31 December 2006

Happy New Year!

Spending the rest of the day enjoying the company of good friends for dinner, cocktails, and a little dancing. Have a safe and happy holiday. I'll return tomorrow or Tuesday.

HAPPY 2007!

As 2006 comes to a close...

...American military fatalities in George's misguided and mismanaged war have reached 3,000.

Upon hearing the news of the 3,000th death, the President said:
The sacrifice has been worth it.
Sending America's brightest and youngest to die on the wings of lie is not worth it, Mr. President.

And you should be ashamed of yourself.

30 December 2006

Half a Trillion Dollars & 3,000 American Lives

I'll have a little more to say about the execution of Sadaam Hussein after the New Year holiday, but for now I'll let Jesus' General take it:
George W. Bush
The Lord's Chosen

Your Majesty,

There is only one course left for you to take now that Saddam bin Laden is finally dead. You must give a speech in prime time detailing your long battle against this man. Your father should be made to kneel down beside you as you address the nation, so that once and for all, the world will know that you are a better man and a greater leader than him. Saddam's dead, naked body should be draped over the podium as you speak, and once you've finished, you should have your way with it to demonstrate that you've achieved the only thing you ever really wanted to accomplish in Iraq, the total domination of the man your father couldn't control, not with weapons sales or war. Then, you should bring our troops home.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

29 December 2006

Pedj & Kelly

YouTube is filled with these types of things...shirtless frat boys lip-syncing and being absolutely narcissistic (click here for one of the more popular examples). But I had to post this one...

These French cuties are "straight," according to Steph and Alek. Yeah...umm...no.

Edwards 2.0

As expected former Senator John Edwards (Democrat-NC), his party's nominee for vice-president in 2004, has officially entered the race for president in 2008.

Forgive me if my excitment level is a little low. Edwards didn't do anything for me in 2004 and does less for me now. Maybe I'm missing something, but his tremendous emphasis on the "two Americas" thing - while extremely admirable - is not going to win him the White House, especially in this day and age.

AP Poll: Bush Is the Worst Villain of 2006

25% of respondents picked President Bush as the top villain of the year in a new Associated Press poll.

Number 2: Osama bin Laden (8%)
Number 3: Saddam Hussein (6%)
Number 4: The President of Iran (5%)
Number 5: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (2%)
Number 6: The Devil (1%)

Me thinks this is a poll in which Mr. Bush would rather not do well.

Putting it into perspective, as always, Mr. Stephen Colbert:
But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

28 December 2006

Ford's Civility

Quote of the Day:
...we in Michigan hold Jerry Ford in affection and esteem for his lifetime of service, including 13 terms in the House of Representatives. Over time we will honor his memory in many ways, but one immediate way is to return the Gerald Ford quality of civility to the nation’s capital.
-Senator Carl Levin (Democrat-MI), paying tribute to former President Ford, who represented Michigan during those 13 congressional terms.

Sen. Levin's wish for a more civil Congress may come true when the Democrats take control of both chambers next week. According to the New York Times:
[After years of] Republican abuse of Congressional power and procedures, the incoming majority has promised to restore House and Senate practices to those more closely resembling the textbook version of how a bill becomes law: daylight debate, serious amendments and minority party participation.

Democrats assuming control on Jan. 4 said they also wanted to revive collegiality and civility in an institution that has been poisoned by partisanship in recent years. In a gesture duly noted by Republicans, the incoming Speaker of the House...Nancy Pelosi, offered [outgoing] Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who is remaining in Congress, the use of prime office space in the Capitol out of respect for his position.
And with a little luck and lots of hard work, this newfound civility will clear out the toxic air that has hung over our government since 1995, and bring back the days when Gerald Ford was House Minority Leader; when Republicans and Democrats battled during the day, and in the evening - after work - enjoyed one another’s friendship.

The Movies of 2006

The best movie I saw this past year was, far and away, Paul Greengrass' brilliant and compassionate film "United 93."

The movie simply watches events as they unfold on the morning of September 11, 2001. It doesn't point fingers. It doesn't draw any conclusions. Greengrass' decision not to use mega-stars for this story was deliberate; as was the decision to keep away from the Hollywood formula of portraying the characters as people with histories and sappy backstories. And that is what makes the staggering horror of the final moments of this film so monumental. You are right there with these passengers as they fight the ultimate fight to overtake their hijackers. American Everymen emerging from the chaos of that unbelievable September morning with courage and heroism.

This film is masterful and heartbreaking...and it honors the memory of the passengers and crew...those wonderful, brave angels.

Worst movies of 2006: "Flyboys," a box office bomb about the American men who volunteered for the French as aviators in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I. The movie's battle sequences are decent enough, but the story is rather empty headed.

