Thursday, July 28, 2005

Your Money At Work

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8734642/

SALT LAKE CITY - The state of Utah can’t block a woman from
using her license plate to tell the world “GAYSROK,” a judge has
ruled.


“The narrow issue before us is whether a reasonable person
would believe the terms ‘gays are OK’ and ‘gay rights’ are, themselves,
offensive to good taste and decency. It is the conclusion of the commission that
a reasonable person would not,” Phan wrote.


The state can appeal the July 19 decision.
“We’re discussing it, and we have 30 days to do that,” Barry Conover, deputy director
of the commission...It kind of opens up the door for all types of people who
want to make a license plate a public forum, for every initiative,”



It's interesting that the state has chosen to frame its case as a battle against the use of license plates as expressive devices; something I had been under the impression was already available in the form of generalized vanity plates. That this particular expression was considered objectionable speaks worlds about the amount of resentment felt toward the Gay community. "GAYSROK" may be a lame license plate, but its the personal expression of the person driving their vehicle.

Don't state governments have more important things to do with their time than crusade against personalized license plates? It would be like if Congress was even now putting together a bill that would increase punishment for people who fake purple hearts. That would just be a crazy waste of taxpayer time and money.

Oh...wait.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8701080/

More Mutant Musings

Over at the venerable IGN.com site they're reporting that X3 has cast its Kitty Pryde. Ellen Page, a young and unknown actress, will be essaying the phasing teenager into being.

Buried in the article is also the first confirmation I've read that Daniel Cudmore is returning as Colossus. If you're like me, the character's brief cameo in X2 was joyous, although far too brief. When he turned to Logan and told him that he could help, the audience was literally shouting at the screen for him to kick some more armored ass. his return, along with a reportedly larger role for Kitty Pryde, indicates that we might see the beginnings of their long-running love story.

Which is the cat's pajamas, far as I'm concerned.

X3 has been plagued with problems, from the contractual wrangles between Bryan Singer and the Fox brass, to the last-minute loss of director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) and last-minute addition of Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1 and 2, Red Dragon). The online community has already begun its doomsaying, and with rumors rampant that the script is less-than-perfect, Fox seems in danger of damaging its flagship comic book franchise.

I'm less critical of pre-production nonsense than a lot of folks here in cyberspace. I tend to think that on-set drama, friction, and difficulty generally lead to better movies. Singer's first two X-films were rife with that sort of stuff. Reportedly, Halle Berry and Singer were like oil and water, and Singer's "serious and darker" vision for the sequel (his constant frame of film reference for X2 in interviews was the Empire Strikes Back) made a lot of execs at Fox very nervous. So I'm of the opinion that the whole mess could turn out just fine.

Unfortunately, Penguin Sex Is A Pretty Drab Affair.

I don't know what is funnier - that the above sentence is from a "Serious" paper on the evil of homosexuality, or that the author seems disappointed at the lack of excitement involved in aquatic waterfowl intercourse.

According to Le Genius, animals and humans are, like, WAY different from each other. Animals do all sorts of things that human beings frown upon. Such as:

Compete with other males for the opportunity to have sex with a particular female; often killing or debilitating the rival!

Discriminate against and kill ‘aliens' to their particular territory or tribe!

Let the males just about always get their way (e.g., eat first, win any spats)!

Lord knows, we humans would never do any of those things. And certainly, we frown upon them. Unless, of course, by competing with other males, you mean punching out the guy who just hit on your girlfriend. Or, if by killing the rival, you mean challenging someone to a duel, a gunfight, a war, or a jaunty match of fisticuffs. Nor would we let males "just about always" get their way. Unless we felt that the feminists were getting just a little big for their britches.

Most of all, we would NEVER discriminate against or kill "aliens" to a particular territory or tribe. Unless they were black, and we decided to lynch them. Or gay, and we decided that marriage was just a little too good for the likes of them. Or that the concept of homosexuality was sinful and disgusting and something to be disdained, or preferably eradicated.

Did you know that homosexuals "frequently seek to 'convert' others, particularly the young, to their sexual tastes"? You did? Well, did you know they are "generally rebellious, unstable, and troubled"? Or that they "are more frequently criminal"? Surely you knew that they "are less productive in terms of fertility, raising well-bred children, and in their economic contributions." That only makes sense, as the entire lot of them are also "more self-centered, selfish, and self-concerned."

