Don’t Let The Fearmongers Screw You Out Of Improved Healthcare

[UPDATE: The original video went away, so I found another source. The link to it is below.]

You may not know who to listen to in the healthcare debate. But I’ll tell you who not to listen to: anyone who is obviously and cravenly feeding you bullshit in order to scare you.


How stupid do you have to be to buy into this nonsense?

Jon Stewart, National Treasure

Jon Stewart at his best, taking conservatives to task for the escalating hissy-fits they’ve been throwing since they legitimately lost an election (as opposed to illegitimately winning one)…

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North East West South 3/1/2009

N.E.W.S. of the day…with smartassery.

Bobby Jindal: i can haz gravitaz?

For those who were worried that the loss of George W. Bush would be a terrible blow to comedians across the land, rest assured that the Republican Party is just as dedicated to providing buffoons for us to laugh at as it is to promoting tax cuts for the idle rich as the only solution for everything from genital warts to possible catastrophic asteroid collision.

Sarah Palin and Joe the Unlicensed Plumber Not Named Joe were great buffoons, and Rush Limbaugh has really been pulling his weight lately, but ladies and gents, we have a new champeen: Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Knowing they couldn’t beat President Obama on charm or substance, the GOP wisely chose to beat him on laughs, and pulled the goofiest Joker from their misbegotten deck to provide the official Republican response to Obama’s big speech before Congress.

Jindal is another entry in the new Minstrel Show the Republicans are putting on to show that they have colored folks too, and are, in the words of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, “off the hook.” (And Steele himself is quite the Negro, apparently, since Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman told him “Michael Steele! You be da man! You be da man!”) (And Bachman herself recently bemoaned the tragic circumstance that “we’re running out of rich people in this country…” and I could just keep digressing and digressing at the idiocy this party has to offer, but I am supposed to be talking about Jindal right now…)

Jindal came bobbing onto screen and started talking in a Gomer-Pyle-with-a-head-wound way that seemed to uncannily channel Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock (this observation is in no way original to me, it’s all over the net, and Jack McBrayer even went on The Late Show in character to comment on it). Not only did he come across as an idiot, he told a dramatic story about how he courageously stood up to government bureaucracy during rescue operations during Hurricane Katrina which his office has now been forced to acknowledge was a lie.

But Jindal’s creds as a lackwit go far deeper than his performance after Obama’s speech. Much like Sarah Palin, Bobby has been involved in spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness, and while Sarah was only blessed by a minister who has driven witches out of their homes in Africa, the Bobster himself took part in exorcising a demon out of his best friend Susan:

Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. . . Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.

It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence “Jesus is Lord.” Over and over, she repeated “Jesus is L..L..LL,” often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed “Jesus is Lord.”

Palin/Jindal 2012? There’s something worth praying for.

Mermaid Dreams

When she was a little girl, Nadya Vessey lost both her legs below the knee. As an adult, she wrote to New Zealand special effects powerhouse Weta Workshop (the guys who made the Lord of the Rings movies so freaking amazing) and asked if they’d create a prosthetic for her that would make her into a mermaid. They did.

I don’t have much to say about this, really, only that it’s just cool as hell that they did this for her. Both onscreen and offscreen, Weta apparently sees their mission as bringing magic into the world.

North East West & South 2/5/2009

N.E.W.S. of the day…with smartassery.

Obama Needs To Listen To The GOP’s New Leader

The Republican National Committee has a new dude up top, named Michael Steele. As Sarah Palin was a “get on that bandwagon” choice to show that Republicans can do a Hilary too (which showed, instead, not so much), the choice of Steele (who is one of, what, one black guys in the party?) is their attempt to show they can have black folks too.

But I have to admit, so far he has shown a grasp of certain matters that I think President Obama needs to heed. Steele says that bipartisanship is overrated, and I think he is absolutely correct. Bipartisanship to Democrats is “Let’s give the other side input and try to reason things out.” Bipartisanship to Republicans is “If we’re in power, fuck you guys; if you’re in power, you need to do what we want you to do.” It’s time Democrats learned that expecting any actual attempt at cooperation from the GOP is akin to teaching table manners to a hagfish. It never works.

