Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mamma Mia! tonighta!

I don't recall exactly when or how the wife talked me into going to see tonights presentation of Mamma Mia! at the Hobby Center in downtown Houston. Coulda had something to do with the free tickets and the free dinner beforehand.

Review from Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she's trying to identify which of three men is her father. That's about it. Wisely, the musical doesn't mess around with the songs, save for the insertion of some dialogue or for having some of them performed by a man (it works amazingly well). Andersson and Ulvaeus's songs have always felt as if they were more than isolated pop gems and actually belonged to a longer narrative. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Harper's Weekly - 9/25/07

Israel, a few days before Yom Kippur, declared that the Gaza Strip is now a “hostile entity,” and the office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who is under investigation for corruption) announced a collective-punishment plan that includes “limiting the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, cutting back fuel and electricity, and restricting the movement of people to and from the Strip.” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned Israel's “criminal, terrorist Zionist actions.”1 2 3

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who recently was denied an audience with the Pope, went to Jerusalem to bring peace,4 and it was reported that not long ago Vice President Dick Cheney considered asking Israel to launch missiles at an Iranian nuclear site to kick-start a new war.5

The Senate failed to pass a bill restoring habeas corpus to military detainees but voted to denounce Senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl filed an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill to classify Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization,6 7 8 and Iran shut its border with northern Iraq after an Iranian national was detained by U.S. troops and accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Guard.9

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the United Nations in New York City and gave a speech at Columbia University. “There is,” he said in an interview, “no war in the offing.”10

Marcel Marceau died quietly.11

Both Iran and mercenary firm Blackwater USA were accused of smuggling weapons into Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking from a Manhattan hotel, criticized the United States for the recent deaths of civilians at the hands of Blackwater. “Success is shared,” he said. “God forbid, failure is also shared.”1

General Motors workers went on strike,2 and Raytheon unveiled Silent Guardian, a device that radiates unbearable pain. “You don't have time to think about it,” said an executive. “You just run.” The ray gun, Raytheon promised, will not be sold to countries with questionable human rights records, although it will be used by the United States in Iraq. 3

Sherri Shepherd, one of the hosts of “The View,” was criticized for not knowing for sure whether the earth is round, 4 5 6 and a dismissed trial-court judge in the Philippines was fighting to be returned to the bench along with his three elves, Angel, Armand, and Luis the Avenger.7

There were reports of a restaurant in Tokyo where patrons could rape an animal before eating it. “When people have got money and done everything else,” said a lawyer who'd had the pork, “they turn toward bestiality.”8

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was dating actress Kathy Griffin.9

Contestants on “American Idol”-style talent shows, said China, must henceforth demonstrate “perseverance, maturity, confidence, and health.”1

A rare and valuable white koala was discovered in Australia,2 and FOX talk-show host Bill O'Reilly ate a meal in Harlem. “There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea,'” said O'Reilly. “You know, I mean, everybody was--it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun.”3

U.S. Homeland Security was noting what some people read when they fly,4 and a University of Florida student was Tasered after his question for Senator John Kerry went on too long.

An Ocala, Florida, man accused police of Tasering him after he refused to drop his Koran; police in Tustin, California, Tasered a 15-year-old autistic boy; and a Taser dart fired at a Vancouver, Washington, man ignited the cigarette lighter in his pocket, setting his pants on fire. Sales at Taser International were expected to reach $90 million this year.5 6 7 8 9

One million cribs made by Simplicity Inc. and Graco Children's Products were recalled due to the risk of infant suffocation,10 and Denver police were searching for a three-year-old girl abandoned by her mother and mother's boyfriend. “Walk out into your back yard,” said police. “Look through your Dumpsters, help us find this little girl. She's probably in a black plastic bag or white plastic bag.”11

A man in St. Paul, Minnesota, faced $5,000 in fines for ripping the head off a tame duck in a hotel lobby12 and a British man named Anthony Anderson was arrested for urinating on a 57-year-old woman as she lay dying of pancreatic failure. “This,” yelled Anderson as he was filmed, “is YouTube material.”13

Twenty thousand people marched against the junta in Burma; about 400 monks were pushed away from the house where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is imprisoned. “Love and kindness,” read the monks' yellow banner, “must win over everything.”14

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bill O'Reilly's Ignorant, Racially Charged Comments

Got an email from David Brock of Media Matters for America. Damn, I'm glad he came over from the Dark Side. The below is borrowed from their website, where they have reams of quotes of racist BS from FOX.

Fox's Race Problem
It's Not Just O'Reilly

Last Friday, while discussing his recent dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia's, a restaurant in Harlem, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'"

Have trouble believing that anyone with their own television and radio program -- even Bill O'Reilly -- could get away with saying something so ignorant and racially charged? You can hear it for yourself or read the complete transcript right here.

Tell Fox to Stop the Racially Divisive Coverage -- Contact them TODAY!

It gets worse.

When Fox News was forced to respond to O'Reilly's comments, the network issued a statement reading: "This is nothing more than left-wing outlets stirring up false racism accusations for ratings. It's sad."

Fox News' statement ignores the larger problem that comments like O'Reilly's present for the network's integrity, instead launching into an attack of news organizations that do not dismiss public outcry over racially charged commentary outright. Their response to the uproar sounds more like the spin you'd hear from a political campaign in damage control mode, than what you'd expect from a legitimate news organization.

