Mad TV offers a spoof of the much publicized Apple iPod...one that they call the iPad. It's one of the funnier spoofs I've seen in a while.
September 2007 Archives
The Daily Show takes Bill O'Reilly to task on his racially insensitive remarks. O'Reilly's comments followed his visit to Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem with Rev. Al Sharpton. After Jon Stewart sets the table in the first video clip, Larry Wilmore cleans the plate.
Wilmore provides a "man on the street" report which takes the apparent ignorance of O'Reilly to its extreme in order to emphasize the absurdity of Bill's blundering blabber. It is one of the funniest Daily Show correspondent reports I've seen this year.
As I watched the Wilmore report, I kept imagining Bill O'Reilly sitting in front of his TV, his jaw locked down on a loofah, growling with rage at the ridicule being directed at his fragile, yet fully inflated ego. Yes, I confess...I then laughed hysterically at the possibility that it may well be true.
Jon Stewart Attempts To Explain Bill O'Reilly's Views
Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore's Visits Sylvia's
"Rush" To Judgment: Can You Identify The Phony? genre: Polispeak & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek
Well that didn't take long. In the aftermath of the demand to condemn the questionable MoveOn.org advertisement singling out General Petraeus' for his role in supporting the Bush administration policy in Iraq, it seemed likely that one of the many Bush apologists would soon step into some deep doodoo. As fortune would have it, the winner turns out to be none other than Rush Limbaugh.
During the September 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." He made the comment while discussing with a caller a conversation he had with a previous caller, "Mike from Chicago," who said he "used to be military," and "believe[s] that we should pull out of Iraq." Limbaugh told the second caller, whom he identified as "Mike, this one from Olympia, Washington," that "[t]here's a lot" that people who favor U.S. withdrawal "don't understand" and that when asked why the United States should pull out, their only answer is, " 'Well, we just gotta bring the troops home.' ... 'Save the -- keeps the troops safe' or whatever," adding, "[I]t's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people." "Mike" from Olympia replied, "No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media." Limbaugh interjected, "The phony soldiers." The caller, who had earlier said, "I am a serving American military, in the Army," agreed, replying, "The phony soldiers."
As Media Matters for America has documented, Limbaugh denounced as "contemptible" and "indecent" MoveOn.org's much-discussed advertisement -- titled "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" -- critical of Gen. David Petraeus, but has repeatedly attacked the patriotism of those with whom he disagrees. For instance, on the January 25 broadcast of his radio show, he told his audience that he had a new name for Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam veteran: "Senator Betrayus."
Limbaugh has been pushing the envelope for years...frequently jumping up and down on the line but seemingly succeeding in not crossing the threshold of no return. With the timing of his latest remarks...so close on the heels of the MoveOn.org fiasco...Rush may have finally failed to sneak one by.
The man who fashions himself to be a skillful tactician...on the order of an Olympic diver...able to jump into an issue head first, speak his piece, and leave behind insufficient evidence of his obtuse and offensive persona...may have finally committed the proverbial belly flop; leaving behind enough proof to warrant his disqualification.
Limbaugh's reflections have long been directed at the unwitting...and with this latest assault upon soldiers who serve their country honorably...he has once again chosen to wield his haughty hammer like a crazed carpenter in a glass house. Fortunately, the self-absorbed oxy-gen receptacle (code for pill popping windbag) may have misjudged his swing and shattered his own house of smoke and mirrors.
If it isn't obvious, I'll not lose any sleep while his actions are probed...in ways that he'll hopefully find to be reminiscent of a visit to the one fingered physician. All I can say is, "Enjoy the examination, Rush!"
In a moment of karmic irony, Mitt Romney's seemingly limitless desire to court the religious right, through his unabashed demonstrations of opposition to gays, may only be matched by the christian's displeasure with his Mormonism. Call me evil, but I love when one "fundie flock" has the potential to cancel out another.
Leading the way on an issue almost certain to be resurrected during the general election, Mitt Romney issued a statement this morning condemning the Democratic candidates for their refusal at last night's debate to rule out teaching about gay issues to second-graders.
Romney said that the answers proved "how out of touch the Democratic presidential candidates are with the American people."
"Not one candidate was uncomfortable with young children learning about same-sex marriage in the second grade," Romney notes. "This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers."
