Friday, February 28, 2003

Politics...
The misguided issue of the week is this Pledge of Allegiance brouhaha. I'm not sure which is more ridiculous: the court for upholding a ruling that they know won't stand or the politicians and commentators who insist that America is defined by the words, 'under God' and that the country somehow suffers because of this ruling. It seems this issue is a perfect time to learn the history of the Pledge and discuss its meaning.

Personally, I had no problem saying those words when I was in school. I did however have an issue saying, "for which it stands" because, for a while, I thought we were saying, "For witch's stands" and that just seemed odd. What can I say? I was young.

Everyone has an opinion about the upcoming war. What's yours? Me, I think we are going and there isn't much we anti-war citizens can do about it. The ball is in the military's court and let's hope for the best.

Film...
More on the ads before movies issue. If you’re like me you hate those ads that show up on many screens before the movie starts. So why doesn’t the newspaper start printing ads that tell us exactly what time the movie starts as opposed to what time the ads start? Let’s sue!

David Lynch is finally releasing Eraserhead! But if you want to buy it don’t expect to find it in the video store or Amazon. You have to order it directly from Mr Lynch’s online store.

I just got news of this. The College of Santa Fe has been having a 50th anniversary conference of the film Salt of The Earth. It is the only blacklisted movie in American movie history and well worth seeing if you can find it at the video store.
I also recently heard that there is a remake in the works to be directed by David (La Cuidad) Rilker. It’s a good choice.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Politics...
It turns out the Donahue was actually the top rated show on MSNBC but the NBC News executives didn’t like his liberal anti-war stance. So they commissioned a study to provide guidance on the future of the news channel, which stated that he presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war....He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."
The report then concluded that because of Donahue MSNBC could become "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors (Fox News) are waving the flag at every opportunity." So as a result they fire Donahue and hire Dick Armey as a commentator and both Jesse Ventura and (very conservative) Michael Savage joining the network as hosts.

Is there something to Bush's and the Skull and Crossbones connection?

Au revoir...
Mr Rogers has left the neighborhood. Will King Friday XIII still be around to entertain us?

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Politics...
When the Iraq war starts do you think the press coverage will be accurate or will it be heavily censored to please the Pentagon? According to Robert Fisk all scripts must be approved before hitting the airwaves.

Most of my friends believe the media is too conservative, yet the Republicans I know say it is too liberal. What gives? My belief is that the media is only liberal from a social point-of-view; meaning they try to be as multicultural as they can. Plus, the media is made up of a good number of people who accept the fact that the world is not made up of white conservative Christians. On the other hand from all other positions the media is conservative; especially in their coverage of politics and economics.
However the 'liberal', 'conservative' tag is not easy to pin down. A thoughtful three part piece by Jack Shafer in Slate tackles this conundrum.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Anyway it seems the ‘liberal media’ couldn’t handle being too liberal – plus the ratings were low – so MSNBC has pulled Donahue.

If you want to know more about the media read Eric Alterman’s just published What Liberal Media? According to the Daily Howler "[It] is a total must reading, an invaluable look at the bizarre public discourse which bedevils American democracy."

Free pass to the Los Alamos Labs anyone? "To sneak into Los Alamos National Laboratory, the world's most important nuclear research facility, all you do is step over a few strands of rusted, calf-high barbed wire."

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Politics...
15 months after the fall of the Taliban, the American Samson has yet to prevail. Some international agency workers report that there is outright anger and frustration in the provinces over the slow pace of reconstruction and the lack of security, a sense that the Karzai government has done nothing for them.

Ebay brother is watching you, "When someone uses our site and clicks on the `I Agree' button, it is as if he agrees to let us submit all of his data to the legal authorities. Which means that if you are a law-enforcement officer, all you have to do is send us a fax with a request for information, and ask about the person behind the seller's identity number, and we will provide you with his name, address, sales history and other details - all without having to produce a court order."

There has been no Rush Limbaugh archive until now! Yes, a grassroots (left leaning) group has started The Rush Transcription Project. Hate radio at it’s finest is being transcribed for all to read.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Higher Education...
Politically Correct Conservative parents vs. a student basketball player. Note this piece of flap over a High School student who refuses to face the flag during the anthem. As she has done all season, Smith turned 90 degrees away from the flag as the anthem was played prior to tipoff. Here's a rhetorical question: Aren't schools there to get students to learn and think for themselves rather than stand in line and do what they're told? Surely the school has more important things to think about.