Tell Fox to Stop the Racially Divisive Coverage -- Contact them TODAY!

In fact, Fox's response clearly demonstrates that the problem goes much deeper than just O'Reilly. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, this kind of ignorant, racial commentary is commonplace on Fox News and is part of a long history of racially divisive reporting and commentary.

Commenting on the demonstrations in Jena, Louisiana, during the September 21 broadcast of his radio show, another Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio host, John Gibson, said: "[W]hat they're worried about is a mirage of 1950s-style American segregation, racism from the South. They wanna fight the white devil. ... [T]here's no -- can't go fight the black devil. Black devils stalking their streets every night gunning down their own people -- can't go fight that. That would be snitchin'." (Full transcript here)

These recent comments by O'Reilly and Gibson are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past three years, Media Matters has documented a clear pattern of racially divisive reporting and commentary by Fox News Radio and Fox News Channel hosts and guests. I've included many of those examples at the end of this email -- I hope you'll review them to see just how troubling this issue truly is.

Tell Fox to Stop the Racially Divisive Coverage -- Contact them TODAY!

Fox needs to hear from you. Please contact the network today and let their hosts and reporters know that this type of commentary has no place on a legitimate cable news network -- it's time for them to clean up their act.

Thank you for your continued support.
David Brock, President and CEO
Media Matters for America

P.S. Please pass this email on to your friends, family, and co-workers by clicking here.

If you haven't already, click here - - to view the seemingly never-ending compilation of FOX bullshit. The fact that they have so many viewers speaks ill of America.

Contact information:

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.

900' billboards!! Finally!

Advertising is totally out of control. I worked for several years with a company in their advertising department and I was ready to kill by the time I quit. Advertisers are a pathetic lot themselves, but toss in advertising account executives who baby them and you have a lethal combination. I will never, never, NEVER go back into the world of advertising.

Check out this one: advertising you can see from the airplane! Oh, what an incredible idea! Is there any place left without advertising?!

Giant ads set for world's busiest runways
Tue Sep 25
LONDON (Reuters) - Advertisers aiming to reach high-flyers with no alternative distraction will soon have a new method: adverts the size of three football pitches seen by plane passengers coming in to land.

UK-based Ad-Air launched its new service in London on Tuesday, offering brands the chance to place huge adverts near the runways of some of the world's busiest runways.

Ad-Air, backed by 5 million pounds ($10 million) of private equity finance, said it had spent five years securing sites around the world's busiest airports including London Heathrow, Paris, Geneva, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi. The first advert will appear in Dubai next month.

Paul Jenkins, managing director of Ad-Air, said the adverts would appear in "clutter-free environments and moments free of any other commercial messages."

Operations Director Haakon Dewing told Reuters the adverts could develop to produce a moving image that starts each time a plane comes into sight.

The adverts, which are low to the ground and 20,000 square meters in size, will only be illuminated where local legislation allows.;_ylt=AmPY5Vh0gbyYomAMSWHpD24E1vAI

I simply cannot wait.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Harman says they lied to trick Congress

Jane Harman (D-CA): Republicans Falsely Hyped Terror Threat Against U.S. Capitol To Pass FISA Expansion
Geoff Staples on Mon 24 Sep 2007 08:13 PM CDT

Is anyone surprised that the Bush Administration would cook-up terrorist threats to intimidate Congress and get them to do what Bush wants? I’m not. — Geoff Staples

On August 2, Roll Call issued a breaking news report, warning of a suspected terror threat against the U.S. Capitol:

Capitol Police officials have stepped up the department’s security presence on Capitol Hill in response to intelligence indicating the increased possibility of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Congress sometime between now and Sept. 11.

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) ratcheted up the rhetoric, “ominously” advising that “Congress needed to pass changes to terrorist surveillance laws before leaving for the August recess and warned that otherwise ‘the disaster could be on our doorstep.’”

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), speaking at a FISA event yesterday organized by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, stated that the terror claims were “part of a well-orchestrated campaign” by the administration to politicize the FISA debate. She referred to the efforts as part of the “Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue.” Harman asserted that the intelligence agencies “knew” the terror claims propagated by conservative lawmakers were false:

That specific intelligence claim, it turned out, was bogus; the intelligence agencies knew that –apparently had communicated to Congress or to relevant people that it was bogus, the source was unreliable. But that communication wasn’t in any published form until the day that the Senate passed the amendments to FISA.

It’s still unclear exactly how much the vote was influenced by these events, but at a minimum it demonstrates that the politicization of terror and safety has sunk to a new low on the decency scale.


So.....Representative Harmon. These are pretty serious charges. You say that Bush manipulated Congress into giving him what he wanted by using a false threat of terrorism? What are you going to do about it?


What am I going to do about it?

If the Bush Gang is willing to blackmail Congress like this, does anyone think that they would hesitate to use the same tactics on the people at large to scare them into submission?

And why would Bush stop going to this well, over and over and over? It's worked every time. Why wouldn't it continue to work, especially when the Democrats have this incredible ability to trust in what Bush has to say?

It's a decent thing to do to give people the benefit of the doubt. Bush and his "administration" no longer deserve it.

Tell me again why we should not impeach this cancerous growth some call George W. Bush?

I have to wonder WHAT I would do, if I were in Congress under the present circumstances...and the Bush Gang comes trotting out some bogus bullshit to bully me...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Toon Time - September 2007