This is not the first time Romney has seized on teaching about gay issues to young children. In July, he took Obama to task after the Illinois senator told a Planned Parenthood conference that "it’s the right thing to do to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools." A rival to Romney pointed out that the former governor himself had supported "age-appropriate" sex ed in his 2002 gubernatorial bid.
While I have no particular axe to grind with Romney, I can't help but view his sudden "do-over demagoguery" as a demonstration of his zeal for power and an important measure of his integrity quotient. I know...he wants us to believe that he has simply changed his mind on abortion and gay rights...and I'm suddenly dating women...yea, right!
The problem the Romney strategy presents for the Democrats is that his insistence on carrying the values torch for the GOP will likely force his primary opponents to jump on the values bandwagon in an effort to prove their christian credentials. The fact that he instantly seized upon remarks made at last evenings Democratic debate support my concerns.
Fortunately (for those opposed to Mitt), Romney has an obstacle which may well prevent him from being anointed as the bastion for bible beaters. You see, they believe he suffers from the ailment of Mormonism...a belief system which many christians contend is unacceptable and nullifies his presidential pedigree. A new survey suggests Romney's religion may be a formidable obstacle.
MEDIA ADVISORY, Sept. 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- ChristiaNet.com, the world's largest Christian portal with twelve million monthly page loads, recently asked, "Would you elect a Mormon for president?" President of ChristiaNet, Bill Cooper, responds, "An overwhelming majority of Christians have spoken on the issue, they won't vote for a Mormon."
Out of 2,000 Christians surveyed, 59% claimed they would not vote to elect a Mormon for president. Most comments resulted from the belief that Mormonism is a cult, "The church of Mormonism is a cult and I would never vote for a cult leader." Most in this category also felt that Mormons were not Christians, "A Mormon is not a Christian, and they don't follow the Bible like Christians do." In fact, almost all responses in this category suggested that a Mormon's belief in Christ and God were contrary to a Christian's belief. "They believe in a different Jesus and a different God," is an example of one such comment.
I'm not certain how reliable this survey data may be, but one would be naive to think that Romney's faith will have no bearing on the votes cast by the religious right. From a political strategy standpoint, Romney's efforts to engage the values voters may complicate the GOP equation. If he forces the other front-runner candidates to the right, it may hurt the appeal of a Rudy Giuliani with moderate and independent voters.
Whatever happens, the GOP race is bound to be a fascinating look at a party attempting to craft a winning identity in the aftermath of the 2006 election. While I have no dog in the show, I suspect Romney may be barking up the wrong tree.
Stop Satan: Shuttin' Down The Supper Club genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek
The christians are not happy campers at the moment. Their anger centers upon an advertisement for the Folsom Street Fair, a gay event held annually in San Francisco. The ad uses the format of The Last Supper as the setting for the print image; populating the table with individuals dressed in stereotypical gay regalia...and the table is "sinfully" littered with a variety of sex toys. Naturally, the bible brigade finds the image to be sickeningly sacrilegious...which of course means they have reacted with more than sufficient sanctimony.
Enough of my sarcasm...I'll let the christians speak for themselves. The following excerpts are a sampling of the outrage found on the internet.
Organizers of San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair -- sponsored by Miller Brewing Co. -- have portrayed Christ and his disciples as half-naked homosexual sadomasochists in the event's promotional advertisement, and the conservative group Concerned Women for America is complaining about the hypocrisy of it.
"The bread and wine representing Christ's broken body and lifegiving blood are replaced with sadomasochistic sex toys in this twisted version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper," CWA said on its Web site.
CWA is calling on California politicians -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sens. Feinstein and Boxer among them -- to "publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers.
"We further challenge the media to cover this affront to Christianity with the same vigor as recent stories about cartoon depictions of Mohammed and other items offensive to the Muslim community," CWA said.
The fair describes itself as "the world's largest leather event." The city supports it by shutting down several city blocks and providing security. It is financed in part by the same South African–owned Miller Beer that has also supported illegal alien rallies.
Oh that disgusting city of San Francisco...how dare they grant permits and block off streets for gay events...and that naughty Miller Brewing Company...how dare they sponsor gay events and activities by those terrible illegal immigrants...and let's not forget the evil and liberal mainstream media! Apparently, the christians are prone to persecution complexes. I'm sure the city of San Francisco wouldn't deny them permits for events and I'd bet Miller would be happy to offer its sponsorship. Of course I suspect the christians would find San Francisco an unacceptable city and Miller an inappropriate sponsor.
