Monday, February 27, 2006


My theory is that Crash will win best picture. Why? Because there are enough homophobic old timers in the industry who will just not be able to bring themselves to vote for a gay cowboy movie (that they never watched). But they're enlightened enough to vote for that "anti-racism" movie and thus Crash will win.

I would like to see Matt Dillon win for Crash but I suspect it will be George Clooney for supporting actor. Rachel Weisz for supporting actress. Probably Philip Seymour Hoffman for best actor, even though Heath Ledger may equally deserve it. Reese Witherspoon is a lock for best actress.

Of course, the only one of the films up for best film that I've seen is Crash. I would like to have seen them all but I don't like the theater experience so I usually wait for DVD (which is where I saw Crash). The last time I saw a film in the theater was Harry Potter and a woman next to me screamed at a mildly scary scene and spent the next 10 minutes getting over it. Between that kind of thing and cellphones, food crunching, etc. -- I'd rather wait for the DVD.

I don't plan to watch -- I rarely do -- but I hope Jon Stewart is funny.

Excellent Health Care Analogy

Read this on Kevin Drum's blog -- its from "Blink" author Malcolm Gladwell:

...the idea of employer-based health care is just plain stupid — and only our familiarity with it and sheer inertia prevent us from rising up in rebellion.

I always try to think of a suitable analogy and fail. The closest I can come is to imagine if we had employer-based subways in New York. You could ride the subway if you had a job. But if you lost your job, you would either have to walk or pay a prohibitively expensive subway surcharge. Of course, if you lost your job you would need the subway more than ever, because you couldn't afford taxis and you would need to travel around looking for work. Right? In any case, what logical connection is there between employment and transporation? If you can answer that question, you can solve the riddle of the U.S. health care system.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Union Angle on Ports Deal

I've heard mentioned that one of the ulterior motives behind the ports deal is to break the longshoremen's and other unions that represent port workers. That's something that would be very appealing to Bushco.

The Olympics No One is Watching

The closing ceremonies of the Torino (Turin) games are Sunday and I'll bet you haven't watched a minute of the Olympics. The ratings indicate few Americans are watching -- although millions are watching that freak show American Idol.

I actually have watched a fair amount of the Olympics, partly because I am home a lot during the day (being unemployed). So I have seen my favorite winter Olympics sport, biathalon, quite a bit. If you don't know, this is cross country skiing and target shooting with a rifle -- very cool.

I have also seen endless hours of the world's weirdest sport, curling. Yes, it is even weirder than cricket. Having grown up in border cities, I have seen curling on TV all my life on Canadian TV, but I will never understand or appreciate it.

I also like speed skating, but not short track, and the bobsled-luge type sports, especially skeleton which I did not see at all. The skiing gets mighty boring after awhile, although I like the ski jumping. I don't care for the X Games sports or hockey, and I just can't stand figure skating or the even more ridiculous ice dancing.

One thing that has just irked me, although not surprised me, is NBC's soap opera coverage of the games. They can't just cover the events and tell us a little about the athletes -- they have to build up these ridiculous junior high like relationship conflicts. They have focused so relentlessly on the Shani Davis Chad Hedrick disagreement -- its insane. But given that's the way elections and politicians are covered in this country, its no surprise.

And I am proud to say I have not watched minute one of America's favorite freak show this season and I intend to keep it that way.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Progressive vs. Liberal

I heard the liberal mayor of Eugene, Oregon, on the Al Franken Show last week saying she prefers liberal over progressive. Wrong. I am proud to be a liberal, but progressive is the better term. Why? Because it implies that the other side is regressive. This is pure Lakoff -- he points out that Bushco uses the term "tax relief" because it implies that there is something that is painful and requires relief. So progressive gives us lots of opportunities to call the other side regressive without actually saying it.