It’s not like they have anything to bring to the table for reasonable discussion. Look at our country, and our planet, after eight years of their rule. The further we get from letting them have their way, about anything, the better. They do not want bipartisanship, they want to stand in the way till they can claw their way back to power. Obama, so far, is taking the high road too much, and may find it runs off a cliff. He wouldn’t be the first Democrat to find that out.

The stimulus plan passed in the House with how many Republican votes? None. There’s their reply to your attempts at bipartisanship, Barack. There’s their answer to your attempts at including them, honoring them, showing them respect.

Additionally, after Rush Limbaugh made comments about how he’s hoping for Obama to fail (at this time where so much is going wrong, and we’re still at war on two fronts), a large amount of Republicans have re-embraced him as the near-official mouth of their party. Partisanship is the Republican creed, and we need to put patriotism, to our country, our species, and our planet, first.

The GOP, as it stands, is in well-earned decline, and until it is replaced by something that at least makes an attempt at serving our county’s best interests, needs to be ignored as much as possible. It’s a rabid mutt in the yard, and needs to be chased off, not fed with the family dog.

Christian Fucking Bale

I haven’t watched the video of Christian Bale going apeshit on Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut, but references to it are all over the place. It’s painful to see, because I admire Bale a great deal as an actor, and you do want to believe in the folks you admire, but he did lose it in front of a camera, so that’s the chance you take. And while people think they know famous people, they really don’t, and for all I know, Bale is a monster of a man.

Or he may be a saint who was having a rotten day. I don’t know. I don’t actually care, as long as he’s not actually victimizing anyone and is doing a good job in the movies.

I am sympathetic to Bale in this matter, however, based on having read the backstory of the video. Bale is a very intense method actor, who puts himself deeply into character, and Hurlbut apparently kept doing things like tweaking light setups during the actual filming of scenes, which is a no-no. When a scene is being filmed, it’s crucial that no one is moving around in the actors’ sight-lines, much less doing something as distracting as moving the damned lights around. And Bale had politely asked him several times to stop doing this, and it hadn’t worked. Finally, he blew a scene for Bale, who was no doubt worked up within his character, and the actor lost it.

What Bale might have done was just pull rank and have the asshole fired, but he didn’t. He just vented loudly, since simply asking the guy to not do these things hadn’t worked, then let it go and said let’s get back to work, likely hoping the message would stick this time.

The bad guy here is director McG, who should never have let this become an issue on his set. But one gets the impression McG’s not exactly Scorsese anyway.

Another Buggy Release From Bill Gates

As reported on Yahoo:

Microsoft founder turned disease-battling philanthropist Bill Gates loosed mosquitoes at an elite Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria. “Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,” Gates said while opening a jar onstage at a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars. “I brought some. Here I’ll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected.” Gates waited a minute or so before assuring the audience the liberated insects were malaria-free.

Kudos to Bill Gates, who left Microsoft and started a charitable foundation with his wife that has been far more than just a philanthropic mask like those worn by many other wealthy people. Gates is actually trying to do something positive with his money, like helping millions of people worldwide in the fight against malaria.

“There is more money put into baldness drugs than into malaria,” Gates joked. “Now, baldness is a terrible thing and rich men are afflicted. That is why that priority has been set.”

Yeah, Gates is also known for many questionable business tactics over the years, but that doesn’t seem to be where his head’s at anymore. At a time we’re seeing the results of our nation’s coddling of greedy people, it’s awesome to see him out there giving back to the world that gave to him.

The Omega Turd

It’s cold comfort, after eight years,  degradation of the Constitution, loss of global respect, the near destruction of of our economy, and hundreds of thousands of deaths, but the majority of Americans have, indeed, finally recognized that George W. Bush is the Omega Turd of U.S. presidents:

President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush’s final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush’s final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.

The rating is far below the final ratings of recent two-term presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who both ended their terms with a 68 percent approval rating, according to CBS News

Recent one term presidents also had higher ratings than Mr. Bush. His father George H.W. Bush had an end-of-term rating of 54 percent, while Jimmy Carter’s rating was 44 percent.

Source: CBS News

And Dick Cheney? He’s leaving office with a 13% approval rating.