And, "The Good Shepherd." The late movie critic Gene Siskel used to say that a movie was especially bad if you left the theatre saying "I will never get that time back." And "The Good Shepherd" was an abysmal 167 minutes of clumsy and tedious filmmaking that had me ready to scratch my eyes out.

Biggest disappointment of 2006: "Poseidon." Wolfgang Petersen, the director of the seafaring classics "Das Boot" and "The Perfect Storm," had a tremendous opportunity to update "The Poseidon Adventure," Paul Gallico's 1969 best selling tour de force, and he fell short.

The special effects were tremendous (the opening sequence of the film is nothing short of amazing - watch most of it here, and when you do remember that the ship is completely computer generated) and the set designs were tremendous, yet Mark Protosevitch's screenplay was absolutely rotten. Had Petersen and Warner Bros. simply translated Gallico's original human stories into the script, they would have had an excellent film. Instead, they took the book - and the 1972 film - and turned them into bare bones minimalist schlock.

My recent review of the '69 novel can be found here.

The Shitty Drivers of Alameda, Part 2

The drivers of Alameda, California continue to drive like teenagers who flunked drivers education class.

This time it was a charcoal grey Lexus ES300, with the California license plate "NYSLEX." The rather hefty hoo-hoo behind the wheel made a left turn onto a major thoroughfare while the light was still red.

She followed that up at the next intersection with another left turn...from the RIGHT turn lane.


27 December 2006

President Gerald R. Ford, 1913 - 2006

President Gerald Rudolph Ford, the nation's 38th chief executive, has died in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 93.

Nominated by President Nixon in 1973 to replace Spiro Agnew as Vice-President, Ford was elevated to the presidency in August 1974 when Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, thus making Ford the only president in U.S. history not to have been elected to the office or to the vice-presidency.

He later pardoned Mr. Nixon, an act that surely led to his defeat in the 1976 election, where he was able to turn a 25-point deficit in polling into a 2-point loss on Election Day. In fact, despite that 50% to 48% popular vote loss, a switch of just 23,182 votes in Ohio and Wisconsin would have given Ford the presidency in the Electoral College.

Ronald Reagan would flirt with the idea of making Ford his running mate in 1980, but eventually George H. W. Bush would join the Republican ticket that year.

Ford and his 1976 opponent, Jimmy Carter, would go on to become best friends. Carter called Ford "one of the most admirable public servants and human beings I have ever known."

The nation begins a period of mourning, and state funeral arrangements are pending.

26 December 2006

Clumsy and Tedious

Went with Brent and the in-laws to see "The Good Shepherd" on Christmas Eve.

Don't waste your time. It's too long...167 minutes without suspense and without intrigue (and this is a SPY movie!). The screenplay is abysmal, bouncing unevenly between the Bay of Pigs fiasco and World War II.

The story is worth being told (the rise and fall of a CIA operative), but this is a clumsy, tedious effort and I highly suggest you bypass it. About an hour in I was ready to stab my eyes out.

One-and-a-half stars.

23 December 2006

Happy Hana-Kwanz-mas!

We're off to the foothills of suburban Sacramento for the holiday weekend. (Again...martinis and valium, anyone?)

Back to the blogosphere on Tuesday.

Happy Hana-kwanz-mas!

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shakin' in Berkeley

I returned from my Saturday morning coffee/paper run when Brent asked, "Did you feel the quake?" I hadn't (I was driving). But it's the THIRD small quake we've had since Wednesday. It was a 3.7 tremor centered right across the bay in Berkeley.

Last night - after dinner with friends - Brent, Chloe, and I were sitting here relaxing before bed when all of a sudden a big jolt shook the apartment. Turns out, it was a 3.7 quake, centered right across the bay in Berkeley.

And on Wednesday evening, there was another quake. And it, too, was a 3.7 quake centered right across the bay in Berkeley.

I don't know if the Hayward fault is just letting off little bits of steam, or if it's getting ready to blow. But if it is the latter, I'm glad we're heading to Sacramento for the weekend.

Traveling Melons

My dear friend Gil is off to Chicago for the holidays. Travel safe, and enjoy plenty of that delicious shawirma, mi amigo. I'll see you next week.

Happy Hana-Kwanz-mas!

"...two strong legs to guide him"

During everything that's been happening these last 2 or 3 months, I've had (for some reason or another) this classic Los Lobos track running through my head.

From 1984, your Song of the Day is the stellar "Will the Wolf Survive?" by Los Lobos:

Peaceful Morning

The past two months have been uber-stressful. For me, work has been hella-busy and I've been trying to get through it all while battling a 9-week cold/flu/cough that has me at my wits end. Brent's company was on the selling block, with the potential for unemployment hanging in the air (thankfully, he found out yesterday that he still has a job). And, what lays ahead this weekend won't be a cake-walk either (matinis and valium, anyone?).