Anyway, here's what the folks at Moonbattery.com think it would take to get anyone to pay attention to their concerns:
Unfortunately, Christians would have to fly a few planes into buildings full of people before that will ever happen. The media only sides with the bad guys.
I guess this confirms that the GOP has succeeded in portraying liberals and the media as unpatriotic terrorist sympathizers to their base. It also appears that the christians have mobilized and captured Miller's attention...enough so that the company has asked to be immediately removed from the print material...issuing the following statement on their website:
Statement Regarding Folsom Street Fair
While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.
Well, after a little research, it seems that the Folsom Street Fair isn't the only group that has found The Last Supper to be an attractive theme for publicity campaigns and print materials. I've included a couple of the most recognizable ones in the graphic at the bottom of this posting.
Yes, as you can see, The Last Supper served as the setting for the characters in the Star Wars movies and for the cast of the HBO series, The Sopranos. No, I don't think the Soprano family will receive an exception for being Italian Catholics...they seem to have a bit of a problem with most of the commandments. It is interesting that I've never heard any criticism of these depictions of The Last Supper...but then again, they aren't tied to the gay community.
Given Miller's decision and the lack of focus on the other depictions, I decided to take a look at the advertiser's who have been featured on the Sopranos. Keep in mind that HBO doesn't run advertisements; instead they place name brand products in their programs...providing exposure that has great value. The following excerpts provide the relevant details:
The creators of the HBO shows do accept free use of cars and other goods. It cuts costs and adds realism. The days of TV characters drinking generic "beer" are over. Sopranos creator David Chase and his team of writers frequently write brand names into scripts to add reality to the show, which is averaging 10.8 million viewers per week, according to Nielsen Marketing Research. Jersey boy Chase is a stickler: When Carmela Soprano reaches for milk, he demands it be a brand distributed in New Jersey, says Landress.
If marketers had to pay for ads on The Sopranos, the cost would equal $287,325 for a 30-second spot and HBO would pocket $6.8 million per show, according to a study by DiMassimo.
Landress rejects "exclusive" offers that would make HBO borrow products from a single marketer in a category. She says consumers see competing brands, so The Sopranos' writers want variety: Motorola and Nokia cell phones; Apple and Gateway computers; Mercedes (Tony's girlfriend Gloria was a Mercedes dealer), Lexus and Range Rover autos (both driven by Christopher Moltisanti); Coke and Pepsi (the gangsters drink Coke; the feds like Pepsi); SnackWell's and Turkey Hill foods favored by Carmela.
Strange as it may seem, I'm not aware of anyone objecting to these high profile companies supporting The Sopranos...a show which has used The Last Supper imagery and that is arguably not an ideal representation of family values.
Now that the Sopranos has ended its run on HBO, the rights to the series have been purchased by Arts & Entertainment...and they do sell advertising...and they need to given what they paid for the privilege of airing the show. In addition to the companies mentioned in the following excerpts, ad time has also been bought by Ford, Sonic, and Paramount Pictures.
From Broadcasting & Cable:
Once-stodgy A&E surprised many in the TV community when it won a January 2005 bidding war for rights to rerun the HBO show, agreeing to pay $2.55 million an episode. The searing crime drama roared out of the gate with 4.4 million total viewers, including 1.9 million in the key adults 18-49 demo.
At the same time, the show helped coax 30 new advertisers to A&E in 2006, with another 20 already set for 2007, says AETN Ad Sales Executive VP Mel Berning. The client list includes Yellow Book, Texas Instruments, Alltel, TGI Friday's and Taco Bell.
“They're meeting their guarantees and obligations," says PHD Executive VP/Director of National Broadcast Harry Keeshan, who bought ads for his client Quiznos and is pitching the show to new advertisers this year.
Let's take a look at Star Wars and the cash cow marketing monster it has become with the reworking of the original trilogy, the subsequent prequel movies, and the release of enhanced DVD's and countless other products. Oh, and let's not forget Fox's connections to the Star Wars money machine.
