild-fire! Which is possible, now that I think of it, considering how flammable the Atlantic is nowadays.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bubbling Crude

I'm finding it hard to write about politics this week because I don't want to repeat all the same things. Besides, it's kind of a slow week in politics. Oil is muffling everything, and nothing gets through. I will say (again) that pinning the disaster or the slow reponse to Obama is fine UNLESS you're Republican, because it forces you to outline how you would have done it differently. If you're willing to argue that Obama should have seized BP's private property or taken over the company, fine. If you're willing to say that Obama should have rescinded the lease (granted during the Bush era) or held up drilling for a REAL envirnomental review to be done, great. Otherwise, you got nothin'. And if you're a Republican telling me I should feel this way, why should I listen to you? You are FOR BP.

Sarah Palin, whose Twitter feed I finally subscribed to yesterday, tweeted this:

Extreme Greenies:see now why we push"drill,baby,drill"of known reserves&promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?
6:07 PM Jun 1st via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Poor little greenies!

Yes, Sarah been pretty consistant about this, alllll the way back to late March.

What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide. And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.
Haha! Gotcha! Wow, it's easier than it looks! Still you got to hand it so her. It's hard to clarify a three word slogan with a 140 character tweet. Of course she'd leave some stuff out. Maybe she ought to do more interviews!