When I woke up this morning it was quiet and peacful here in the apartment. The only sounds I could hear were Brent and Chloe sleeping and breathing. I layed there for a half an hour and just took it all in - my partner and my daughter, the love of my life and our pride and joy.

It was the most peaceful moment I've had in months.

22 December 2006

When friends go on a New Years cruise...

Bon Voyage!

How to Get Through the Holi-daze

Quote of the Day:
Christmas mornings for me are all about martinis and valium.
-Wilhelmina Slater, as played by Vanessa Williams, on "Ugly Betty."

Amen, Sista Wilhelmina. Amen!

The New 'Harry Potter' Book...

...will be called "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." The title was revealed yesterday on author J.K. Rowling's website in the form of a hangman puzzle.

Much speculation surrounds the final book in the series, mostly around whether or not the title character will perish. But, as one Brit put it:
The title is a hoax to give the impression that Harry Potter will come to a nasty end - the real title of the book is "Harry Potter And The Lovely Rainbow-Coloured Munchkin Rabbits Of Bibbledy Bobbledy Lane."
Rowling's publisher did not indicate a release date.

Baby Steps

New Jersey takes a step in the right direction: Gov. Jon Corzine signed a civil unions law yesterday that gives gay couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

The law takes effect February 19.

21 December 2006

Holiday Picture of the Day

With apologies to snowman fanatic, Joanne Winters.

Delusional and Criminal

That's what MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle called President Bush after yesterday's miserable press conference. On the network's Scarborough Country last night, Barnicle said:
We have a President of the United States who is isolated. He‘s delusional. He is stubborn. The deaths in this war right now...the deaths of American soldiers verges now on the criminal. And I don‘t think that‘s too strong a statement. It verges on the criminal.
Regarding Bush's refusal to listen to the Joint Chiefs, Scarborough said:
Well, this is uncharted territory...I want you, if you will, to imagine, how would Republicans have responded if President Bill Clinton had ignored the advice of all of his Joint Chiefs, his top general in the war zone, his former Secretary of State, and 80 percent of Americans? Is it not a stretch to say that many Republicans would have considered impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton if this situation were identical?
Ain't that the truth!

Right after last month's elections I said the new congress shouldn't over-reach on impeachment. But it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the new congress should keep impeachment on the table. It is after all a part of the Constitution's remedy to rid us of an incompetent president.

And, my friends...George W. Bush is incompetent in spades.

Report: U.S. Let bin Laden Get Away...Twice

A new report indicates that NATO troops had Osama bin Laden in rifle range twice - once in 2003 and again in 2004 - and in both instances the U.S. did not give approval to take him out.

Now, imagine for a moment an alternate universe in which President Carter, or President Clinton, or a President Gore had let the master mind behind the murders of 3,000 U.S. civilians remain free to roam the planet. Those presidents would have had their asses kicked by the Republicans, and for that matter by a huge majority of Americans.

Worse yet...think how things would have turned out had Hitler remained free and in charge of Germany; or how they would have turned out had President Roosevelt went to war with Mexico in 1941 instead of Germany. FDR would be at bottom of the heap on the lists of the best American leaders, and the United States would probably no longer exist.

Make no mistake: bin Laden remains a free man due to President Bush's warped sense of how this war should be fought (Iraq? Sadaam Hussein?). His leadership - or significant lack thereof - have left the United States reviled by the rest of the world and, as a result, significantly less safe than we were in the fall of 2001.

20 December 2006

Ron and Carol

I was boppin' around YouTube this evening and came across this news intro from 1985. It's from the NBC-owned station in Chicago (WMAQ-Channel 5), back in the early days of Ron Magers' and Carol Marin's highly successful run on the station's 10PM newscast.

They left the station in protest in 1997 when station management attempted to bring in Jerry Springer to do commentary, but to this day they remain the best anchor team ever to grace television news. Today's "bubble-headed bleach blondes who come at 5" would do well take some lessons.

You can see the first few minutes of an actual 1989 newscast here.

And the 1985 intro is below.

Update: A reader from Los Angeles asked if Ron Magers is any relation to Paul Magers, the lead anchor at KCBS-Channel 2 in L.A. Yes, they are brothers.

And They Wonder Why We Laugh At Them, Pt. 2

More news from the great state of Texas:
A 3-month-old baby was left unattended in a shopping cart for about an hour Sunday when her parents accidentally left her behind at a local Toys-R-Us, police said.

The parents, who were traveling in different cars, didn't realize what happened until they got home and neither one had the baby.
Gives a whole new meaning to the term "no child left behind."

On Iraq

President Bush, 24 October: "Absolutely, we're winning."

