Monthly Archives: June 2007

Question of the Day

The American Film Institute once again ranked Citizen Kane as the #1 movie of all time, the same as they did in 1998.

Do you agree? If not, what film would you rate as the #1 film of all time…so far?

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Science and Ideology

As far as I know, I don’t have anyone in my immediate family whose life or health could be helped by embryonic stem-cell research. Gratefully, my parents are as healthy as can be wished for people of their age, and as far as I know, my siblings do not suffer from any debilitating illness where such research holds the promise of a cure or a treatment. I lost a brother-in-law to cancer five years ago this week, though, and listening to the president as he vetoed — for the second time in his administration — legislation that could expand the research and the reach of science to treat or cure such destructive diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and to hear him carry on about how he believes it is unethical to take human life when it is in the form of an embryo the size of a period — yet has no problem waging an unprovoked war against a country that never attacked us — fills me with a sadness and a disgust that is far out of proportion for someone whose life isn’t directly affected by the research the president sees fit to discard. It is the possibility and likelihood that at some point a life — either my own or someone I love — will be affected that makes me angry.

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Rape is Hilarious: Jerry Seinfeld Edition

And not just hilarious, but sophisticated:

Jerry Seinfeld is busy building buzz for his “Bee Movie.”

… “Bees have the only perfect society on earth,” he told us at a sneak preview of his film. “Other insects are just kind of crawling around. They don’t have the sophistication of the bee.”

“They have no crime, they have no drugs, they have no rape. A little rape, but it’s not that bad.”

Before we move on, I want to note three things: 1. This is a children’s movie he’s promoting, so general WTF to rape jokes. 2. Seinfeld anthropomorphized bees and equated their society with our own the moment he noted they have “no crime” etc. Any claim that he was “only talking about bees” is bullshit. 3. I heard this line before, when I watched him receive the “Comedian” award on HBO. At the time, it kind of made my skin crawl, but I thought it seemed like an ad-libbed line and figured maybe he didn’t realize how it sounded. It happens. In other words, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t think it was “a bit.” Chalk it up to the fact that I’m a huge Seinfeld fan reluctant to condemn a guy I admire(d), and/or internalized fears about being seen as humorless and over-reactionary. They’re both just as applicable as my general willingness to try to be fair. It was fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now it’s fair to call foul.

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Cheney To Waxman: Eat Me.

Don’t take my word for it. Read for yourselves:

The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”

That’s pretty much a double-dog dare if I ever heard one. It goes against everything that we and the children not left behind have learned about this government, not to mention Article 2 of that irrelevant Constitution. Take a trip with me below the fold and I think the issue will be come clearer.

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Ann Althouse*

*But Were Afraid To Ask (with apologies to Dr. David Reuben)

What does Ann Althouse want?
In 1925 in a conversation with Marie Bonaparte Sigmund Freud famously asked “What do women want?” If he were alive today, he might indeed have asked, “What does Ann Althouse want?” and had just as much difficulty figuring out the answer.

What did she say about Hillary Clinton’s latest campaign video that so riled the liberal blogosphere?
Most people thought the video was an amusing and innocuous send-up of the last Sopranos episode. But to Althouse, the video was actually a train rushing headlong into a dark tunnel of Freudian sexual imagery: “Bill says ‘No onion rings?’ and Hillary responds ‘I’m looking out for ya,'” Althouse writes. “Now, the script says onion rings, because that’s what the Sopranos were eating in that final scene, but I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion that, coming from Bill Clinton, the ‘O’ of an onion ring is a vagina symbol.” She goes on to say that the carrots Hillary serves instead are actually chopped up phallic symbols.

That’s very, uh, interesting. So let’s subject Ann Althouse’s blog to Freudian analysis, since it seems only fair. Is there anything about her blog that corresponds to an onion ring?

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Live free, die hard, evade taxes

Ed and Elaine Brown: Not down with the whole Sixteenth Amendment thing. Big on Jimmy Cagney impersonations, however.

Ed Brown warned authorities they wouldn’t take him alive: “We either walk out of here free or we die.”

Meanwhile, their supporters certainly make a rational case for the Browns’ civil action.

Sitting in lawn chairs around the Browns’ long gravel driveway, the couple’s supporters rail against Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Federal Reserve, the Vatican and the mainstream media.

Somehow, the Trilateral Commission eludes blame.

Whatever happens next, the Browns are going to pay, and it will be their own fault. Freemasons notwithstanding.

(Cross-posted.)

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I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl That Married Medium John…

My hero for today is Elizabeth Edwards, for daring to light up hatman:

Her comment came in response to a Drudge item quoting a local newspaper account that suggested that the Edwards’ nine-year-old child supported Hillary, not her father.