America for Sale

Sometimes progressives just don't know a good thing when it falls into their laps. Instead of discussing whether giving the ports contract to a company owned by the UAE government is a good or bad idea, we should've come out swinging, screaming that it appears under this administration that America's security is for sale. I'm sure other examples of this could've been found fairly quickly. We could've had the upper hand in the media cycle of this story within hours. The time has passed when we can sit back and hope they shoot themselves in the foot. They've done it time and time again, but the media still doesn't understand how unpopular Bush and his schtick is (his popularity is at 39% in the lastest polls). It really doesn't matter whether the ports contract is a good or bad thing -- what matters is the media cycle and what progressives need to do to constantly make Bushco look bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

May the Force be with Democrats

Finally! George Lucas makes a political statement:

George Lucas on declaring that the Force is with the Democrats: "The emperor works behind Darth Vader, he doesn't actually stand in front. I say that in fear of getting hit with a lot of buckshot."

This goes along with the Daily Show's nothing that Cheney is always accompanied by that egg thing that Darth Vader sleeps in.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Muslim Cartoon Furor

I know I'm late to this party, but my take on this is the same as its always been regading this clash of cultures. Despite the presence of our own religious fundamentalists (who are a minority -- vocal, but small in numbers), the West had an Enlightenment and the Islamic world never has. We cherish things like individualism, personal freedom, democratic governments and freedom of expression that a whole bunch of the Islamic world has never experienced or understood. So when they get up in arms (literally) about something we cherish because it offends them, my response is that their response offends me. Not eloquently put, but you understand what I mean.

Buy Danish (and read about their conduct during WWII -- quite interesting how they handled the Nazis and protected Jews).


OK, I admit I'm a sucker for this "We Are the World" stuff. Maybe its because I was a little kid in the early '60s and bought into the "we are all one" vision of things like the Peace Corps and the Beatles. Anyway, I always watch the Olympics opening ceremonies and last night was no exception.

It was all a little too Europop for me and typically weird. But I did enjoy seeing and hearing Pavarotti singing the great "Nessun Dorma," and even if his voice isn't so great anymore (hey, he's 70 years old!) it was still wonderful. And no Bjork, which is a blessing in itself. I also liked seeing the women carrying in the Olympic flag (including Sophia Loren -- 71 and still looks fantastic! -- Isabel Allende and Nobel prize winner Wangari Maathai Kenya). Good to see Yoko, too, and to hear "Imagine" even if Peter Gabriel's interpretation was a little strange.

NBC, however, sucks and I am not looking forward to two weeks of their crappy coverage. Makes me yearn for the days when I lived in northern US border cities and could watch Olympics coverage on the CBC.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

We Are the Frogs...

If you throw a frog into boiling water, he will jump out, but if you increase the heat of the water slowly, he will get accustomed to the increasing heat and eventually get cooked.

The temperature is rising...


Cindy Sheehan gets arrested and roughed up by cops for wearing an anti-war T-shirt (which she had been wearing all that day before attending the SOTU by invitation) yet the wife of a congressman wears a pro-war T-shirt, gets asked to change, resists and calls the cops idiots -- and she is not arrested! What a country! Read this.

Stand for Something

There seems to be a split among Democrats: those who think we need to establish who we are and what we stand for in the minds of voters and those who say we need to win elections. The latter are fools -- we will never win elections if the voters don't perceive us as principled and gutsy and an alternative to the creeps currently in office. It doesn't matter if you win elections with morons who don't vote for what our party stands for (like any Democrat who voted for the bankruptcy bill is not someone deserving of the support of most people in America who will be adversely affected by it). The Republicans spent 30 years losing elections but making their case -- now everyone knows what they stand for, or at least what they want us to think they stand for while they hide their true agenda (they'd lose every election if it was generally understood that they support the rich and big business and are fucking over the rest of us). That's also why the fight over Alito was important -- not that we could ever stop him from becoming a justice, but so that when he and Roberts and Thomas and Scalia begin changing our way of life, it would be clear to voters who to blame -- and it wouldn't be the Democrats who fought against the guy. So its not all about winning elections -- its about making our party boldly different from Republicans, vehemently for the little guy and loudly in opposition to what Republicans are doing to destroy our way of life. If we do that, winning elections will follow.