President Bush, yesterday: "We're not winning, we're not losing."

Found It

That perfect holiday picture I was looking for on Monday?

Well...I found it. Sums it up pretty well, I'd say.

Ho, ho, ho.

19 December 2006

Hillary Leads McCain: Trend or Outlier?

A new national poll from Newsweek shows Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat-NY) leading Sen. John McCain (Republican-AZ) by a solid 7-point margin, 50% to 43%, in a 2008 match up.

As far as I know, this is the first time Clinton has led McCain in any of the 2008 polling. And while I'm the first to admit that polling 23 months out doesn't mean a thing, one has to wonder whether McCain's call for troop increases in Iraq has caused a sudden trend toward a Democratic presidential ticket, or if this poll is just an outlier compared to others.

My hunch is this poll is the outlier. But it wouldn't surprise me in the least if independents and McCain-leaning Democrats strip the Arizona Senator of their support over his proposals on how to handle the Iraq War.

If things continue as they are, or (God forbid) they get worse, then McCain is toast. Either the Republicans will refuse to nominate him or the Democratic ticket will make mince meat of him in a general election. (Another four years of Bush-like failures will be the last thing this country will want.) However, if things start to improve in Iraq - and that improvement is due to increased troop levels - then this new Newsweek poll will probably be the best showing the Democrats will have against a McCain-led Republican ticket.

Cash Crop

A report released yesterday shows marijuana is America's biggest cash crop, bringing in $35 billion. That makes pot a bigger money-maker than corn, hay, soybeans, and grapes.

California led the way, with $14 billion dollars in green sales.

Joint Chiefs Oppose Bush Plan

President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq this late in the game isn't at all popular with the heads of the Armed Forces.

From the Washington Post:
...the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military...
Meanwhile, the former Chief of the Joint Chiefs (and former Secretary of State), Colin Powell, doubts the plan will work. He thinks the Army is over-extended and "about broken."

The way I see it, this plan is too little too late. The President and his former Defense Secretary were criminal in their planning of the war. As a matter of fact, it can be (and should be) argued that they were criminal in going to Iraq in the first place.

Thanks for the Laughs

Joseph Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that created the Flintsones, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo (among others), has died. He was 95.

18 December 2006

For Those 'In the Know'. . .

...you'll know why this is perplexing: I was looking for a picture of an out-of-control, super-crowded toy store for a Christmas-related blog post. Like most folks I went to Google Images in hopes of finding what I wanted. I looked through a few pages and didn't find anything but when I got to page 7, this image jumped out at me.

Not exactly what one thinks of when they type "toy store christmas" into the Google search engine!

Nightmare Scenarios for Future Conflicts

As seen by defense anaylst John Arquilla
The second Korean War

A nuclear blast shuts down U.S. communications, and North Korean conventional forces move in for the kill.

War in the Taiwan Strait

China uses advanced technology to sink the U.S. fleet in nothing flat.

Terrorist attack on San Francisco

Fires and explosions break out simultaneously across the Bay Area.
It's an excellent piece, told in the fashion of "A Christmas Carol," and highlights how the incompetence of the Bush administration will have a long term effect on the security and defense of the United States. You can read the entire essay here.

16 December 2006

Gustavo Santaolalla

A year ago this weekend Brent and I joined our friends Todd and Troy down in L.A. for a matinee showing of "Brokeback Mountain" at the Grove. The movie is, in my opinion, the best film of the last six years. And contributing to its success was the evocotive soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla. With his haunting combination of guitars and strings, he captured the true essence of America's mountain west. "Brokeback" wouldn't be the movie it is without his heartwrenching score.

And so, on this wintery Saturday morning, your Song of the Day is "Brokeback Mountain" by Gustavo Santaolalla.


Quote of the Day:
Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.
-Vice-President Dick Cheney, yesterday during Rumsfeld's farwell ceremony at the Pentagon.

The administration of George W. Bush: inept, in denial, and clueless.

15 December 2006


On this very night, December 15, 1939 - sixty-seven years ago - "Gone With the Wind" had its premiere showing at the Loew's Grand Theatre in Atanta, Georgia.

The movie would go on to become a major cinematic classic, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel), and Best Director (Victor Fleming), as well as the hearts of movie fans around the world.

In celebration of its 1939 opening, here is the original theatrical trailer. (The sound is a little off, but still it's worth watching.) Enjoy.

A Little Extra Protein

From Wheaton, Illinois:
A senior at Wheaton North High School, about 30 miles west of Chicago, is accused of ejaculating into a bottle of ranch salad dressing last week and leaving it on a condiments cart in the cafeteria, school officials said.

The student allegedly bragged to his friends during his lunch period December 6 about the masturbatory episode. One of those students told school leaders Tuesday, and when confronted the boy confessed to contaminating the salad dressing bottle.
Hmmm. Perhaps guns in the classroom IS a good idea after all.

