Saturday, January 31, 2009
I am going to Miami in March, for a conference. I checked out Amtrak because commercial flying is like riding a bus. $1200 one way, with a small sleeper instead of just a seat from DC to Miami and back. It would take 2 days. Thats $2400 round trip, compared to about $400 to fly.
I also checked out driving: 23 hrs. It would take me two days.
So I am flying to Miami.
Hopefully I wont get the seat next to the toilet.
I just find this so amazing! Even after searching journalists before the press conference with pres Bush and the Iraqi President, a journalist finds a way to express the opinion of the Iraq people - - he throws his shoes at Pres Bush. How do you stop an insurgency? Ultimately, no amount of troops can do it, nor can payoffs to tribal chiefs, putting former Sunni insurgents on the payroll (bribing them to stop the attacks against our troops). We spend so much on military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and just a fraction on rebuilding the countries. We have not addressed the refuge problem. To my knowledge we are not helping Syria with the millions of Iraqs who are now living in Syria, or the millions of Afghans living in Iran. Remember the big sendoff Sec. Rumsfeld received when he resigned? Pres. Bush should have thrown his shoe at Rumsfeld instead of giving him a state farewell. Of the books I have read on Bush #43, he admired Ronald Reagan, even tried the cowboy look that Reagan perfected, projecting an image of traditional values (the guy with the white hat cleaning out the lawless liberals from the town). Like Reagan, Bush delegated authority to his cabinet. The story about Bremer (the former General who was head of the Iraq authority during post invasion Iraq) coming back to US after he handed over authority (?) to the civilian Iraqi gov: he meets with Rumsfeld (his boss) and Rumsfeld is dismissive, doesn't talk about the obvious problems (banning Baath party members from gov, disbanding Iraqi army, the growing insurgency), and then they end up at white house for Bremer to have Pres. bush tell him what a great job he did. Bremer meets briefly with Bush, Bush seems oblivious to the situation in Iraq, tells Bremer what a great job he did (? !) and Bremer leaves, after about 7 min or so in oval office. The author of the book asked Bremer, since you had a chance to talk to the Pres, did you tell him what is going on in Iraq? The slow moving train wreck disaster? Bremer (a career officer) says, no - Its not his place, since Bremer reports to Rumsfeld, its Rumsfeld's job to inform the President. But the author asks, wasn't it clear Bush didnt know what was really going on in Iraq, because Rumsfeld was feeding him feel good reports and keeping Bush in Happy Land? Bremer says, it wasn't his job or place to contradict Rumsfeld. !!!!! Bush was detached, he delegated and his cabinet didnt give him the real story - Did Rumsfeld think Bush was too dense to understand the situation in Iraq? That it was Bush's job to look presidential and play the role of President, while his staff handled the important hard stuff? And Bush's last press conference was bizarre - he defended himself, became angry, and then said he was the "decider," and that history would remember him as the guy who made tough decisions....Its not the fact that a decision has been made, its the nature of the decision that is important. bush made decisions alright, based on what BS his cabinet told him, decisions that his cabinet wanted him to make given the data they gave him. he was manipulated by Cheney and Rumsfeld and only "thought" he was making decisions.
The entire Press corps should have thrown their shoes at Pres Bush at his last press conference. Or, is it true that before Bush's last press conference, that the secret service made everyone in the room take their shoes off and check them at the door?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Obama has class. During demo candidate debates, he prompted Bill Richardson when Bill wasn't paying attention and missed a questions. Obama whispered, "Katrina," and Bill was able to give an answer, and thanked Obama afterward. Obama could have just stood there and watched bill drown, but he gave him a hand. then, at end of second Pres debate, McCain wanders in front of Brokaw's teleprompter. McCain looked lost, Brokaw didn't know what to do, so Obama ALSO stood in front of the prompter, and now both were in the way. At that point McCain knew what was happening and moved. Instead of just standing there and watching McCain look lost (like an old man) Obama also stood in front of the prompter, suggesting that standing there was ok, something both McCain and Obama did. he didnt have to do that. But he did, and I think it says something about his concept of fairness, grace,
Our student, Seth Sykora-Bodie, is reporting for the Houston Chronicle from the inaugural festivities. Here is his story. The picture was taken by him. He attended the Democratic National Convention as an intern with the Washington Center, it was there he met up with Houston Chronicle reporters, and he kept in touch and learned he had an opportunity to report for the Chronicle as a "student blogger" and have his stories published on the Chroncile web site.