But, "Unfortunately, in their zeal to justify human homosexuality at any cost, such reasoning seems to have escaped those at the New York Times , the American Psychiatric Association , and even the U.S. Supreme Court."

Yes, this anonymous Genius is smarter than the Supreme Court. Isn't it obvious?

Go here (http://www.familyresearchinst.org/FRR_04_07.html) and weep.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Latoyia Figueroa Is Missing

UPDATE!
CNN has started running Latoyia's picture and information, which is excellent news for her and her family. Still, the difference in coverage is like night and day. The Aruba girl and the Runaway Bride had constant running national coverage. Latoyia's is in small nuggets of a few minutes.

I hope she's found. If she is, it'll be because her family and a group of concerned citizens pushed the issue.

ORIGINAL POST
It's funny...I was just commenting to someone the other day about how all the "Missing Children" and "Missing Adult" reports you see on television and in the newspapers are of white people.

I can't remember a single concentrated campaign of media attention for a minority, and I've tried hard to think back.

Well, Latoyia Figueroa is missing. And pregnant. And she's left a seven year old child behind. The blog that's reported this (along with an unnecessarily, but understandably, snarky letter to CNN from a family member) has requested that no matter the size of a blog's readership, we help spread the word about her.

Here's the site: http://allspinzone.com/blog/index.php?itemid=940

If you've seen her, or can in any way pass this information along, please do so. You can't help or save everyone, but every little bit helps.

Farewell Radiance

I've never understood people with a cd collection numbering in the double digits. Music is life to me, and I'm constantly finding new bands, new sounds, and new songs that move me.

It's a great feeling, then, to listen to your brother's band and genuinely love them. Adam has been playing locally in Boston for years now; first with Trustfall, then with the emo-core band, Absolve, and now with Farewell Radiance.

If, as I do, you need an occasional jolt of grinding, savage hard-core metal, then Farewell Radiance is worth your time. "Hold On To Your Ghost" is their first release, and besides having a killer title, its also a blissfully punishing trip that manages moments of truly beautiful melody and harmony.

Few things are as simple and sweet as getting in on the ground floor for talent that's on the rise. Well, they're moving up fast. Jump on now.

http://www.farewellradiance.com/

Fox Breaking News! Partisan News Outlet Grasps Straws!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,163777,00.html

WASHINGTON — Outed CIA spy Valerie Plame last fall
gave a campaign contribution to go toward an anti-Bush fund-raising concert
starring Bruce Springsteen, it was revealed Tuesday night.
It's the first revelation that Plame participated in anti-Bush political activity while working
for the CIA.

The $372 donation to the anti-Bush group America Coming Together...covered two tickets.

The Federal Election Commission (
search) record lists her occupation as "retired"
even though she's still a CIA staffer. Under employer it says: "N.A."

CIA rules allow campaign contributions, but the fact that Plame gave money to the anti-Bush effort is likely to raise eyebrows.
Federal rules require a political-action committee to ask all donors to list their
employers.
"You don't have to provide it, but if you do, you shouldn't provide false information on those forms — like saying you're retired if you're not," said Larry Noble of the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.



The continued attempts to throw doubt over Plame and her husband in an effort to weasel out of a serious Federal offense would be infuriating if it weren't so laughably executed and wafer-thin. What, exactly, is Fox's story here? That the "Contribution" Plame made (apparently, the purchase price of two concert tickets to see Bruce Springsteen) was legal? Is it that Plame lists herself as "retired" in the Federal Election Commission record?

I was under the impression that, until Rove and his buddies in the Media outed her, Plame was a NOC agent. That is, a secret agent who disavows any working relationship with our government, and who would be disavowed by OUR government if she were ever compromised. Would that not be a good reason not to list "CIA employee" in the record? Maybe? And even if that weren't the reason, apparently, you don't have to provide this information in the first place. So what is Fox telling us, exactly? That on a financial disclosure form she was not required to provide, Mrs. Wilson was open and honest about her contribution, but made either a careless error or a calculated decision not to blow her cover when filling it out?

Of course, its not what this "Report" actually says. It's about the feeling its supposed to convey. She gave money to an Anti-Bush group? She must be against the party! Allegiance to the party is all! If she is not loyal, she must be a traitor! Load her onto the vegetable oil fueled Fonda bus and send her on her way!

Pathetic.