On the other hand, considering what school kids eat these days, that was probably the most protein they've had all year!

Buh - Bye

Chloe, the Christmas Elf

Some Friday entertainment:

The daughter does a little holiday jig for you. Click here for the show!

That Would Be a "Yes"

From Taegan Goddard:
In a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), said that "he believed he would be a 'viable candidate' for president who could move the nation beyond the generational politics that have defined the last 40 years."
Yup. Sounds like he's running to me.

Baker-Hamilton, Out

According to Kevin Drum, it seems James Baker and Lee Hamilton have lost their touch. The D.C. politcos want nothing to do with their Iraq Study Group Report.

14 December 2006

Republicans & Guns, Part Deux

Following Tuesday's report of a proposed Texas law that would permit blind people to hunt with guns comes this little diddy from Nevada:

Republican State Senator Bob Beers says the Nevada State Legislature should consider a bill that would let teachers carry guns.

Yes. THAT would make our schools SO much safer.

"Did you say you're homework isn't done, Johnny? That's a shame. Please step up to my desk."

Johnson Insight

Blue Girl, Red State (who is a scientist and lab clinician) has some positive insight into what happened to Sen. Tim Johnson (Democrat-SD) yesterday.

You can link to her post here.

Frat F*ck Driving a Honda Pilot

The company I am contracted with is located in the East Bay suburb of Alameda, California. They are situated in a series of business complexes in which one has to drive through several miles of side streets to get to work each morning. And all of those side streets have 25 mph speed limits posted.

Get clocked doing 29 mph and the Alameda Police will pull you over and ticket you. (Thankfully, I haven't been pulled over. But I see it happen to others several times a week.)

SO...this morning I am driving down High Street - moving between 25 mph and 26 mph - when a big silver Honda Pilot is right on my ass. He flickered his lights, he tried to go around but couldn't (two lane street, no passing). About 20 to 30 seconds later we approached a stop light. It had turned yellow well before we got there, and was red when we stopped.

Once we stopped, the guy in the Pilot swung around to my passenger side - into the right turn lane - and proceeded to fly through the red light at about 35 mph, and once he was on the other side of the light he was going much faster.

First and foremost...there is a junior high school located at this intersection. I don't know what this fuck-wad was thinking, but obviously he had no concern for the school kids of Alameda.

Secondly, he violated about three other traffic laws: speeding, going through a red light, and mis-using a turn lane. And my question is, where were the cops? Usually they're lined up along that stretch because of the school, but this morning they were nowhere to be found.

So to the drivers of Alameda, I serve you warning - Be on the lookout for the following vehicle:

Honda Pilot (Silver)
California license plate number: 5DTN020
With a license plate frame that says: "Alpha Tau Omega"

A frat boy. Figures!

Wild Crush

Quote of the Day:
As anyone who has ever fallen in love knows, it takes a while to get your head straight, to stop your heart from pounding and for your dewy eyes to find their focus again.
-Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and political editor at Chicago's WMAQ-Channel 5 (NBC), throwing cold water on the wild crush Democrats and the media have on Sen. Barack Obama.

Carol is right, of course. Obama looks like an attractive candidate right now, but should he announce even I will have many questions about his foreign policy skills at the very least.

Sen. Tim Johnson

Senator Tim Johnson (Democrat-SD) is in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery at George Washington Hospital in D.C. last night. While the rest of the media have been jumping all over the "what if" scenario that could possibly play out in terms of Senate control, I will refrain for the time being.

My thoughts are with Sen. Johnson and his family this morning. Get well soon.

13 December 2006

From You Tube

Matt Damon channeling Matthew McConaughey on 'Letterman.' And quite well, I might add.

Umm...No, Thank You

Enough said?

Another One Bites the Dust

Rep. Henry Bonilla (Republican-TX) has conceded the run-off election in that state's 23rd congressional district to Democrat Ciro Rodriguez. That makes it a 30 seat pick-up for the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

12 December 2006

And They Wonder Why We Laugh At Them

From the great state of Texas: Edmund Kuempel, a Republican member of the state legislature, has filed a bill for the 2007 session that would permit "legally blind" people to use a gun with the aid of a laser-device when hunting.

"I've seen this on TV before, when they're taking target practice," Kuempel said. "When they aim the gun the guide tells them, aim two inches higher or two inches lower and you're on the target, and you're off and running."

And so are the people around them!

Next up in the Texas legislature: A law allowing blind people to drive.

While drunk.

Still Unprepared

Over five years after 9/11, and just over a year following the Hurricane Katrina debacle, and the United States is still unprepared for a major catastrophe.

The administration of George W. Bush: The most incompetent group of goons ever to govern our nation.