Internships can provide fantastic opportunities.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Pres. Obama gets a new limo, 4 wheel drive, can survive rocket, rpg, or road side bomb. No bullets can touch it. It looks like a Cadillac, has a hand sewn interior, has Cadillac sheet metal on outside. Underneath, it is a GMC 2500. Plus, it has multi steel and composite components. You can drive this from Bahgdad Airport to the Green Zone very safely (maybe they should give out troops some of these).
also shown is Pres. Bush's limo - notice the car like tires, it is a stretch limo with added protection, but very different underneath than Pres. Obama's limo.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Steve Prefontaine is the greatest American runner of all time. He was short, one leg longer than the other, didnt have the "kick" of long legged runners, but he had the largest heart and lungs of anyone on the planet (according to his coach). He came in fourth at the 1972 Olympics in the 5000, was boxed in the final turn, pace was slow, favored the kickers. Prefontaine felt that he ran the pack's race, not his own. he preferred to run flat out, every race, to see how fast he could finish. It wasnt winning, it was running his best time that was important to him. had he run HIS race in 1972, he could have won the 5000. he died in a freak car accident before he could complete in the 76 Olympics. Here are some quotes of his:
A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.
Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.
You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
This movie is powerful. Anything with Tommy Lee Jones is a great movie. This movie is about a veteran of the Iraq war "disappearing" once he arrives home. His dad, a former army MP, investigates along side the local police. His determination uncovers the truth. The truth? No spoilers here. His son and his son's buddies in Iraq experienced dehumanizing events....they became numb to reality....they became dehumanized, took out their anger, their rage on one another.
"Iraq good enough." That's the phrase that is floating around Washington DC. Iraq good enough. Lets get the hell out.
The Cheney/Bush legacy: troops in Iraq for the next generation.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
here is short clip of George W. Bush turkey bowling. this is something he is good at. President? Nope. Turkey bowling? Yeah, he is a natural. and he says, "Turkeys vote," a forecast of his friendship with Karl Rove (turkeys voted him President twice, no wait, I think just once).
Joe the plumber, from the 2008 election, is now a war correspondent for pajamas tv. (pjtv.com). you may remember him from campaign, asked Sen. McCain a question about buying a plumbing business, brings in $250 K a year, whose tax plan would i benefit under. McCain said his plan. Turns out, 1) his isnt a plumber 2) he is in no place to buy a business, he has no $ 3) if he was a plumber, if he owned a company, if he brought in $250 K a year, then after his direct operating expenses, his pre tax income would be probably less than $100K, so that means OBAMA's tax plan would have benefited him best. Regardless (or irregardless, as amateur war correspondents might say), he became a "celebrity" (someone who is someone because of media attention) and is about to publish a book, talk of a film in progress, and now Gaza. This made me think, what is the most dangerous place on earth? Hmmmm. Chechnya? (the mayor lives underground in a bunker: yes, in a bunker)? Mozambique (bandits rule the countryside)? great lakes area of Africa? Columbia? Southern Lebanon? I mean I really thought about this.
Gaza has to be the most dangerous place on earth. And, on top of that, Israel is bombing Gaza, is getting ready for ground invasion. Do you know the expression, the shit hits the fan? Israel invading Gaza with ground troops would be like Elephant shit hitting a turbine. Is that a good analogy? Israel invading Gaza is like the launch of the space shuttle.....is like a comet hitting earth...is like....Israel invading southern Lebanon, only much worse.
Will joe be safe? he was asked that. Know what he said?
(paraphrased but accurate) "I am a Christian, my faith will keep me safe."
One more time: HE IS A CHRISTIAN, HE WILL BE SAFE
Does he know where he is going? He is an American, and a Christian, and he is going to Gaza thinking that will keep him safe. Have you stopped laughing yet?
Why doesn't he just walk into Gaza with a megaphone shouting, "I'm an American Rabbi, anyone want to help build a Synagogue?"
On the campaign trail Joe agreed with a McCain supporter that a vote for McCain's opponent would mean the death of Israel. We can expect some really insightful, fair and accurate reporting from this guy....(wrong!!!)