Why Talk About This, When There's Whacko-Jacko Smacking To Be Done?

Tom Tomorrow is a very dry, very funny political cartoonist whose work is published in NYC's own Village Voice, and can also be seen on Salon.com (click here to see this week's at Salon. It's free. They just make you sit through a brief ad: http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2005/07/25/tomo/index.html)

He's also a great blogger, and keeps me informed on things I might not otherwise be aware of. I've always thought of patriots as people who love their country enough to fight for it, and Tom is definately one of those people. He does his fightin' with a pen and a savage yet somehow still hopeful wit. His America sounds a lot like mine. A place where our government behaves like a democracy, not a theocracy and not a dictatorship. He's level-headed, mostly, and though I disagree with him sometimes, more often than not I find myself richer for having visited his site. Today, he points us to "Billmon," who has this fascinating timeline (re-posted in part. For the full, go to www.thismodernworld.com):

Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. The lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan late Thursday that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material.
New York Times
Government Defies an Order to Release Iraq Abuse PhotosJuly 23, 2005

A judge has ordered the government to release four videos from
Abu Ghraib prison and dozens of photographs from the same collection of photos
that touched off the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal a year ago ... Judge Alvin
Hellerstein said the 144 pictures and videos can be turned over in edited form
to protect the victims' identities.
Associated Press
Army told to release abuse videos June 3,

Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about ... The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.
Seymour Hersh
Remarks at ACLU's 2004 America at a Crossroads conference July 7, 2004

Pictures of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing with hooded and bound detainees during mock executions were destroyed after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq to avoid another public outrage, Army documents released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union show.
Associated Press
Army destroyed mock execution picturesFebruary 18, 2005

The Department of Defense is working to find ways to ... better inform the public of our many and varied activities on their behalf. And like other large unwieldy bureaucracies, we are doing this through a process of trial and error, and, therefore, imperfectly.
Donald Rumsfeld
War of the WordsJuly 18, 2005

Memo To Hollywood: Your Movies Suck.

We've all read reports on the state of the film industry today. How people aren't going to the movies as much. How theater attendence is down. A lot of explanations are offered up, including the growth of the DVD market, and of course, film piracy; But the simple truth of the matter is that films are, by and large, pretty fucking awful right now. Add to that the ludicrous amount of money we're expected to pay for said awful films (In NYC it's up to $10.75), and you have a recipe for staying home.

I consider myself a relatively easy-to-please individual when it comes to my entertainment. This self-observation has been seconded by my girlfriend, who cannot understand the inherent appeal of anthropomorphic foodstuffs, as well as by my closer friends, who do not see the comic book film genre with the same acceptant, open, eager eyes that I do.

Yet, lately, film is boring me. As blanket over-generalizations go this one isn't even that extreme. Yes, I liked War of the Worlds. Fantastic Four was fun. But by and large the overwhelming majority of films being released would not entice me into a movie seat if they were offering free Barbeque. And I like Barbeque.

I'm lucky enough that I live in NYC, where my options as a filmgoer surpass most of the civilized world's - and so my own situation isn't too shabby. The rest of the country, however, is not so lucky. And while this summer has seen a marked improvement in terms of general quality of mainstream films, that's like saying that this time you got a C instead of a D.

How many times have I seen the upcoming "Must Love Dogs"? I'd guess that the number is close to 100. And yet, the movie has not been released. How is that possible? Because EVERY "romantic comedy" of the past fifty years is "Must Love Dogs." It's gotten to the point now where the astute filmgoer can predict the entire plot of a film before they see it based solely on the trailer (Which, come to think of it, isn't hard - considering that they often show the entire film in clip form in the trailer).

To prove the point: I've seen that Stealth trailer now more times than I care to count, and I'm pretty sure I've got the entire thing plotted. Would someone who has seen it tell me if I'm right? :

Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas (who should play Captain America), and Jamie Foxx are three hot-shot Naval pilots who, despite ranking at the top of the military food chain, are still brash, take-no-shit, "I'll follow your orders when I think they're the RIGHT orders" kind of people.

Lucas, as the down-home all-american former quarterback type, is the more grounded one. Biel is the tough-as-nails feminist who's surprisingly comfortable walking around like an underwear super-model. Foxx is the plucky comic relief-turned final act co-hero.