Will Richardson Run?

Quote of the Day:
[Gov. Bill] Richardson (Democrat-NM) is easily the most qualified of the Democrats in the field. He has served as a governor of a border state, has extensive foreign policy experience as Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration, and has served in many high-level federal positions including a tour as a Cabinet member as Secretary of Energy...Richardson possesses the seniority, experience as a chief executive, and more foreign policy experience than either [Hillary] Clinton or [Barack] Obama.

...if the Democrats succeed in nominating Richardson, he is almost certain to become the 44th President of the United States.
-Amy Proctor, self-described "Christian Republican" blogger from the Northeastern U.S.A.

Before serving at the U.N. and heading the Energy Department, Richardson worked for the State Department and later became a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he spent 15 years in the U.S. House of Representatives expanding his interest in foreign relations, met with the North Koreans in 1994 and won the release of a U.S. helicopter pilot, and earlier this year he negotiated the release of U.S. journalist Paul Solopek from the Sudan and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

I've always considered Gov. Richardson among the top tier of the Democratic presidential candidates. And if Ms. Proctor is any indication, he could win over enough Republicans to take the White House back for his party.

According to his website, he will announce his intentions in January.

Seven Years On

Note: I drafted this on Saturday morning, but in our rush to get out the door for a Christmas party, I never went back and actually posted it. Sorry, B-man.
This love I sought...
people laughed and said,
'the boy's all in your mind,'
but now that I've met you I'm fallin'
From "Falling For Your Love." Written by Pamela Phillips-Oland, as performed by the Sylvers.

This past weekend Brent and I celebrated seven wonderful years together. To him I say: Thank you for being my partner, my best friend, the love of my life. I wouldn't trade these past 7 years for the world.

It's schmalzy as all hell, and the choreography is pure 80's, but this video is for you. Happy Anniversary, Sweet Man. "The best is yet to come."

New York Film Critics Circle: "United 93" Best Film

The movie awards season has begun...

The New York Film Critics Circle named the powerful "United 93" as their choice for best film of 2006 on Monday. Martin Scorsese was named best director for "The Departed." Helen Mirren, best actress for "The Queen." And Forrest Whittaker, best actor for "The Last King of Scotland."

Mirren and Whittaker also took the acting prizes by the National Board of Review last week.

"Letters From Iwo Jima," Clint Eastwood's companion piece to "Flags of Our Fathers," was picked as the top movie of 2006 on Sunday by the L.A. Film Critics Association, as well as the National Board of Review.


Quote of the Day:
I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal.
-Sen. Gordon Smith (Republican-OR), on the current congress' last day in session, criticizing the Bush administration's incompetent Iraq policy.

It IS criminal, and the President, Vice-President, Attorney General, and the out-going Defense Secretary (among others) should be prosecuted for war crimes by the International War Tribunal.

For the record, Sen. Smith went on to say:
I believe we need to figure out not just how to leave Iraq but how to fight the war on terror and to do it right.
(My italics.) Four years later these Republicans - and many other Americans, Republicans and Democrats - are finally (finally!) coming to the realization that the Iraq War has diminished our capacity to fight the global war against terror.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but you can forgive those of us who were in the small minority arguing against this war for precisely that reason in late 2002 for being so flabbergasted by where things stand today.

We saw this coming. And no one listened.

11 December 2006

One Last Moment with Your Republican Congress

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-CA), the in-coming Speaker of the House, has announed that the chamber will be in session Monday through Friday during its next term. No more waltzing in on Tuesday and leaving Thursday afternoon, as the out-going Republican congress has done. Not when you're being paid $170,000 a year.

The Republicans, in typical form, immediately whined and moaned about their longer work week, saying that since Pelosi won't let them spend more time with their families the Democrats are obviously the "anti-family" party.

Because god forbid these guys have to work an honest work week, you know...like the rest of America.

09 December 2006

Noel Terrill Photography

My sister Noel is moving into the realm of "artist"...in a big way. One of her photographs is hanging at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, in the One Of a Kind Art Show and Sale.

The photograph on display is the first one above. The second is my all time Noel Terrill favorite, taken just days before 9/11.

Good luck at the show, Sista Girl. Your brother is proud of you.

"Smalltown Boy"

Ever since Sully posted the video on his blog last week, I can't seem to get Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" out of my head. As one of his reader's wrote:
Being from a small town and being gay in the '80's was never easy...I endured black eyes, broken bones, ostracism, and generally being the town "fairy". Needless to say, on the day I turned 18, I was gone.
I wasn't from a small town, but the northwest suburbs of Chicago weren't any easier. And that is why, when I turned 18, I couldn't wait to get out and move into the city.

And so, your Song of the Day is "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat. No song or music video spoke as powerfully to young gay men in the 1980's as this one did.