Election Central has learned that Elizabeth put a comment in the comments section of another Web site’s post debunking the Drudge item.

Elizabeth claimed the daughter was joking and mocked Drudge as follows:

“It was Emma Claire, who pointed to a Hillary pin slyly and then, smiling pointed to her father. A nine-year [old] sense of humor — you would have thought Matt Drudge would have been able to pick up on that.”

Come now; I think we all know Emma Claire is smarter than Matt Drudge.

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Read-Ems

Erica Barnett: The Stranger’s Gay Male Pride Issue

Joseph Hughes: More from the “progressive” Air America

Pam Spaulding: Mitt’s Utah finance chair slapped with abuse, molestation lawsuits

Rock_Ninja: Oh, What A Tangled Interweb We Weave…

As always, please feel free to use as a blogwhoring thread.

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Ashcroft tells the truth; Truth, once again, has anti-Bush bias

Let me tell you something I thought would never happen.

I never thought in a million jillion gazillion years that I would say, “Thank the Baby Jebus for John Ashcroft.”

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft confirmed the Bush administration was sharply divided over the legality of President Bush’s most controversial eavesdropping work, the chairman of a congressional panel said Thursday.

“It is very apparent to us that there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president’s surveillance program,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Ashcroft.

That would appear to contradict Gonzo’s Congressional testimony that there was never “significant disagreement within the administration over the program.”

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Quote of the Day

“Proud you’re here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it’s over.”President Bush, to Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, a New Orleans jazz band comprised of black musicians, on the occasion of their providing the entertainment at a barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House, the theme of which “was Mardi Gras, so everybody could enjoy memories of New Orleans being destroyed by the Bush Administration and then pretty much left in that same condition years later.”

Don’t get mad! Telling the negroes to “pick up all the trash” is hilarious! What—don’t you have a sense of humor???

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News from Shakes Manor

As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Shakes and I are addicted to So You Think You Can Dance, mainly because it’s got lots of just great, compelling, beautiful dancing on it by real dancers, but also because it provides us with the opportunity to guess how long it would take our graceless fat asses to learn each routine, and whether we’d actually die trying. It’s truly pathetic how much we love this show, and it has Mr. Shakes convinced—convinced!—that we are going to take dance lessons. He’s got it in his head that it would be tootally awesoome if we could whip out an unexpected paso doble at a wedding some day. Well, yeah, that would be awesome, but we’re both inelegant klutznutz, he’s got no rhythm, and I have nerve damage that’s left me with a numb foot. Walking is sustained performance art for me, and he wants me to samba. Sure.

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This modern age

A technological first for me: Being privy – as it were – to a mobile phone conversation in an adjoining stall as I conducted urgent business in my own stall.

What made the experience really odd was the accompanying low level sound of a computer hard drive grinding away.

The gentleman was obviously a strong proponent of multitasking.

The caller finished his conversation and hung up before I could give my toilet a good loud flushing. I tried to hurry, but some things just can’t be rushed.

(Cross-posted.)

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Sanctity Of Life: Oh, Really?

Right on the heel of W’s affirmation for the sanctity of embryo life comes this:

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military announced the deaths of 14 American troops, including five killed Thursday in a single roadside bombing that also killed four Iraqis in Baghdad…

…A rocket-propelled grenade struck a vehicle in northern Baghdad about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, killing one soldier and wounding three others, another statement said.

Four other U.S. soldiers were killed and one was wounded Wednesday when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in a western neighborhood in the capital, the military said separately.

Southwest of Baghdad, two U.S. soldiers were killed and four were wounded Wednesday when explosions struck near their vehicle, according to a statement earlier in the day.

Two Marines also were killed Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, the military said…

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“Good Americans” – The Plot Sickens

The Washington Post is finally catching up to the story that I posted on Monday about the political correctness in the Department of Justice.

Karen Stevens, Tovah Calderon and Teresa Kwong had a lot in common. They had good performance ratings as career lawyers in the Justice Department’s civil rights division. And they were minority women transferred out of their jobs two years ago — over the objections of their immediate supervisors — by Bradley Schlozman, then the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Schlozman ordered supervisors to tell the women that they had performance problems or that the office was overstaffed. But one lawyer, Conor Dugan, told colleagues that the recent Bush appointee had confided that his real motive was to “make room for some good Americans” in that high-impact office, according to four lawyers who said they heard the account from Dugan.

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New York Pride Parade Suffering

Here is a good article from June 19 in the New York Observer about the dwindling popularity of the New York City gay pride parade. Different people are quoted, giving their takes on why pride parades in general are suffering, but the major consensus seems to be that gay people are more assimilated into mainstream society now and so the parade has become less of a big deal and meaningful event. Many city dwellers in their mid-20’s to early 30’s are quoted, and I can’t help think how smug their comments sound. Their “so what” attitude, flippance, and disregard for the history of the gay rights movement – and ignorance of the struggles we still face as a nation (maybe because they’re cloistered in their urban utopian bubble) – kind of disgusts me.