Thursday, January 08, 2009
here is movie about a Lt Col escorting a marine pvt home after the pvt's death in iraq. sounds like an amazing movie. I can't wait to see it. There is a profile of movie on Sundance web site (it was shown there) but the message board is really fu**ked up. Why do some people write messages that are so awful, rude, they would never say something like that in person.? Anyway, sounds like a great movie - it will be shown on HBO.
Here is a letter from the Lt Col who escorted Pvt. Chance Phelps back to Wyoming:
this is the link. the movie is based on the col's letter.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Target Women: great short clips exposing sexism and the "commodification of sex" (how sex is sold or how sex is used to sell)
"Current TV" is hosting Target Women, a series exposing how consumer products are sold to women spinning or flatly manipulating truth, image, to sell stuff. Here is an incredible short on how birth control is marketed - its not for sex, its for a woman's complexion, or for fewer periods. It is fascinating, thought provoking. But here is a twist, lets say you are a feminist (like me) and support a woman's right to privacy (me too again) and of course support the freedom of women to discuss birth control with their doctor (Griswald v Connecticut 1962 or 63)and to purchase prescription control at their pharmacy. But look at that short, and its clear that the drug companies do not see this as pro choice, privacy or birth control, but of a birth control product they can sell without talking a about sex. The drug companies do market research, they find out women want birth control, but are embarrassed to admit they are having sex, soooooo, the "ring" is about freedom from daily pills, convenience, great complexion, fewer periods, but is NOT about sex. Clever......but what about women who need birth control but are clueless what or how to get it (like middle school girls...right?) Selling birth control but not mentioning sex "hides" this product from consumers (girls) who need it, so where does that leave feminism? Drug companies and their marketing undercut issues or privacy or freedom of choice, because they are pretending to sell something other than what they are really selling? clear? Or too confusing? Believe me, this IS confusing.
Not since the Amazing Kreskin said "This film will show you future events that will affect you in the future," in the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space, has someone uttered so many malapropisms. Here is an AP story:
President George W. Bush will leave behind a legacy of Bushisms, the label stamped on the commander in chief's original speaking style. Some of the president's more notable malaprops and mangled statements:
• "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." — September 2000, explaining his energy policies at an event in Michigan.
• "Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?" — January 2000, during a campaign event in South Carolina.
• "They misunderestimated the compassion of our country. I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the commander in chief, too." — Sept. 26, 2001, in Langley, Va. Bush was referring to the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
• "There's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail." — Oct. 4, 2001, in Washington. Bush was remarking on a back-to-work plan after the terrorist attacks.
• "It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber." — April 10, 2002, at the White House, as Bush urged Senate passage of a broad ban on cloning.
• "I want to thank the dozens of welfare-to-work stories, the actual examples of people who made the firm and solemn commitment to work hard to embetter themselves." — April 18, 2002, at the White House.
• "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." — Sept. 17, 2002, in Nashville, Tenn.
• "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." — Aug. 5, 2004, at the signing ceremony for a defense spending bill.
• "Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." — Sept. 6, 2004, at a rally in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
• "Our most abundant energy source is coal. We have enough coal to last for 250 years, yet coal also prevents an environmental challenge." — April 20, 2005, in Washington.
• "We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job." — Sept. 20, 2005, in Gulfport, Miss.
• "I can't wait to join you in the joy of welcoming neighbors back into neighborhoods, and small businesses up and running, and cutting those ribbons that somebody is creating new jobs." — Sept. 5, 2005, when Bush met with residents of Poplarville, Miss., in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
• "It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship. After all, 60 years we were at war 60 years ago we were at war." — June 29, 2006, at the White House, where Bush met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
• "Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die." — Dec. 7, 2006, in a joint appearance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
• "These are big achievements for this country, and the people of Bulgaria ought to be proud of the achievements that they have achieved." — June 11, 2007, in Sofia, Bulgaria.
• "Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit." — September 2007, in Sydney, Australia, where Bush was attending an APEC summit.
• "Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech." April 16, 2008, at a ceremony welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the White House.
• "The fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there's jobs at the machine-making place." — May 27, 2008, in Mesa, Ariz.
• "And they have no disregard for human life." — July 15, 2008, at the White House. Bush was referring to enemy fighters in Afghanistan.