And with that thought...UCSD has dedicated a web site to the inimitable (and rarely seen) advertising work of Dr Seuss.
Politics...
The Bush Administration has been threatening to delay or cut off funding for African countries that vote against the Iraqi War.

This bullying and funding threat tactic has possibly come stateside on a different matter: The GAO (General Accounting Office) has abandoned their lawsuit to get Dick Cheney to disclose The White House energy task force records. According to the Freedom of Information Center they may have done this due to a funding threat. If this is true it can't help but undermine some of the great work the GAO has done. According to GAO Comptroller General David Walker the agency saved taxpayers $37.7 billion in return for its approximately $440 million budget.

Iraq is not Nazi Germany, Saddam Hussein is not Adolf Hitler and this is not 1939. War against Iraq can be avoided.
An offensive war, for a nation as powerful as ours, is an admission of failure. It is a sign of impatience and emotional immaturity.

Liberal Talk shows on AM radio will never work. Why?
Hint: How many progressive minded people do you know listen to AM radio?

The web is going to the blogs. Save us from the warblogs!

Film...
Polanski wins BAFTA and The Cesars but he still has that nasty past to deal with in the United States. Polanski’s victim says it’s time to forgive him. But how many Academy voters who read this -- He gave me champagne and a piece of a Quaalude. And then he took advantage of me. It was not consensual sex by any means -- will want to give him the Oscar?

I'm the first to admit that Hollywood makes bad movies. But it's just wacky thinking to believe that what's wrong with the world these day can be blamed on Hollywood.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Politics...
The U.S. Greens have made a cool anti-war flash slide show from all the recent protests worldwide.

RASHOMON ALERT!
Remember Afghanistan? The Bush Administration doesn’t. They forgot to include humanitarian and reconstruction funds in their recent budget until Congress called them on it.
BUT this story may be innaccurate. Heretical Ideas says the specifics of the budget simply weren't worked out yet.

Paul Krugman over at the NY Times says the same could happen to Iraq, ‘On Tuesday Ari Fleischer declared that Iraq could pay for its own reconstruction’

Of course, not every pro-war columnist is totally bonkers, this by Thomas Friedman makes sense.

Bush’s Budget Diet will consume us!

Music...
So it seems CBS executives have decided that the first amendment doesn’t apply to any anti-war musicians attending the Grammy’s.

Here's what close to 300 critics say were the best albums of the year.
My list of 9 is as follows.
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi battles the Pink Robots
Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World
Felix da Housecatt – Kitten and Thee Glitz
The Roots - Phrenology
Porcupine Tree – in Absentia
Clinic – Walking with Thee
N.E.R.D. – In Search of…
Mali Music - (Damon Albarn)
Rene Lacaille and Bob Brozman – Digdig

Film...
Have you had it with TV commercials showing up on movie screens before the main feature? I have and so has this woman who filed a class action lawsuit.

It's nice to see in the middle of Hollywood that - according to the LA Times - the best film to open in LA this week is a documentary about a Russian bluegrass band trying to make it in Nashville.
Hic Pics, indeed.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Rashomon is a movie made in 1951 by Akira Kurosawa that deals with the various stories that each witness tells regarding a murder. Invariably the movie is about the truth and the fact that everyone has their own truth - non of which is entirely true or false but a combination of both based on subjectivity.

Politics...
I’m not sure I buy the conspiracy theories that the Bush Administration knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened but it seems obvious that they were ready to attack Iraq from the day they stepped into office.
AND SO
Scarcely five hours after the 9/11 attacks Rumsfeld was planning an attack on Iraq. He is quoted as saying, "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
Yikes.

Senator Byrd’s view of the impending war is required reading for anyone opposed to going to war right now.

Israel has a point about the Saddam menace with regard to their country but will the war really help all of the countries of the Middle East as the Administration says?

Hey, there were anti-war protests everywhere in the world last weekend.

Film related...
If you’re interested in the way that movies use color these days read this.

Here’s a good review that presents the good, the bad and the ugly of the latest outrageous French film Irreversible.

Forget rottentomatoes.com here’s the original consensus chart.

This week’s must see DVD is the original Beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau. Here's my take on the film.