Let’s Watch a Movie

I rewatched the movie Them! which I probably haven't seen since I was a kid. For a 50s B-sci-fi flick, Them! rocks! Some cliches of Hollywood and lessons in fear-mongering, sexism, and racism were de rigueur. In this first set, the aged scientist schools the Washington idiots on how it's going down. More pix after the jump. Them! watching a movie Them! watching a movie Them! watching a movie Continue reading "Let’s Watch a Movie"

Two Good Documentaries

Hulu has two free documentaries which are necessary viewing whether you're conservative, liberal, radical, communist, or an independent weirdo.
  • The Corporation - The beginning of "too big to fail" which is anathema to capitalism. It starts out sounding heavily left and critical but gives a fairly balanced view. The film was made by Canadians.
  • Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky's voice is usually censored from mainstream media which is anathema to free speech. Interestingly, also largely made by Canadians.
You have to put up with ads but that's free TV. Feel free to discuss anything in these documentaries here or on hulu.

Uncle Wiggly’s Talk

St (This photo means a lot to me because at the time it was taken, a friend was inside.) On Obama's SOTU speech, he sounded good but he is a tool of the village. He could have remade politics in his first year but he chose status quo. The U.S. presidential pulpit is more powerful than the pope's and he chose to rubberstamp a lot of what George W. Bush did. The financial industry is lord because of their bonuses and political contributions and even taxes on those bonuses. They rule because money equals speech and those with the most money speak the loudest. Given the continuing war obligations pledged, I don't see how there is anything left for the American infrastructure, energy, and job creation talked about.

The European Worker Perspective

I picked this up from the comments of a Huffpo story about a court ruling that you can't fire someone over a slice of cheese.

Unions are un-American. That is why the American worker will go lower and lower to be a good American. Working for peanuts is the American dream, from dishwasher to millionaire. Over here in Europe we have socialism; that is really bad. You are fully covered health insurance wise, get 4-6 week mandatory fully paid vacations and other goodies. While we travel the world in our free time, the American worker has to have up to 2 jobs to make ends meet. As long as you keep believing whatever bull you are fed, you will be happy in the land of the fee and the home of the slave.

But wait! This is America where Fox News is the most trusted news source and Jay Leno's funniest [saddest] bits are when he's jay walking.

Let’s Stay Open for Business

wallpaper job I was pretty disappointed in this month's cover story in Harper's called "Final Edition." We have pages of anecdotes about San Francisco newspaper history and then a conclusion that newspapers lost touch with the cities where they publish mostly dismissing the internet. What about newspapers that ignore their mission to inform the public? Why does the Washington Post publish lies by Sarah Palin which contradicts their own reporting? Oh, they just rushed it through so we would click on it?? Quoting Atrios, what's it for?:

I can never quite get a handle on just what the Washington Post people - its publishers, Fred Hiatt, etc... - think that it's for? Is it about providing a product people want to buy/advertisers want to advertise in? It is about informing readers, giving them factual information and analysis they want? Are these missions in conflict or do they coincide?

And why does it take bloggers to point out how absurd they are? Where are all the journalists who spend their days bitching about bloggers? Don't they care that the product they're defending is basically shit?

Huffington Post Censors Itself

I don't have the screen shot but for a little while yesterday afternoon, the Huffington Post lead story was "PEACE PRIZE?" and linked to a story at the Washington Post about how Obama already secretly sent 13,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. I went to look for the Huffpo story again and it's gone. The WaPo story talks about how the additional troops are not combat-oriented but no matter how you slice it, it's military personnel above and beyond what was initially announced back in March. The story also goes into detail about troop increases since the U.S. first invaded. Mercenary troops and security hiring probably continue apace so I put it out there again: PEACE PRIZE? Really?

War = Peace, Failure = Success, Taxpayer = Treasury

red tree The conservatives essentially say that the Nobel Peace Prize was given to a man who has done nothing to deserve it and they're far less than half-right. The part they were right about was lampooned on SNL a little over a week ago. The Nobel Prize committee says Barack Obama has created "a new climate in international politics." In reality, Obama's rhetoric has largely cloaked a continuation and extension of Bush's foreign policy.