08 December 2006

Movie Recommendation: "The Queen"

We went to see "The Queen" with our friends Mark and Don over the Thanksgiving Day weekend and I've been meaning to write about it.

The movie is an absolute delight. Rather than take the cheap "made-for-TV" bio-pic route, director Stephen Frears ("My Beautiful Laundrette," "Prick Up Your Ears," "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Grifters," "Mrs. Henderson Presents") presents a brilliant character study, examining the complex relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The picture takes place, for the most part, in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris. The story is spellbinding: The Royal Family's determination to remain separate and aloof from the death of Diana, who is no longer a royal due to her divorce from Prince Charles, versus the newly elected Prime Minister's gauge of the public perception. Tradition and history (Elizabeth) versus the public mood (Blair).

Helen Mirren's performance is the key to this wonderful movie. She is masterful and brilliant here, and if she doesn't win the Oscar for this role then it can be argued that the Academy has lost its way.

Finally, I have to mention the work done by Sylvia Syms. Her tart and sharp-witted peformance as the Queen Mother is absolutely fabulous. Best Supporting Actress, anyone?

Hopefully "The Queen" is still playing near you. If it is, I suggest you take some time this weekend to see it. You'll be glad you did.

Rice vs. Baker

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice reject the major proposals made by the Iraq Study Group, headed by James Baker (the Secretary of State under Bush's father) and Lee Hamilton (the former Democratic congressman from Indiana).

Money quote:
Ms. Rice remained publicly silent, sitting across town in the office that Mr. Baker gave up 14 years ago. She has yet to say anything about the public tutorial being conducted by the man who first knew her when she was a mid-level Soviet expert on the National Security Council. She has not responded to Mr. Baker’s argument, delivered in a tone that drips with "isn’t-this-obvious," that America has to be willing to talk to its adversaries (a premise Ms. Rice has questioned if the conditions are not right), or his dismissal of the administration’s early argument that the way to peace in the Middle East was through quick, decisive victory in Baghdad.
Given this administration's track record, I guess I shouldn't have expected them to embrace the Baker/Hamilton recommendations. Denial, arrogance, and incompetence thrive in the Bush White House. And our military will be weakened because of it.

Viagra Could Stop Cancer

Or pretty damn close, anyway. At least according a study by John Hopkins University:
...researchers say that [the drug] shows promise in "unmasking" cancer cells so that the immune system can recognize and attack them with greater efficiency.
Talk about a wonder drug!

07 December 2006

And For Balance...

Quote of the Day 2:
...this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgement to oppose this Iraq war in the first place. And did not have the judgement to realize that it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism.
-Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat-WI), on 'Countdown' last night.

I haven't looked at the report yet. The little I know of what's in it comes from news reports.

But just as David Igantius makes a good point below, Feingold makes a similarly strong argument above.


Quote of the Day:
This is the real national security threat to America - this sense in the rest of the world that Iraq symbolizes America's fatal new combination of arrogance and incompetence. This report asks the world to help us find our way back home. Even if its proposals don't succeed, the Baker-Hamilton report can still accomplish its purpose, to "enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly."
-The Washington Post's David Ignatius, giving the Baker-Hamilton report on the situation in Iraq a symbolic 'thumbs up.'

Reviews seem mixed on the Iraq Study Group report. But we're at the point now where something has to be done. This can't wait until a new president takes over in January 2009.

The war needs to be brought under control. My hope is the new Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, will be able to do that. And then, two years from now, a new president can begin repairing the damage of George W. Bush's arrogance and incompetence. And believe me, no matter who the next president is, that will be a tall order.


That is the portion of the vote that went to Republican House candidates last month...by gay and lesbian voters. For Republican Senate candidates, it was 25%. Two years ago 23% voted to re-elect President Bush (even after his proposal to defile the Constitution with hatred).

In the overall realm of things those numbers are pretty anemic; and perhaps in many instances the Republicans these gay and lesbian voters supported were more on the liberal side; and although I have done it only sparingly, I am not against supporting the occassional Republican candidate. (An aside: I have never supported one at the federal level.)

But after all the Republican Party has done over the last 6 to 12 years to demonize us and turn the clock back on all we've worked for...I don't know...25% seems like an awfully high level of support.

06 December 2006

VP's Lesbian Daughter is Pregnant

Ssshhhh...that sound you hear is the religous right going batshit. For Darth Cheney's lesbian daughter is...gasp!...knocked up...

From the Washington Post:
Mary Cheney, the Vice-President's openly gay daughter, is pregnant. She and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, are "ecstatic" about the baby, due in late spring, said a source close to the couple.
Uncle George is fit to be tied, Grandma Lynn tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Washington Post has a lot of explaining to do, and Grandpa Dick plans to shoot the father in the face.

