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0 comments | Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I actually wasted time and caught the countdown of Bravo's hundred funniest movies. It was a very disappointing list. I thought three of the best left off were Fletch, Parenthood, and Back to School. At least they included Rushmore, What About Bob?, Flirting with Disaster, Meet the Parents, Office Space, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda and a few other classics. But, they put far too many films by the likes of Sandler (his only funny movie is Anger Management and Jack Nicholson is actually funny, Sandler is the straight man), Owen Wilson, and Vince Vaughn. Vince Vaughn has yet to make a funny movie (Old School was watchable and made their list but it shouldn't have been anywhere near a list like this), and Owen Wilson was in Meet the Parents, but that is his only hilarious role that I know of (Wedding Crashers was one of the most overrated movies of all time). Overall they put a lot of movies on the list that actually are great movies to see, but don't deliver laughs like movies on an all time greatest list should. I mean Animal House was number one, there's humor in that movie and it is a classic, but I don't remember laughing much when I watched it.

0 comments | Monday, May 29, 2006

It turns out Bush's latest attempt at being honest, contemplative, and off the cuff, was actually a phony premeditated act. It's funny for me that Bush just happened to do this because I just saw one of the most cynical movies about politics, Wag the Dog. I don't know if it's a well known film or not (I had heard that phrase before but I didn't know of the movie), but the concepts that the movie presented make it essential viewing. It depicted how the public is manipulated by public relations and show business techniques that come out of Washington (and presumably the political process as a whole). It showed a very dark picture of how the game of Presidential politics is played. I have no idea how based in reality the movie is supposed to be (some of the parallels were obvious others seemed to be stretches), but it was a grave and eye-opening example of what the corruptions of power can do to sway people's perceptions of the world around them.

0 comments | Friday, May 26, 2006

I never intended to post about entertainment (TV, Movies, etc...) much when I started this blog. But probably one of the greatest things about the internet is the amount of surreal, and crazy stuff that's all over the world wide web. I've been google-ing around and looking at wikipedia for a number of old TV series and I'm finding it a lot of fun to read about some of them. Some neat ones I just looked at are Get a Life, The A-Team, Punky Brewster, and My So-Called Life. I've been thinking a bit recently about how especially television, but also to some extent movies have gotten very safe in present times. I mean if you think back to the premises of some older TV shows, how insane and unlikely they were was really key in what made them work as shows at all.

If you think about like Charles in Charge, Gimme a Break, Punky Brewster, Diff'rent Strokes, it's no wonder there are so few decent sitcoms on television today (look at Family Guy it's probably the funniest show on tv and pays homage to these type of older zany shows all the time). So I think the writers of television shows and film should really look back to yesteryear, and some of the unlikely scenarios and premises that made viewers suspend disbelief, kickback, and veg out with a particular program. This is probably why I've never gotten shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, or According to Jim; there's no dead parent, no adopted orphan, no African-American nanny; to start with there's nothing funny or at least unusual so it's that much harder for programs like this to peak my interest.

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Bush finally showing some second thoughts about the Iraq debacle. Also admitting how grave the Abu Ghraib scandal was.

0 comments | Thursday, May 25, 2006

The wonders of rockin' out with your cock out, can be good for the mind and body.

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According to wikipedia Natalie Maines did issue an apology after her comments. For me this basically negates those initial remarks. I just heard the Dixie Chicks on Howard Stern this morning, and that they are talking as if they stood up and spoke truth to power without backing down, rings hollow. Did Michael Moore apologize after his Oscar speech? Of course he didn't, and why would any critic of anything ever, ever do something like this?