• "I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office." — June 26, 2008, during a Rose Garden news briefing.
• "Throughout our history, the words of the Declaration have inspired immigrants from around the world to set sail to our shores. These immigrants have helped transform 13 small colonies into a great and growing nation of more than 300 people." — July 4, 2008 in Virginia.
• "The people in Louisiana must know that all across our country there's a lot of prayer — prayer for those whose lives have been turned upside down. And I'm one of them. It's good to come down here." — Sept. 3, 2008, at an emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, La., after Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast.
• "This thaw — took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." Oct. 20, 2008, in Alexandria, La., as he discussed the economy and frozen credit markets.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Great movie from 1977, Slapshot, with 51 yr old Paul Newman playing an aging minor league hockey player who tries to save his team from being disbanded. Filmed in Johnston and Pittsburgh, at the height of the steel meltdown. the economy was destroying these traditional towns, thousands facing unemployment, and the violence, anger, of the game reflects the mood of the fans. As Craig Ferguson says, "sounds familiar?????" The height of the movie are the "Hanson Brothers," actually two brothers and a guy named David Hanson, who brought a new level of insanity and violence to the game, kinda like the marx brothers compete in world wide federation wrestling. David hanson was there before the movie and clarified a few things: 1) the brothers were NOT too stupid to play with themselves, he said he plays with himself to this day; (2) they did not actually take their slot cars on the road, but yes, they did play slot cars on their days off (3) Paul newman did his own skating on the film, except for a couple scenes of really fast action (4) paul newman was great, not some stuck up movie star, liked to have a cold one with the boys, and they kept in touch long after the movie was made. That confirmed my opinion of Paul newman, i am still sad when I think about his passing. he was one of a kind. anyway, at the early part of the film, after the hanson brothers started a free for all brawl BEFORE the national anthem was even played, the players and referee are lined up, national anthem playing, the referee so pissed off he walks up to david hanson (maybe, they all looked the same with those coke glasses on) and threatens him, if you guys try any rough stuff I'll throw you out and so forth and hanson tells him loudly, "Hey! I'm listen' to the fucking song!" (about 2min 5 sec into the 2 min 7 sec video). I laughed so hard I embarrassed myself.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
from IMDB.com, For the critics who say this film meanders and rambles, I have to say this: When your dad dies, your life meanders and rambles. I can't speak for everyone who has lost a father but I can speak for myself, and I thought it was spot-on in it's portrayal of the confusing roller-coaster that surrounds the death of a parent. Elizabethtown has all of the things you'd expect from a Cameron Crowe movie: a unique and personal story, great music, beautiful cinematography, surprising humor (I was actually choking from laughing so hard during the videotape scene) and very real and touching moments. I thought the acting was great. Orlando Bloom gave a touching and subtle performance. Kirsten Dunst's accent did go in and out a bit, but she and Bloom had such great chemistry that it didn't bother me at all. Susan Sarandon was perfect, Alec Baldwin was hilarious, the Elizabethtown residents were quirky and fun...if I have a complaint it's that the amazing Judy Greer was underutilized. Overall, this movie had everything that a great movie should have. Shame on the critics who panned it simply because it didn't follow the usual Hollywood plot map—this film is about taking the scenic route and making the trip meaningful, and that's what it did.
I love this movie, only second time I have seen it. Funny, I mean really funny. All the characters no matter how weird turn out to be compassionate, sweet, sort of how I'd like life to really be. And there is Kirsten Dunst, the most beautiful woman on earth next to natalie portman.
The soundtrack is amazing - I am buying this movie for sure, watching it once a week just to feel good.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
I enjoyed the Harold and Kumar movies, and Van Wilder. Kal Penn is a great actor, but his movies have not given him an opportunity to show his talent. he is a great dramatic actor. The Namesake is a beautiful movie, about love between a father and his son, the father and his wife, and his son's journey to accepting himself as a Bengali who is on his own unique journey through life. The father understands his son's journey. The father loves, and is patient. And of course love conquers all, if only in the movies. Not one academy award nomination - hard to grasp. Watch the movie several times, slowly enjoy it. "You want me to say I love you like an American wife?" his wife asks...and there is no need, because she has told him in so many ways. The script is great - the colors in their home are great - overall outstanding film