Star Wars is one of the all-time moneymaking franchises, generating nearly $3.4 billion in global box office and $9 billion in retail sales since 1977. As the buzz builds for the finale of George Lucas' space series, consumers won't be able to swing a light saber without seeing, hearing or reading references to Darth Vader, Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi over the next month.
Promotional partners Pepsi, Burger King, Cingular Wireless, America Online, M&M/Mars and Kellogg are launching a multimillion-dollar cross-promotion to push their own brands while basking in the reflected glory of Hollywood. As partners, they get the rights to use Star Wars characters in their advertising.
In 1999, to promote Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the remaining "Special Edition" films (V and VI) aired on U.S. broadcast network Fox (they bypassed premium cable for direct broadcast airing). That same year, Fox acquired all television rights to Episode I after the premium cable networks declined due to cost. A similar situation nearly happened with Attack of the Clones, until HBO struck a last-minute deal with Fox and Lucasfilm for the exclusive pay-cable rights.
The Fox network acquired the U.S. network television rights, in April/May 2005, to promote the then-upcoming Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with Episodes I, IV, V, and VI placed in limited syndicated television distribution, (on Fox affiliates in most markets) while the Fox network was able to air Episode II in mid-May, prior to Episode III's initial theatrical release.
So the "fair and balanced" network has been a key player in the marketing of Star Wars...which we know means that the network made a fair share of money from the sale of advertising time to big name companies. Again, I can't recall anyone calling on Fox and the many advertisers involved with Star Wars to cease their involvement with these movies as a result of the blasphemous Last Supper depiction.
No, the christians apparently give Star Wars and The Sopranos and Fox and countless large corporate advertisers a free pass; instead deciding to go after a gay event held in San Francisco...one which most Americans have never heard about or attended. Are we to conclude that the pursuit and condemnation of the "militant" gays and their inferred insistence upon defiling religion at an event in San Francisco is a greater threat to christianity than the likes of Star Wars, The Sopranos, and Fox Network?
The following excerpts provide the latest reactions from The Catholic League:
Catholic League president Bill Donohue announced a national boycott of Miller Beer on this morning’s “Fox and Friends." He explains why today:
“Never have we experienced greater corporate arrogance than in this dispute with the Miller Brewing Company. Miller is sponsoring an incredibly outrageous and palpably anti-Christian event in San Francisco: the Folsom Street Fair (see its website at folsomstreetfair.com and be prepared to see the shocking photos of what goes on).
“Accordingly, Miller leaves us with no options: we are calling on more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations to join with us in a nationwide boycott of Miller beer. We feel confident that once our religious allies kick in, and once the public sees the photos of an event Miller is proudly supporting, the Milwaukee brewery will come to its senses and pull its sponsorship altogether. If it doesn’t, the only winners will be Anheuser Busch and Coors."
Contact: Miller spokesman Julian Green at email@example.com
Phone: 1-800-MILLER 6 or 414-931-2000
Perhaps all of these outraged groups need to take a look at the other depictions of The Last Supper before they decide to single out the gay community and one large corporate sponsor. While the christians love to accuse the gay community of hypocrisy and bigotry, it seems to be the christians who fail to grasp the meaning of hypocrisy.
Until they begin applying their outrage equitably, I see this latest assault as more of the same...an opportunity to further their hateful agenda...an agenda focused upon dispersing anti-gay propaganda whenever and wherever they find an opportunity.
I guess I'm going to have to start drinking Miller Beer and watching The Sopranos on A&E and Star Wars on my Fox Network affiliate. Oh the inhumanity of it all!
Did you know that a jar of peanut butter can prove that the world was created according to the bible...as well as disprove the theory of evolution? Well if you're like me, you didn't know this "important" fact.
Fortunately, Chuck Missler, a biblical fundamentalist, wants to enlighten us all...and he has the jar of peanut butter with which to do so. The following video is Mr. Missler's attempt to refute evolution.
Feel free to share your own observations and experiments. I've already tried a jar of mayonnaise, pickle relish, catsup, and grape jelly. So far no creature has emerged from these lagoons of life...although I'm now so afraid that I can't make myself open the jars again. I guess I better go say my prayers.