When one criticizes those in power, it hurts the criticism if the speaker apologizes for the criticism not long after making the charges. I wouldn't want to be in the Dixie Chicks shoes (who are probably continually asked about this controversy), but much as many celebrities do about their personal lives, I think the Dixie Chicks should take the high road and say they don't want to speak about this controversy any longer. Perhaps, (as this article points out) they are so wedded to this controversy at this point, that they need to drive their marketability and profitability by using it, and they have no way out of talking about it until no one any longer has any interest in it. Maybe, they risk their whole livelihood by moving ahead with their career. This is the only thing I can think of that explains or gives any merit to their behavior. Otherwise they just look like their taking advantage of a situation that near-miraculously turned in their favor.

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This is an interesting article on some of the trials and tribulations that the Dixie Chicks have faced since one of them made a comment about being embarrassed that George W. Bush was from the state of Texas. It's my recollection that the Dixie Chicks were kind of embarrassed at the time Natalie Maines made the comment; but now the Dixie Chicks are being held up as courageous and strong willed critics of the Bush administration who had the vision to condemn Bush and the war before it was popular. I don't have time to research this at the moment, but the way the Dixie Chicks are coming out now as if they were so strong to stand by Natalie Maines's comments even in the face of a firestorm seems fishy to me.

0 comments | Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Confining people instead of dealing with the social problems that foment crime, has lead to the warehousing of far to many Americans.

0 comments | Monday, May 22, 2006

This looked like most other Zinn interviews (essential reading by all means, but he tends to focus on the same topics), but I found the ending quite unique. I had never seen Zinn pressed on religion like this before. I think there are a lot of lefty atheist materialists (I'm a lefty agnostic non-materialist myself) still around, I don't know for a fact that Zinn is one of them, but he didn't really seem to agree with where the interviewer wanted to go. She seemed to be looking for some support for the Jewish metanarrative from Zinn, and he seemed unwilling to give it to her. Overall, I couldn't figure out if Zinn was trying to say he personally is a materialist and these spiritual things are ok for others but not for him, or if he was trying to endorse a new age/eastern mysticism/god is everywhere in everything-type view. Whatever the point, it was interesting to see Zinn opine on these matters, even though I think the interview could have continued on much longer, and further clarified exactly where Zinn stands.

0 comments | Saturday, May 20, 2006

Vioxx not only causes strokes and heart attacks, but may be responsible for other permanent damage too.

0 comments | Friday, May 19, 2006

Nancy Pelosi seems to have checked her progressive credentials at the door, when she took over the position of minority leader of the House of Representatives. She seems to be choosing the path of least resistance over making the hard (in my eyes correct) choices on controversial issues. Some of her statements may be more about public relations than how she really feels (the polls show the Dems will almost certainly take over the House or Senate), but we won't know this until she takes over as majority leader. Apparently her plan is to antagonize the liberal base of the party (thinking they have no where else to go on election day), and woo middle of the road voters. It's a foolish plan in my judgement, and I know who I'm going to blame should the Dems not succeed next election day.

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Instead of some R and R (and maybe a little counseling) the military is drugging troops on the front lines, due to an overextended and overstressed force.

0 comments | Thursday, May 18, 2006

She started out eating soil as a small child, and now she can't go a day without eating and chewing at least a few stones.

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A spoof of what a reply from Dubya might look like.

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Before the Pentagon video of the alleged plane hitting the building came out, I was listening to a talk show and the host was wondering out loud if the government would photoshop in a plane to have the smoking gun they would like to have in order to silence their conspiracy critics. So this is what I expected to see when the video was finally released. However, what has come out; not only answers no questions, but shows almost nothing as well.

I've reviewed the critical frames of the tape four or five times, and all I can see is something that looks like the head of a missile come onto the screen, followed by the ensuing explosion. I'm not saying what hit the building was a missile or a plane, I'm just recounting what I observed on the video. What comes onto the screen is more missile than plane-like, and it certainly is not a smoking gun or be all end all in this debate. Over at Prison Planet they're saying that the whole missile hit the Pentagon theory, is actually a big psy-op being encouraged, up until a certain point where they will release smoking gun tapes clearly showing the plane (thus in the government's eyes debunking this conspiracy, and presumably all the others). Whatever the government or globalists/Illuminati (whoever's in charge) have in mind, this new video only contributes to new conspiracies, and questions; of course this might be exactly what they had in mind all along.