Lucas is either involved with Biel, or with a superfluous Meg Ryan in Top Gun blonde. He will, of course, die tragically. This will probably galvanize the formerly more laid back and cocksure Foxx, as well as the almost-certainly grief-stricken Biel, into action.

Lucas has to die, you see, because the old Hollywood paradigm about the black guy dying in the second act has been replaced by the new paradigm about the white guy dying and the black man/woman (ideally, a black woman) saves the day.

All of this sturm und drang will occur across an eerily unreal backdrop of CGI superplanes, whose sole purpose in the film will be to remind audience members that they could be playing this movie as a video game at home, and without the clumsy plot or stock characters.

How'd I do?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Right Wing "Funny" Business

I consider myself an educated man, but would someone be so kind as to explain the humor of this State of the Union (by Carl Moore) strip to me? I've narrowed the punchline down to one of the two following permutations:

A) "Hip" people, i.e., godless heathen libs, are so overly-p.c. that we would introduce dolls as "kooky" and "over the top" as a Native American, a transvestite, or a lesbian.

B) Our culture is a morally degenerate cesspool wherein children are encouraged to accept and even play with toys that represent the worst of what a godless, heathen society has to offer: Namely, married gays, transvestites, and, inexplicably, Native Americans.

That's really what spins my head about this particular cartoon. What the hell is "Nancy Navajo" doing in there? Is the cartoonist here actually suggesting that its overly p.c. to produce a Native American doll for children? Or, more bewilderingly, that a Native American is somehow as "morally degenerate" as a lesbian?

What's the punchline to this thing? Is this funny? To me it seems sort of angry and a little weird.
But that's a trend with what has been labeled "Right-thinking" comic strips. They aren't funny. They're lecturing, pedantic, and a little sad. Case in point: Mallard Fillmore.

The Daily Show's "America the Book" lampooned Mallard Fillmore with an inspired parody strip that mocks its seeming humorlessness. Essentially two panels of Fillmore complaining about liberals, it ends with a final panel of Fillmore squawking at the reader: "Wait! I forgot to tell a joke!"

Well, apparently, Fillmore's creator (someone named "Tinsley") can't TAKE a joke either, because earlier this month he created a rebuttal strip:


The last I checked, parody and deception were two remarkably different concepts. That a "funny pages" writer does not seem to understand this speaks words for his strip's overall quality.

And Stewart's parody of the strip seems even more dead-on accurate after reading the above-posted Fillmore original. Tinsley's punchline is awkward and sort of nasty. Which would be fine, if it were funny. But its not. It just seems vindictive, and small.

Which, I guess brings me to an interesting question, albeit in the most roundabout way possible: Are all the funny people on the left? It sure seems like it. I can't think of a single staunch Republican that I find funny. Dennis Miller? Not funny. Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Possibly. But I honestly don't know what they believe. I'd have thought them liberal after so many seasons of South Park, but Team America indicates a vastly different worldview. In the end, I think they're nihilists with a soft chewy center.

But are there any others? And if the answer is no, why is that the case?

Monday, July 25, 2005

"My Experience Is That Virtue Is Unrelated To Sexuality"

Jon Stewart continues to be the single best talking head on television.

The man can tell poop jokes one minute, and turn around to intelligently debate the legitimacy of the anti-Gay Marriage movement the next.

His discussion tonight, on the issue of Gay Marriage, was interesting, smart, funny, and fascinating. Frankly, the half-hour comedy format his show employs keeps him from maturing into the hard-hitting interviewer he should be. I love his comedy, and his writers are brilliant at skewering both sides of the political farce, but I'd love to see him expand the central interview segment to allow for more of what I saw in tonight's discussion.

The title quote comes from that discussion, and was recieved with a huge round of applause.

Additionally, Rick Santorum came off as admirably calm and reasoned throughout. I still think he's incredibly wrong about a lot of things, but it was nice to see a conservative engage in intelligent debate without resorting to verbal firebombs or overblown rhetoric. Kudos to him.

Sure Way To Start A Fistfight


Good taste, thy name is Neo-Con.

Plain and simple - If I see anyone sporting this "Made in the USA" t-shirt anywhere in my general vicinity I will bitch-slap them so hard their grandchildren will ache when it rains. Seriously.

The callous exploitation of tragedy and bewilderingly savage denigration of political opponents is a singularly Neo-Conservative trait. Yet another reason I will never count myself amongst their numbers.