Mahmoud Dearest: Scrubbing The Gay Out Of Iran genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek
So much for Iran's commitment to freedom. Following the appearance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University, the Iranian government has scrubbed the portion of the Iranian President's remarks which included his assertion that there aren't any homosexuals in Iran. Apparently, President Ahmadinejad and those in power in Iran now believe that the mere mention of gay is unacceptable.
While many American's opposed Columbia's decision to allow the Iranian President to speak, I believe it provided the world with another opportunity to see the degree to which this man is out of touch with reality. Hopefully, the Iranian people will see his comments and the reactions. If they do, perhaps they will begin the process of replacing Mr. Ahmadinejad and his extremist government.
I decided to have a little fun with Mr. Ahmadinejad and his outrageous comments. Fortunately, his first name, Mahmoud, provided the perfect opportunity to create the following graphic spoof...Mahmoud Dearest.
Rick Perlstein has an important posting at Common Sense...one that attempts to examine the transformation of the American mind set in the aftermath of 9/11. In offering some much needed historical context, he seeks to disavow the American citizenry of the behavior that characterized the reaction to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's U.S. visit and his invitation to speak at Columbia University.
Perlstein's piece is premised upon his attempt to answer a series of questions he believes must be answered. In my opinion, he accurately contends that the success of the United States is dependent upon exploring and understanding the answers.
Here's a big question that I want to start addressing in upcoming posts: what is conservative rule doing to our nation's soul? How is it rewiring our hearts and minds? What kind of damage are they doing to the American character? And can we ever recover?
Perlstein astutely describes the current environment as a "conservative Republic of Fear"...a philosophy which has been successfully spun by the current administration. That philosophy is one that views diversity as a detriment, dialogue as an act to legitimize the defined disease, and dissent as an endorsement of defeat.
Sadly, the Bush administration strategy was likely endorsed more as a matter of political calculation than as a function of sound policy...a theory seemingly supported by the events surrounding the failed efforts in Iraq and the willful refusal to reconsider. While nothing prevents any individual or entity from selling a subjective, though suspect product...should that campaign succeed, it has probably ingrained a false construct which will no doubt be difficult to extinguish or expunge.
Perlstein attempts to begin this daunting task by recounting a time in America's history which provides an important contrast to the current construct...one that identifies an alternate approach...an approach which not only succeeded in thwarting a formidable enemy; but one which was conducted with dignity and an undying commitment to maintaining our cherished values. That approach not only made our demise doubtful; it rendered our ill-intentioned enemies impotent.
The following excerpts are the backbone of Perlstein's argument.
Let me put before you an illustrative example: one week in September of 1959, when, much like one week in September of 2007, American soil supported a visit by what many, if not most Americans agreed was the most evil and dangerous man on the planet.
Nikita Khrushchev disembarked from his plane at Andrews Air Force Base to a 21-gun salute and a receiving line of 63 officials and bureaucrats, ending with President Eisenhower. He rode 13 miles with Ike in an open limousine to his guest quarters across from the White House. Then he met for two hours with Ike and his foreign policy team. Then came a white-tie state dinner. (The Soviets then put one on at the embassy for Ike.) He joshed with the CIA chief about pooling their intelligence data, since it probably all came from the same people—then was ushered upstairs to the East Wing for a leisurely gander at the Eisenhowers' family quarters. Visited the Agriculture Department's 12,000 acre research station ("If you didn't give a turkey a passport you couldn't tell the difference between a Communist and capitalist turkey"), spoke to the National Press Club, toured Manhattan, San Francisco (where he debated Walter Reuther on Stalin's crimes before a retinue of AFL-CIO leaders, or in K's words, "capitalist lackeys"), and Los Angeles (there he supped at the 20th Century Box commissary, visited the set of the Frank Sinatra picture Can Can but to his great disappointment the premier did not get to visit Disneyland), and sat down one more with the president, at Camp David. Mrs. K did the ladies-who-lunch circuit, with Pat Nixon as guide. It's not like it was all hearts and flowers. He bellowed that America, as Time magazine reported, "must close down its worldwide deterrent bases and disarm." Reporters asked him what he'd been doing during Stalin's blood purges, and the 1956 invasion of Hungary. A banquet of 27 industrialists tried to impress upon him the merits of capitalism. Eleanor Roosevelt toured him through Hyde Park. Nelson Rockefeller rapped with him about the Bible.