0 comments | Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hard to really tell a whole lot from this so far. It's looks like a pretty cursory review, I guess it's being passed on to the next level though. The right will certainly not be happy until they've tarred and feathered this courageous American intellectual. I should say I didn't like the essay Ward wrote about 'little Eichmanns' (although I don't think ignorance is equatable with innocence, and I've always been a believer in Hannah's Arendt claim that bureaucrats are just appendages of 'the beast' so to speak), but nonetheless I don't like the idea of making a great tragedy even more of one by inflaming a lot of people in their time of sorrow. If that's what Churchill really believes (and we have no reason to think otherwise) he should have waited years, instead of one day to write his controversial essay and put it out there.

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Pharmacist recommends non-drug treatment before pill popping.

0 comments | Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cindy continues her world tour, we last saw her with Hugo Chavez, now she's up in the icy north.

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I quite frankly agree with the right on this issue. I don't think the way for a nation to prosper is by flooding the labor pool with folks who are more than willing to work for poverty wages. This article makes and backs up this and many other points. Although, I don't think Thom Hartmann would agree that he agrees with the right (I know some of them really are xenophobic and/or racist), I do think I basically agree with the conservatives on this one (at least in the sense of stopping the illegal influx and attempting to deport as many of these folks as possible). And though I don't know the correct prescription to stem the tide of illegals (taking into account human rights, fairness, and other related concerns), I also believe that stopping the stream of illegals should be one of the top priorities for the federal government.

The dominant progressive position on this issue(at least the one getting headlines) seems to be one of tolerance and inclusion of illegal aliens into the country, no matter how many choose to enter the United States, no matter whether or not they are contributing to or taking away from the resources and wealth of the country (although I know of at least a few liberal talk hosts who stand differently). I simply don't agree that the way to a more socially just nation and world is to bring large swathes of people into the United States, the net result of which will be to create less worker protections and rights. The way to fight global poverty is not to bring all the impoverished citizens of the world into the United States. A United States with a strong middle class and improved labor rights (not to mention a more informed citizenry) will be much better able to fight imperialist war, neo-colonial intervention (which is a big cause of global poverty), and poverty.

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This is probably the best article circulating on the NSA scandal. It gets into the reasons other than fighting terrorism why these constitutional rights are being so egregiously violated.

3 comments | Monday, May 15, 2006

Ok, here's where I really expose the skeletons in my closet taste-wise; this is no holds barred must see movies anything goes no matter how lame others might view these pictures.