Good Memories of 2008

Some things I enjoyed last year, in no particular order…

The Dark Knight. I could say, with great conviction, that this was the best movie of 2008, but I actually didn’t see anywhere close to all the movies released, so that’d be pretty presumptuous of me. It was definitely the best new film I saw, and the Batman movie I’ve wanted to see since my age was in single digits. Batman Begins was damn near perfect (Katie Holmes notwithstanding), and The Dark Knight took everything that worked in Begins and improved upon it. It’s not just a great superhero movie, it’s a damn good film, a high caliber crime thriller, beautifully made, masterfully written, full of great performances, politically topical, just amazing. And the Joker’s bit with a pencil is the best bit of sleight of hand I’ve seen in years.

For the record, I also loved Iron Man and Hellboy 2, and Bolt was wonderful.

Barack Obama. Morning in America, Superman leading the Justice League to victory against the Injustice League, a black man taking the highest office in the land, an antidote to the small-minded, soulless corruption of the past decade in American life. Here’s hoping he lives up to his promise.

Mad Men. TV by and for smart people. This show is ridiculously entertaining, and operates on so many levels that it actually triggers synaptic action in the brain, a rarity on television.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Joss Whedon adds another classic to his resume, and becomes an internet pioneer at the same time. Songs good enough I get them stuck in my head for days and don’t mind. Hilarious wit laced with deep darkness and pathos. The lovely Felicia Day. And Bad Horse, of course, of course.

Doc Wilde. I received the galleys (advance reading copies) of my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, and after years of dragging my ass on my dream, it felt great to be able to hold a novel I wrote in my hands, flip through its pages seeing all these paragraphs I crafted, and stare at the cover and see the faces of my characters as they will meet their audience in bookstores. Not to mention reading over and over the great blurbs from Daniel Pinkwater and Quentin Dodd. They like me! They really like me!

Um…excuse my Sally Field moment there.

3o Rock. And Tina Fey in general. I’d never watched this show, though I was interested, because I try to keep my TV viewing down, and often avoid shows I suspect I’ll love. I finally broke down and watched the pilot episode, which resulted in days of binge-watching my way through seasons one and two and three. I’m caught up, and eagerly awaiting the show’s return. This show’s funny as hell, Tina Fey’s a marvel, Alec Baldwin gets to showcase his incredible comic skills, and Tracy Morgan’s a delirious delight.

Facebook. I wasn’t interested in Facebook. I was very cynical about it, saw no use for it. But wiser folks encouraged me to use it at the very least as a tool to make myself available to people interested in my writing, so I signed on. That wasn’t that long ago, but I’m already in steady contact with people I lost over the years, people in the writing and publishing community to learn from, new friends, old enemies (amazing how time and a viable net interface can make old grudges seem beneath notice), and people with similar interests with whom to share ideas and discoveries…

Pulp fiction. I’ve been reading a lot of classic pulp, and thoroughly enjoying it. I have enough to say about this that I’ll be tackling it in another post.

Joss Whedon. In retrospect, I should have just put Dr Horrible here. Leave it to Joss to earn a category all his own on my list of joy. In addition to the musical magic of the Sing-Along Blog, Joss gave the world season 8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in comic book form, continuing Buffy’s adventures with panache and wit and emotional depth (the issues are collected in paperback, starting with The Long Way Home).

Also in comics, Joss wrote 25 issues of Astonishing X-Men, with amazing art by John Cassaday, which have also been collected. I got the second hardback collection recently and literally had tears in my eyes when I finished.

And, of course, Joss’s earlier work continues to provide enjoyment. I got to watch both Buffy and Angel from start to finish with my son this year, which I’d looked forward to doing for years, and it was awesome. Which brings me to:

My son. Nathaniel has adapted to the sundering of his family and the resulting radical changes in his life with great cheer and flexibility, and I admire and respect him for that. He remains, as always, the brightest star in my firmament, the only unceasing source of joy and meaning in my life.

God I Love Sarah Silverman (and envy Matt Damon)

Here we see a video by the lovely, profane, and lovely comedian Sarah Silverman, in which she tries to convince young Jewish voters to visit their grandparents in Florida to get them to vote for Obama.

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