Had America suddenly succumbed to a fever of weak-kneed appeasement? Was the general running the country—the man who had faced down Hitler!—proven himself what the John Birch Society claimed he was: a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy?
No. Nikita Khrushchev simply visited a nation that had character. That was mature, well-adjusted. A nation confident we were great. We had our neuroses, to be sure—plenty of them.
But look now what we have lost. Now when a bad guy crosses our threshhold, America becomes a pants-piddling mess.
When one compares the treatment of Khrushchev with the response to Ahmadinejad's visit, one begins to see Perlstein's point...and the reason for his concern and his criticism. In the Bush administration's rush to co-opt the fear and anger generated by 9/11, they have fueled a level of irrational fear which clearly exceeds any threat posed by the visit of a hostile leader.
In knowing that we can defeat Iran...both militarily and in terms of world opinion...we needn't react with fear...we need only resolve to honor our beliefs and defend them should they or any other enemy act to harm us or our allies. Our strength should be our resolve...fear simply serves to undermine it.
Every now and again, news events create a uniquely instructive conflation. Such a situation can be found in the events and the headlines of the last two days. Yesterday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to a question about the mistreatment of homosexuals in Iran with an answer that would befuddle anyone with remotely identifiable cognitive abilities. In suggesting that Iran doesn't have homosexuals, the defiant leader, who seems so determined to establish his own legitimacy, elicited little more than laughter and ridicule. The response was appropriate and should have been anticipated.
Today, the discussion centers upon the apparent decision by the four GOP presidential front-runners to forego attending a PBS sponsored debate being held at a prominent Black college in Baltimore this Thursday. While the invitations were issued back in March, somehow each of the four leading candidates has declined due to "scheduling conflicts".
One might be inclined to extend the benefit of the doubt had these same candidates participated in a debate sponsored by the Hispanic television network Univision and a forum in July hosted by the NAACP.
"I think the best that comes out of stupid decisions like this," said former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, is "that African-Americans might say, 'Was it because of my skin color?' Now, maybe it wasn't, but African-Americans do say, 'It crossed my mind.'"
All four GOP presidential front-runners -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson -- have said they will not attend a PBS debate at a historically black college in Baltimore hosted by Tavis Smiley.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's weighing getting into the race, called that excuse "baloney" and called the no-shows "fundamentally wrong." On "Good Morning America" today, Gingrich said GOP candidates are making a mistake because "African-Americans have been hurt more by the failures of government" than any other group.
Watts pointed out that some of the candidates with more liberal histories on issues such as guns and abortion have reached out to conservative groups that don't share their views.
African-Americans are the most reliably Democratic voters around, with up to 90 percent voting Democratic in the last five presidential elections, but Watts and other Republicans including former vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, and former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, have said that's exactly why Republicans need to reach out to them.
These no-shows come just days after the Spanish-language channel Univision canceled its debate because only one of the 11 Republican candidates -- McCain -- accepted.
Frankly, I view the refusal of these GOP candidates to participate in the PBS debate, as well as the prior NAACP forum, in much the same manner as I view the Ahmadinejad statement. For all practical purposes, these candidates are telling Americans that there are no blacks in America.
To understand the degree to which blacks have been ignored by the GOP, one need only look to the sitting President...a man who attended his first NAACP meeting in the sixth year of his presidency. Whether his decision to attend was at all intended as atonement for the poor handling of Katrina can't be determined...but the about face seems rather suspect.
More telling, Robert Draper, author of the new Bush biography, Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush, during an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, offered some added insight into the President's views on the lack of interest in courting black voters. Draper recalls the words of George Bush following his election as Governor of Texas, "The Blacks didn’t come out for me like the Hispanics did, so they’re not going to see much help from me." Draper qualified his statement...elaborating that the remark was offered as an example of the President's petulance; not any innate bigotry.
While the President doesn't speak for all Republicans, the fact that the four front-runners seem to be responding accordingly simply highlights the apparent complacency on the part of the GOP with regard to the issues of Blacks in America. We need candidates who seek to represent all Americans...and that holds true for both Democrats and Republicans.
While not participating in a forum or a debate isn't the equivalent of the spoken words of Iran's fanatical leader, the refusal seems to send a similar message...one that would rather ignore an American constituency than address their presence and their issues. Let me be clear...refusing to attend a debate should never be seen on par with Iran's execution of gays. Clearly, the former is a unwarranted snubbing and the latter is a blatant disregard of basic human rights.