48 Hours
A Christmas Story
A Clockwork Orange
A Fish Called Wanda
A League of Their Own
About Schmidt
Abyss
Accidental Tourist, The
Action Jackson
Adaptation
Agronomist, The
Airplane
Amelie
American Beauty
American Movie
American Splendor
Anger Management
Animal House
Anything Else
Apocalypse Now
Armed and Dangerous
As Good As It Gets
Awakenings
Back to School
Back to the Future I, II, and III
Bad News Bears, The
Barton Fink
Basic Instinct
Batman
Batman Begins
Batman Returns
Being John Malkovich
Better Off Dead
Beverly Hills Cop
Big Lebowski, The
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
Blade I, and II
Blade Runner
Blue Velvet
Boys Don't Cry
Braveheart
Brazil
Breakfast Club, The
Brewster's Millions
Brokeback Mountain
Burbs, The
Cabin Boy
Caddyshack II
Christmas Vacation
Cider House Rules, The
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Crystal, The
Dead Man on Campus
Death Wish III (this is the only one I remember the earlier ones might be better)
Deer Hunter, The
Desperately Seeking Susan (a very underrated madcap film)
Detroit Rock City
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Doc Hollywood
Dogma
Dracula
Dragnet
Dream a Little Dream (I just found out out on imdb, there is a sequel to this movie!)
Edward Scissorhands
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Existenz
Eyes Wide Shut
Far From Heaven
Fargo
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Feds
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fight Club
Fire in the Sky (a movie about the only known alien abduction case where some one was gone for days)
Firm, The
First Blood
Fletch
Fletch Lives
Forrest Gump
Front, The
Game, The
Gangs of New York
Gattaca
Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters II
Ghostworld
Girl, Interrupted
Godfather Part I
Good Will Hunting
Goonies, The
Grand Canyon
Gremlins
Groundhog Day
Gummo
Happiness
Heathers
High Art
High Fidelity
Hoosiers
House of Sand and Fog
Housesitter
Hudsucker Proxy, The
I am Sam
Ice Storm, The
Igby Goes Down
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Insider, The
It's a Wonderful Life
Jackie Brown
Jacob's Ladder
JFK
Karate Kid, The
Karate Kid II, The
Kids
Kingpin
LA Confidential
Ladyhawke
Lethal Weapon I
Lethal Weapon II
License to Drive
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Little Monsters
Lorenzo's Oil
Lost Boys, The
Lost Highway
Love Liza
Lucas
Lulu on the Bridge
Lumumba
Magnolia
Major League
Man on the Moon
Man Who Knew Too Little, The
Mannequin
Matchpoint
Matewan
Matrix, The
Meet the Parents
Memento
Men at Work
Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Run
Money Pit, The
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Motorcycle Diaries
Moving
Mulholland Drive
My Blue Heaven
My Girl
Naked Gun, The
Naked Gun 2.5, The
Naked Lunch
New World, The
Next Best Thing (Madonna is the queen of underrated movies)
Nightmare Before Christmas
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Office Space
Owning Mahowny
Parenthood
Patch Adams
PCU
Pet Sematary
Philadelphia
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Platoon
Pleasantville
Point Break
Police Academy (whole series, except I think some of the later ones are really bad)
Poltergeist II (I like this better than I, the scary old man steals the movie)
Predator
Pretty Persuasion
Princess Bride, The
Princess Mononoke
Psycho
Punch Drunk Love
Pulp Fiction
Pumpkin
Quick Change
Rabbit Proof Fence
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rain Man
Reality Bites
Rear Window
Rising Sun
Roadhouse
Rocky IV
Rocky Horror Picture Show, The
Roger and Me
Rounders
Roxanne
Royal Tenenbaums, The
Rudy
Rushmore
Saving Private Ryan
Scent of a Woman
Sea Biscuit
Secret of My Success, The
See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Shawshank Redemption, The
Shipping News, The
Short Cuts
Short Circuit II (a zany movie)
Silence of the Lambs
Silver City
Simon Birch
Snatch
Sliver
Spaceballs
Speed
Spies Like Us
Splash
Star Wars IV
Star Wars V
Star Wars VI
Stoned Age, The
Storytelling
Summer School
Sunshine State
Talented Mr. Ripley, The
Tarnation (fucked up)
Taxi Driver
Terminator I and II
Tetsuo
Thelma and Louise
This is Spinal Tap
Throw Momma From the Train
Top Gun
Trading Places
Trainspotting
Transylvania 6-5000
True Romance
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Unbreakable
UHF
Uncle Buck
Untouchables, The
Vision Quest
War of the Roses, The
What About Bob?
What Dreams May Come
White Men Can't Jump
White Oleander
Who's Harry Crumb
Who's That Girl (like DSS a nutty movie, but I enjoy it)
Wildcats
Wild at Heart
Willow
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (not the Tim Burton version)
Witness
Wonder Boys
X
X Files, The
Young Guns I and II

There is some overlap with my previous list, but this cannot be avoided. The last list had only 100 entries, but I don't think that type of cap makes sense for this one. In fact, it could go on and on and on, I'm not so much sure these movies represent being better than any other movies; instead they're just the first ones that came to my mind.

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Hugo Chavez speaking his mind in Europe.