Apart from the diplomatic rhetoric, there has been no meaningful reversal of US foreign policy in relation to theĀ George W. Bush presidency, which might have remotely justified the granting of the Nobel Prize to Obama. In fact quite the opposite. The Obama military agenda has sought to extend the war into new frontiers. With a new team of military and foreign policy advisers, the Obama war agenda has been far more effective in fostering military escalation than that formulated by the NeoCons.

Since the very outset of the Obama presidency, this global military project has become increasingly pervasive, with the reinforcement of US military presence in all major regions of the WorldĀ  and the development of new advanced weapons systems on an unprecdented scale.

Granting the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama provides legitimacy to the illegal practices of war, to the military occupation of foreign lands, to the relentless killings of civilians in the name of "democracy".

Notwithstanding, we have a domestic policy that rewards catastrophic financial failure and ineptitude courtesy of the taxpayer. (This episode of Bill Moyers Journal is must-see TV.) If there were any true conservative brains in media land, they would be praising Obama's foreign policy, mocking the Nobel Prize committee for giving it to a warmonger in their camp, and focusing on the socialist policies governing U.S. finance. It's sad and tragic that connecting the dots is such a scorned skill amongst the DC Villagers.

The Pacific Gyro (Not the Hawaiian Meat Sandwich)

hudson river bike path, morning I gave the garbage patch in the Pacific Gyre a mention on my myspace blog last year right before I started this blog. Of course around Earth Day, Oprah and the Huffington Post saw fit to highlight a newish documentary on the subject. One of the comments says everything about American media and ignorance: Nothing bad exists until Oprah says so.* Anyway, we should send a few aircraft carriers over there to trawl for a month or two while Oprah hosts a reality show with super-rich and smart philanthropists solving this and the rest of the world's problems. Do I have to think of everything?
* certainly if it's not crashing through our windows like a tornado or a car-jacker

One Dead Zine Scene

The Ding Dong Lounge hosted a 'zine fair on Saturday. They didn't do a very good job of promoting it as it seemed like only 'zine publishers were in attendance slapping each other on the back and outnerding each other. If you want bar regulars to come in and hang around, you may not want a naked old guy with distended testicles and large man boobs walking around your zine fair. I know it's a pagan sort of act, but it's really grody. I didn't take notes but a couple of the zines I looked at were interesting and some had great color graphic work. I also looked at a couple that might've been done by fifth graders. You shouldn't charge $8 for your zine if it looks like it was done by fifth graders. Given the proliferation of blogging, publishing a zine is sort of like making yourself breakfast every day and tossing it in the garbage. I threw out all of my friends' zines from the 80s and 90s. They're not worth anything. Unless you're Dave Eggers and can produce something as slick (or nearly) as McSweeney's or n+1 or... you know what I'm talking about-- don't bother. Definitely do it in color. Maintain a nice website/blog and pass out cards with the URL. Take it multimedia people. Once you're hipper than Dave and get an audience, you might consider charging Kindle subscribers. The band Wolfhaven performed and Chet messed up by introducing them as Wolverines. They played really nice blues rock sort of like Masters of Reality. I like that they have "333" in their myspace URL. That means they're half-evil.

Leave of Absence Overwith

Crappy cell phone pictures are back. I'm back. Gonna put batteries back in my camera and kick some ass. By the way, the last season of Battlestar Galactica is jumping the shark. I disagree with the prehistoric actor's assessment of the newer version but I think the writer's strike completely ruined the new stuff. And I hope 24 jumps its 59th shark as soon as possible. I believe I gave Jay his first writing job. He's back since getting laid off of NBC. Check his blog out please.

Goodbye to a Huge Embarrassment

Last night, I was discussing with friends whether Barack Obama has ever been cheesy. Smile at the camera and say cheese! He is good at that. You could argue the train tour to Washington following Lincoln's route is a bit cheesy. Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention featured some pretty bombastic and cheesy staging effects. You can talk about some gaffes that were exploited by the opposition and quoted out-of-context. Were they curdling or cringe-worthy? Presidential public relations spin is an old game and the winners are the ones who spend more time on spin than on counter-spin. Pundits on the right and left are already exclaiming over the change in tone that is descending on Washington. To call it a breath of fresh air is understatement. Anyone can edit together a video of "uh.... uh..." and other stuttering from the podium, however, Obama is never going to rise to the level of red-faced, jaw-dropping, eye-rolling idiocy and embarrassment that George W. Bush has provided the world with for eight years. (h/t David Letterman)