Regardless, I find it fascinating to watch the outrage from the right at the Iranian President on an issue (gay rights) which the GOP has a less than stellar record. When this outrage and this record are juxtaposed with the silence by many on the snubbing of Blacks and Hispanics, it provides an important look into the prevalence of bias and the refusal to acknowledge and address it.
Fortunately, the United States isn't Iran and our record on human rights issues is commendable and often regarded as a model for the rest of the world. Nonetheless, as we prosecute this war on terror and extremist ideology, we would be well advised to recognize the comparison and contrast found in these recent events. We must avoid the inclination to suspend civil liberties in order to preserve and protect our hard earned freedoms.
Further, we must never forget that our freedoms will prevail so long as we extend them equitably and without bias. What led us to demand and create them will always provide the motivation and the passion to defend them. We can only be defeated by succumbing to our own shortsightedness and fear.
The President continues to threaten a veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) should Congress, as expected, pass the measure which expands the program by $35 billion dollars over the next five years. The bottom line for the President centers on his displeasure with the prior rejection of his efforts to expand health care by offering tax cuts to those who will purchase private insurance.
Unfortunately, the President's plan has already been rejected...primarily because tax deductions do little for those who live in poverty. Giving a tax deduction to those who do not pay taxes is akin to offering fifty percent off on fine jewelry...it sounds like a deal to those who can afford the reduced price but it is meaningless to the customer who can't even afford to purchase the costume jewelry.
While the GOP frequently attempts to portray liberals as ideological elitists, the truth of the matter is that Republican's of George Bush's ilk are often guilty of functional elitism...a mind set that frequently finds its origin in a life of affluence...a mind set which is accompanied by a misguided belief that all that ails Americans can be addressed through tax cuts. Try as he might, the President cannot separate his ideology from the silver spoon that fed him.
With a five-year, $35 billion expansion of the children's health insurance program due for a final vote in the House today, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and White House aides agreed that Bush's opposition to the legislation stems not from its price tag but from far larger health policy issues. The White House wants to use the issue of uninsured children to resurrect the president's long-dormant proposals to change the federal tax code to help the uninsured, adults and children alike, Grassley said, calling that a laudable goal but unrealistic politically.
In talks this spring with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, White House National Economic Council Director Al Hubbard and Hubbard's deputy, Keith Hennessey, Grassley discussed linking an extension of the 10-year-old SCHIP program to a more ambitious effort to address the adult uninsured. Grassley encouraged the White House to try to round up Democratic support for that approach, but when White House officials made no such effort, Grassley told them in April that the children's health program would have to stand alone.
That is why he said he was surprised when Bush brought it back up in a phone call Thursday, just minutes before the president went before microphones at the White House to blast the SCHIP deal.
Asked if Bush was holding the children's health bill hostage, Grassley said, "Yes."
Reading between the lines, perhaps the President retains unrealistic visions of passing his preferred health insurance legislation. Notwithstanding, he would be better served to listen to Senator Grassley.
Sadly, the President has shown little interest in consulting his opponents and seeking to forge bipartisan solutions...a hesitance likely born of a philosophy held by George Bush and his surly strategist, Karl Rove...one that places partisan success ahead of pragmatic policy. Frankly, George Bush has rarely met a reasonable bipartisan measure he hasn't attempted to politicize...and his recent comments on the SCHIP program are in keeping with the well established pattern.
With a veto almost inevitable, both sides are gearing up for the next step. Congress is likely to pass a short-term extension of the existing SCHIP program before it expires Sept. 30, then begin a second legislative effort. Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIP expansion to a vote every three months, along with campaign advertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way, pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on House Republicans to override the veto.
Americans United for Change, a group closely allied with the Democratic leadership, will begin airing television ads this week in Kentucky, accusing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of abandoning his state's children.
The White House is looking increasingly isolated on the issue. America's Health Insurance Plans, the largest insurance lobbying group, endorsed the measure yesterday, undercutting Bush's contention that the bill is a step away from private insurance and toward government-run health care.
"It repairs the safety net and is a major movement toward addressing the problems that states and governors have been trying to address, which is how to get access for children," said Karen Ignagni, the group's president.