0 comments | Sunday, May 14, 2006

I largely agree with everything in this article, except for the part about Iran's internal affairs. I think Ahmadinejad would simply argue that the American interference in his country's affairs is responsible for many of the problems with his country that the West cites. I don't know enough about Iranian politics to say whether the West is fully responsible or not (I do know that America and Israel promoted fundamentalist Islam at the time socialism and leftist politics were making a lot of inroads in Muslim countries). I am one to argue that imperialism is alive and well today, and that the U.S. and the Western powers do hold responsibility for many of the problems in poorer coutries; however, once again I don't know the particular situation in Iran so I can't really break this down and explain it, though Ahmadinejad would no doubt ably do so.

2 comments | Saturday, May 13, 2006

Looking through top movie lists I really wanted to do a best comedies list. I'm going by what movies have laugh scenes that can be viewed time and again, and are still funny. This is probably highly controversial but here it is:

1)What About Bob?
2)Fletch
3)Meet the Parents
4)Office Space
5)Monty Python and the Holy Grail
6)Parenthood
7)The Burbs
8)A Fish Called Wanda
9)Flirting with Disaster
10)Summer School
11)Back to School
12)Naked Gun
13)Anger Management
14)Rushmore
15)Caddyshack II (sorry I think it's funnier than I)
16)Christmas Vacation
17)Trading Places
18)Ghostbusters II (I is a better movie, II is funnier in my opinion)
19)Fletch Lives
20)Detroit Rock City (metalheads only will get this one)

I would have also put The Stoned Age on this list, but I haven't seen it in quite some time. I think I actually only saw it once, but it put me in stitches. Probably another one, that you'd have to have had a metalhead phase to get. The Stoned Age and Detroit Rock City blow away Wayne's World (on a lot of people's lists) in my opinion. I also would have included at least one of Woody Allen's movies, but I noticed a lot of other folks put titles of his I haven't seen on their lists. I'd have to see Bananas, Manhattan, and a few others to decide which of his to put down.

0 comments | Friday, May 12, 2006

I've seen a few of these lists around, I'm not a film critic, and I don't know film history (I don't go back very far) but I like to think I have a pretty good gauge for movies, so here goes:

A Clockwork Orange
A Fish Called Wanda
About Schmidt
Agronomist, The
Amelie
American Beauty
American Movie
American Splendor
Anything Else
Apocalypse Now
Arlington Road
Beetle Juice
Being John Malkovich
Blade Runner
Blue
Blue Velvet
Bowling for Columbine
Boys Don't Cry
Braveheart
Brazil
Brokeback Mountain
Celebrity
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dancer in the Dark
Dead Poets Society
Deer Hunter, The
Detroit Rock City
Driving Miss Daisy
Election
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Existenz
Fargo
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fletch
Front, the
Gangs of New York
Godfather Part I
Ghostbusters
Ghost World
Gladiator
Glory
Goonies, The
Groundhog Day
Happiness
Ice Storm
Igby Goes Down
Insider, The
It's a Wonderful Life
Jacob's Ladder
Kids
Lost Highway
Love Liza
Lovely and Amazing
Lulu on the Bridge
Lumumba
Major League
Match Point
Matewan
Matrix, The
Memento
Monster
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Motorcycle Diaries
Mulholland Drive
Naked Lunch
New World, The
Owning Mahowny
Parenthood
Paris, Texas
Philadelphia
Platoon
Princess Mononoke
Pulp Fiction
Pumpkin
Punch Drunk-Love
Rabbit Proof Fence
Red
Roger and Me
Royal Tenenbaums, The
Rushmore
Short Cuts
Simon Birch
Snatch
Star Wars IV
Star Wars V
Star Wars VI
Sunshine
Take the Money and Run
Taxi Driver
Tetsuo
Thelma and Louise
Trading Places
Trainspotting
Untouchables, The
What About Bob?
White
Wonder Boys
World According to Garp, The
X

I might do another list, cause I realized not far into it, this is kind of my high brow list (with a few exceptions). I'm afraid to list some of my guilty pleasures like Roadhouse, Summer School, and UHF. Also I think there are a lot of indy movies I've seen over the years, that are on no one else's top tens, but were really rad movies... Lastly, for those interested there are a lot of top 100 lists here.