Update: According to AmericaBlog Cheney and Poe live in Virginia, where voters just passed one of the most hateful anti-gay amendments in the country:
The law ensures that Mary's partner has no legal rights whatsoever in their child, or in what happens to Mary (or vice versa), such as if one partner has to go the hospital, the other can't visit. The law may even nullify any wills that Mary and Heather write regarding each other, and it may make it impossible for gay people to go to court to resolve any difference about anything - the courts can't recognize gay unions, so they can't make any decisions that would imply recognition (custody, hospital visitation, wills, etc.) It's beyond ironic that Virginia's new law, one of the most hateful, bigoted laws on the books, is now targeting the Vice-President's own daughter and soon-to-be new grandchild.
Pass the popcorn; the drama that is about to unfold in the fascist wing of the Republican Party is going to be Oscar-caliber drama.

Now, let's think of names. Luke or Leah, anyone?

05 December 2006

Who Farted?

News Item: Flatulence, not turbulence, forces an American Airlines plane to make an emergency landing in Nashville.

The embarassing details here.

George the Obstinant

Quote of the Day:
President Bush has never shown that he is willing to change, so reality-based observers have a moral obligation to keep treating him accordingly. I strongly believe that when people act, they compel from society the logical response to that action, and the President's continued obstinacy demands opposition, not capitulation. He deserves not faith or trust, but, as he has earned, distrust and constant oversight. And patriotic Americans of both parties owe it to the country to keep the pressure on him.
-A.J. at AMERICABlog, in an essay posted yesterday about the shifting events in the Iraq War, and President Bush's refusal to alter his plan.

Senate hearings begin today on the nomination of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. I think we'll get some idea of any change in course during testimony. But my sense is it'll be "more of the same," "stay the course," etc.

But one can hope.

The War Crimes of George W. Bush, et. al.

Isolation; sleep and sensory depravation; hoodings; stress positions; exposure to noxious fumes; exposure to temperature extremes; threats of imminent execution; assaults; the forced administration of mind-altering substances; denial of religious practices; manipulation of diet; and other forms of mistreatment.
That is the watered-down version of what Jose Padilla's lawyers claim was done to him while he was jailed in Charleston, South Carolina.

Padilla is citizen of the United States. He was arrested in Chicago four years ago, charged as an "enemy combatant," and made to "disappear" by the government of George W. Bush. Yet, as of today, no charges have been filed against Mr. Padilla.

The tortures that Padilla has experienced are acts that have long been categorized as war crimes under both the U.S. War Crimes Act and the Geneva Conventions. Yet the outgoing Republican congress, at the urging of the President, had the wording of the War Crimes Act rewritten in the 2006 Military Commissions Act so that the President could arrest anyone anywhere on such charges, apparently without an iota of evidence.

It is un-American in every sense of the word. The Bush administration tramples on the Constitution as no administration before them (not even Nixon's), and by doing so hand the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 the victory they were looking for: an unraveling America.

The President, the Vice-President, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, his predecessor John Ashcroft, and Karl Rove should all be charged with war crimes and shipped to the Hague in the Netherlands to stand trial.

04 December 2006

Hillary's Next Step

After winning an astounding 67% of the vote in her re-election bid, Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat-NY) is making some initial moves toward running for president. While she doesn't plan to make any sort of announcement until early next year, the New York Times reported yesterday that she "has begun a calculated series of meetings with top New York Democratic officials to signal that she is likely to run for the presidency in 2008."

Andrew Sullivan would rather she not:
She really shouldn't run. It would divide and polarize the country; she's dreadful on the stump; she has very high negatives; most Democrats only like her; almost no-one loves her; and do we really want 20 years of two families in the White House? Besides: what do you do with Bill?...I think she'd make a great Supreme Court Justice or Senate Majority Leader. I had a chat recently with a senior Republican and former presidential candidate. We were discussing how deeply divided the Republicans are. I asked him: what could unite them again at this point? He answered in one word: Hillary. She's the last hope for the far right. Please, Senator Clinton. Don't do it.
I really do think Hillary would make a superb president, but I am beginning to wonder if people like Sullivan are right. I think the Democratic ticket in 2008 will need to serve as the real healers...a ticket that will bring Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and Libertarians together to reverse the wrongs brought on by eight years of George W. Bush. And no matter how hard she tries, Senator Clinton won't be that candidate.

Bolton Resigns

The hapless, recess-appointed U.N. Ambassador will step down in the face of the coming Democratic Senate.

Jessica Simpson Is An Idiot

She's asked to sing "9 to 5" during a Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Dolly Parton, and she can't muster the professionalism to remember the words?

Tell me again why this dim-wit is taking up space on the planet.