This quote is a good example. A man named Nick Shapland is quoted. He is described as a “tall, well-tanned and skinny 22-year-old with carefully tousled brown hair” – gag! “Gay Pride is boring,” he said. “Maybe in the 60’s, it was fun when you’re like, ‘Fuck you! Fuck you, I’m gay and you’re an asshole,’ you know? Then you fast-forward from 19-whenever—whenever the gay revolution was, I don’t know, I’m not a scholar—things go on and get kind of boring.” Not a scholar, indeed.

This article calls to mind the issues I addressed in my blog about Gay Pride earlier in the month.

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Keepin it 4reel!

I absolutely LOVE stories like this. Forget Suri, Pilot Inspektor, Apple, or other kooky celebrity baby names – a New Zealand couple wanted to name their son “4real” after seeing an ultrasound and being struck by the reality of situation. Heavy, dude! They were totally pwn3d by the NZ Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage, though, because numerals are not allowed in names. Aw come on, they’re just trying to keep it real! Don’t be hatin’! The Registrar-General has agreed to review their case, but if they cannot get their first choice, they’re going to settle for “real.” A lower case name? How k.d. lang! This reminds me of a story of a couple Melissa told me about who had twins and named one “Dude Gnarly” and the other “Gnarly Dude.” I think one was a girl, too. Brilliance, I tell you!

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Sign Me Up!

One ticket for the fast train to Loopyland, please:

The European Space Agency (Esa) is seeking volunteers for a simulated human trip to Mars, in which six crew spend 17 months in an isolation tank. …The 500-day duration is close to the minimum estimated timescale needed for a human trip to the Red Planet.

…Once the hatches are closed, the crew’s only contact with the outside world is a radio link to “Earth” with a realistic delay of many minutes. …The Earthbound astronauts will have to deal with simulated emergencies and perhaps even real ones. But, while Esa says it will do nothing that puts the lives of the simulation crew at unnecessary risk, officials running the experiment have made it clear they would need a convincing reason to let someone out of the modules once the experiment had begun.

In all seriousness, if Mr. Shakes and I did something like that together, we’d be as happy as two pigs in shit. As long as we could bring along Scrabble and condoms.

[H/T to Christopher Tassava: “I predict this experiment ends in a homicide.” Ha.]

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Paulose Staffers Applaud Her Critics

One of the subplots of the US Attorney Scandal is the ongoing debacle going on Minnesota, where Rachel Paulose, a young, very conservative, very-well-connected-to-Monica Goodling attorney succeeded Tom Heffelfinger.  Heffelfinger was likely pushed out due to an unwillingness to pursue then-State Attorney General Mary Kiffmeyer’s quest to invalidate the use of tribal IDs in state elections.  Paulose, for her part, has come under fire for her management of her office, to the point that four members of her senior staff took voluntary demotions in protest.

Now my friend and colleague Eric Black, writing for Minnesota Monitor, has a tidbit that indicates Paulose’s relationship with her staff hasn’t improved:

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Christine Daniels: A Woman in Progress, a complete human

Waking up to read about the recent remarks made by homophobe Republican Florida State Rep. D. Alan Hays (“I had a cousin who died of AIDS. He was queer as a three-dollar bill. He had that homosexual lifestyle and deserved what he got.”) it’s easy to begin the day feeling that so many in the U.S. won’t be happy until we’re all living in caves and smacking each other with sticks.

And then I read the work of L.A. Times sportswriter Christine Daniels and feel quite a bit better about where humanity is heading.

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Missing Soldier’s Wife Threatened With Deportation

This strikes me as one of those stories that, once having had the bright light of media shined in its direction, will be resolved fairly. But my perception about such things was shaped back in the days when low-level bureaucrats, ever the sticklers for rules, were encouraged by a compassionate (and easily embarrassed) government to break those rules for the little guy when fair was really fair. Now we have a government that is utterly shameless and only breaks rules for its own benefit, while it tyrannically enforces adherence by everyone else, no matter how ridiculous. So I’m not as sure how this will turn out as I once was. Anyway:

While the U.S. military searches for a soldier missing in Iraq, kidnapped by insurgents possibly allied with al Qaeda, his wife back home in Massachusetts may be deported by the U.S. government.

Army Spec. Alex Jimenez, who has been missing since his unit was attacked by insurgents in Iraq on May 12, had petitioned for a green card for his wife, Yaderlin Hiraldo, whom he married in 2004.

…Her attorney is seeking a hardship waiver, which so far the government won’t grant.

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