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If anyone really enjoys a lesser known blog, please let me know about it. I just put up a link to Talking Points Memo, and I was thinking "what the hell am I doing, as if it needs the publicity". But what I'm aiming for is linking to quality, without any other concerns. We all must admit TPM is one of the best, but what I'd really like to do is put links to new and lesser renowned blogs up.

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I found the Iranian president's letter (the original, a more readable version) rather compellingly, it looked more like something written by Fidel Castro or a Sandinista than a Muslim fundamentalist (I don't know that he is one, but I thought he was at least supposed to be a pretty devout Muslim). He talks a lot about poverty, the global community coming together to solve humanity's problems, and advancing science and technology in general. If more people would read it I think the Bush Administration's dismissal of the letter would make them look bad. Of course, as everyone knows one should not judge a book by its cover (and from what I've been reading instead of addressing policy this is what this guy does he writes these kind of letters and gives speeches as such), but it's a good letter, nonetheless; and should be read for what of value can be gleaned from it, even though the reader should be at least somewhat skeptical of what the author hoped to achieve in writing it.

0 comments | Thursday, May 11, 2006

When I first saw this article I hoped it would be about people hacking RFIDs to undermine their use for corporations and the government. But after reading this, I didn't get what all this hacking is all about. It seems it's to work out the kinks to perfect RFID for corporations and the government. Of course, the article also seems to imply there are 'rogue hackers' out there somewhere who are using these schemes. Anyways, hopefully these kinks won't get worked out, so this deeply diabolical technology will never come to the fore. I fear things aren't going to work out this way, but at the same time I would never underestimate the power of the people.

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This woman says she's a Democrat, but she might as well be a Republican strategist, judging from what Paul Campos has uncovered.

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Bush says, brother Jeb would make a great president. At least there's one semi-sane Republican in the party. I've never been a fan of Trent Lott, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

0 comments | Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It looks like this has been out there now for some time, I don't necessarily want to (or have to) post about everything that's up to the minute. Chances are if I missed something others did too.

0 comments | Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This is superb, I'd comment but it's very short and I'll just give away the punchline.

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I could go through these articles point by point, but that would take up more time than is necessary. I think Cohen and Thompson really miss two key points. The first is that Colbert is in character as a right-wing talking head while he makes his comments about Bush and his administration. So, from this point of view the real target of Colbert's performance is not Bush, but the right-wing propaganda machine and all its cohorts. It's fine to make the point that we actually know that Colbert's a liberal, and he means some of these things maliciously toward Bush, but it's unclear to me that Cohen and Thompson even understood enough of what Colbert was doing to take their arguments to that level. Moreover, in framing what Colbert was doing in this way, it becomes almost beside the point as to whether he was funny or not, and he was certainly not rude because O'Reilly or Scarborough would have given a presentation equal or greater to the accolades that Colbert ostensibly gave to Bush in his remarks.

The second point that Cohen and Thompson miss is the humor in the apparent rudeness of Colbert's performance.

Cohen:

The commentary, though, is also what I do, and it will make the point that Colbert was not just a failure as a comedian but rude. Rude is not the same as brash. It is not the same as brassy. It is not the same as gutsy or thinking outside the box. Rudeness means taking advantage of the other person's sense of decorum or tradition or civility that keeps that other person from striking back or, worse, rising in a huff and leaving. The other night, that person was George W. Bush.

Colbert made jokes about Bush's approval rating, which hovers in the middle 30s. He made jokes about Bush's intelligence, mockingly comparing it to his own. "We're not some brainiacs on nerd patrol," he said. Boy, that's funny.

Colbert took a swipe at Bush's Iraq policy, at domestic eavesdropping, and he took a shot at the news corps for purportedly being nothing more than stenographers recording what the Bush White House said.

Cohen never explains why rudeness isn't funny, and therein lies the reason his argument collapses in on itself. So what, if it was the rudest performance ever in front of a sitting president (and I have no idea if it was)? It was an act that was fully intended to be that way, and from my perspective that was a key contributing element to why it was such a riotously funny and inciteful performance. Moreover, Colbert's 'rudeness' did not express hate, but a willingness to laugh in the face of despair. That Colbert did not go up to the podium at that dinner and tell everyone to prepare for Armageddon, shows that humor and enjoyment were his goals, and not rudeness, hate, or any kind of emotion that will bring the country further into hopelessness.

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This piece documents some favorable developments vis a vis the campaign to oust Joe Lieberman.

0 comments | Monday, May 08, 2006

Jon Conyers argues he will bring oversight back to congress, not whatever the far right has in mind.

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I'm probably coming to this rather belatedly, but this is pretty funny. Jack Cafferty regularly makes this kind of commentary and he's one of the few in the mainstream media doing it. I don't know that much about Jack Cafferty, according to wikipedia he's anti-arab and he once referred to Air America as a communist network, but from what's I've seen of him he regularly makes inciteful, and candid commentary against the Bush/neo-facist crowd.

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It's hard to get a good feel for what's going on in Venezuela from these objective pieces. Though reading about Cuba is not much better, articles tend to ultra-pro or ultra-against Castro. Although this piece rehashed a lot that I already know about Chavez, it provided a lot of new interesting material as well.

0 comments | Sunday, May 07, 2006

West Point says its trademarked name cannot be used by anti-war activists.

0 comments | Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Bush Administration says our way or the highway is a more than adequate approach to diplomacy.

0 comments | Friday, May 05, 2006

I pretty much agree with all of this perspective. Also, I just watched a video of Bush's reaction to 7 minutes of Colbert's speech. I found it oddly entertaining, although it wasn't what I expected. It looked like Bush was trying to be a good sport, though, it did seem that this was probably not his favorite comedic performance. Bush gets kind of straightfaced and maybe even dour at times, and it looked like he shook his head disapprovingly two or three times; but other than that it looked like he was actually try to play along and laugh at the funny parts.

0 comments | Thursday, May 04, 2006

I just caught Diane Sawyer's interview with Mary Cheney, I thought it was pretty surreal. At one point I got the impression that Dick Cheney might not be against gay adoption (or least he doesn't take a stand against it), and also Mary Cheney said in 2004 she didn't feel she could vote anything but Republican. She certainly disdains the Republican positions on gay rights and gay issues, she doesn't seem to be a dyed in the wool Republican like the rest of her family (of course I'm aware of the existence of Log Cabin Republicans which I assume she is one of, but in the interview I got the impression she might not vote for at least strongly anti-gay Republicans). Anyway, nothing conclusive could be gained from the interview, but it's not everyday you see the gay daughter of one of the most right-wing Republicans speaking on television. I think Alan Keyes has a gay daughter as well, I wonder what an interview with her would be like.

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I started reading this because I thought it was an analysis of Colbert's performance. I started laughing after the first few lines, and just continued to read it, even though I've already seen the video. I'm not sure this is something I've done before (watched a speech and then read it), but I was amazed at how funny it was (maybe even moreso than watching it). This, of course, wasn't by any means a scientific analysis, but it seems to reinforce the view that the MSM has been cowed by Bush, and Colbert gave a splendid performance. I can't emphasize strong enough that just because the room he was working in didn't have the moxie to laugh, that this somehow invalidates the brilliance of his remarks. I don't want to belabor this point, but I doubt to many people read and viewed Colbert's act, so I just wanted to relay my experience.

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These takes really cut through how much of the timid MSM is framing Colbert's appearance at the correspondent's dinner.

0 comments | Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I was watching Tom Cruise on Regis and Kelly this morning (I never watch this show I just happened to read in the paper that he was going to be on), and I was surprised by the crowd reaction to Cruise on the show. There was a man who literally broke down into tears in the audience, and also when they introduced Cruise the camera cut to a man who was clapping in a frenzied manner as Cruise made his way onto the stage. The audience in general seemed elated, as were Regis and Kelly of course (Kelly was flirting with him zealously and almost unprofessionally all throughout the show, I'm fairly sure if was shtick but she was throwing herself at him), to be in the presence of Cruise.

Ever since the couch jumping incident I've been trying to tune into any interview of Cruise that I can, even though I don't like him as a person, and I can't think of a good movie he's been in since Minority Report. I'm interested in how he seems to have gone loony tunes, yet can hold it together enough to remain a big time movie star. The power this man has over the masses is astounding. I would have thought with the press he gets his career would have been ruined by now, but just the opposite seems to be true (if anything but his most rabid of fans were in the crowd at the Regis and Kelly program). The only thing I can think of is that others like him (or find him entertaining, as I said I don't like him as a person) for the same reason I do; which is that in today's climate of homogenized public relations and image promotion, with dull soundbite after trite soundbite on the evening and cable news programming, Cruise is a breath of fresh air. Even though Cruise may be as disingenuous as the next guy, he speaks and acts with a wild, undiplomatic, free-wielding, childlike style, that makes you think whatever's wrong with him, at least he's being himself. I think it's his ostensible honesty that endears him to people, his apparent ability to speak from his essence. Whatever it is, all I know is why I find his behavior interesting and entertaining, and I'm amazed at how much others do as well.

0 comments | Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How some in the media are spinning Colbert's performance as bombing, I don't know. The crowd in the room seemed to be less and less into what he was doing as he went on, but he was side-splittingly funny, nonetheless. Even if a barrel of rotted tomatoes was thrown on him, with the performance he gave, bombing is the last word that I would think one would choose to describe his act.

If a particular critic or writer honestly didn't find Colbert funny that's fine, to each his own; but instead what I think is going on here is fear of insulting the President and his sycophants (including those in the media that are his lapdogs) enveloping wide swathes of the media. If this indeed is what is happening then saying Colbert bombed is not only inaccurate, but it's disingenuous. At least if the Bush lapdogs in the media want to spin Colbert's performance to please their president, they should comment by simply twisting and tweaking the facts (which they are already so good at), and not resort to using terms that are egregiously and maliciously wrong; terms that reinvent events for a myopic politicized agenda. We already know all to well about the Bushies disdain for reality, but how anyone can or should accept this should not be up for debate. The reality was Colbert gave a very funny performance by most measures, and turning this truth in the fiction of 'bombing', is spin and propaganda pure and simple, not professional criticism or journalism by anyone's standards.

0 comments | Monday, May 01, 2006

Stephen Colbert fresh off grilling William Kristol, is now hurtling barb after barb at Bush, Fox News, and their spin in general.

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I just recently got to see Match Point, and I was very impressed with this film. I'm a big Woody Allen fan anyway, so I didn't expect to have any other experience; but with the reviews I had read prior to viewing this film I anticipated something very different than what I saw. I had the impression that since it wasn't a comedy, and didn't have an anxiety ridden neurotic Allen character that it would be almost completely other to Allen's oeuvre. This is definitely not what I saw, strangely the movie had intangibles that link it to Allen's other productions. The intellectualism of the characters was there, the fluidity and instability of human relationships was present, and also I got the distinct impression while watching many of the scenes in the film (even though they were drama of the highest caliber) that their intent was to be satirical or tongue-in-cheek about the characters and the situations therein. Overall it was a thriller unlike any I had ever seen (this is a tired genre I think), that had the trademark of Woody Allen all over it. It was the Allen-esqueness of the movie that made the film not the absence of his stamp or a lack of influence of his past production.