The issue appears to be a winner for the Democrats and I personally find it encouraging to see Americans United For Change adopting the same strategy being used by the GOP to support the President's failed war in Iraq. Doing so has the added advantage of supporting a policy that actually has the potential to benefit Americans...an outcome not likely to result from the GOP campaign.
As noted by Grassley, a Republican, the President's stubbornness may well provide the Democrats another club with which to beat the already battered GOP in the run up to the 2008 election. I would expect many Republicans to abandon the President...realizing that George Bush is more concerned with his rigid ideology and his legacy than avoiding a repeat of the 2006 elections.
In the end, historians and a fair share of Republican's will likely note that George Bush was far more petulant than compassionate. This anticipated veto may simply be the icing on George Bush's less than edible legacy cake.
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an astonishing statement during his appearance at Columbia University earlier today. In response to a question about the mistreatment of gays in Iran, the leader offered the following comment.
“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country."
The comment drew an immediate spattering of laughter and boos. Ahmadinejad simply reiterated his statement with the following.
"In Iran, we don't have this phenomenon. "I don't know who's told you that we have it."
Gays in Iran are subject to the death penalty and the above photo shows a recently documented hanging of two gay teenage Iranians. The President, before being pressed to directly answer the question, attempted to gloss over the issue by comparing the enforcement of U.S. law with the enforcement of Iranian law...an attempt to simply suggest that Iran upholds its laws just as is done in the United States.
Apparently the persistence of the questioner led the less than nimble leader to use a well know tactic of oppressive regimes...to simply act like the situation doesn't exist. I guess the Iranian leader believes denial is an effective strategy. Frankly, I'm happy Columbia asked him to speak...it gave American's a first hand look at a man who cannot withstand the basic scrutiny that accompanies a free society and open dialogue.
I thought he looked like a fool as he spent the bulk of his time attempting to weave a divine justification for the beliefs he espouses...arguing that scientific ability is a gift given to a select few. In essence, I believe he sought to assert that his science comes from legitimately blessed individuals...not the impostor's found in Western culture.
The following video clips are from a CBC News Sunday Night documentary, Out In Iran, which chronicles the secret lives of Iran's gay community. Unfortunately, having to keep their lives secret is not only discriminatory...it is apparently the only way to stay alive. Please be warned that the video contains some disturbing images.
Out In Iran - Part One
Out In Iran - Part Two
Out In Iran - Part Three
Despite his admitted sexual indiscretions, David Vitter remains a poster boy for family values...as well as an apparent champion for funding the programs of evangelical groups through the use of government earmarks.
The Times-Picayune reports that Vitter has included an earmark of $100,000 in recent legislation for the Louisiana Family Forum, a group which challenges the theory of evolution...seeking to have it characterized as an unproven theory and to introduce intelligent design as a viable scientific alternative.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., earmarked $100,000 in a spending bill for a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties.
The money is included in the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal 2008 and specifies payment to the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education."
The nonprofit Louisiana Family Forum, launched in Baton Rouge in 1999 by former state Rep. Tony Perkins, has in recent years taken the lead in promoting "origins science," which includes the possibility of divine intervention in the creation of the universe.
The group's stated mission is to "persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking." Until recently, its Web site contained a "battle plan to combat evolution," which called the theory a "dangerous" concept that "has no place in the classroom." The document was removed after a reporter's inquiry.
"Using an earmark to dictate that the Louisiana Family Forum receive the funding to develop a science education program ironically ignores a hallmark of scientific research, making decisions on the basis of competitive, empirical research," Ellis said.
The fact that a sitting Senator is using the earmark provision to fund efforts to undermine existing scientific evidence with religious ideology seems a complete misappropriation of funds and a breach of the separation of church and state. Many educators have not opposed the discussion of intelligent design in non-scientific classes. However, most educators are strongly opposed to the teaching of intelligent design as part of a science class.
The following video is from the Louisiana Family Forum and it focuses upon the distinctions between the actions of David Vitter and Larry Craig. Apparently the Council believes that the Vitter's apology is sufficient reason to support his continuance in the Senate while Senator Craig's efforts to overturn his guilty plea fail to strike a sufficiently contrite tone. They avoid mentioning the fact that the Larry Craig situation involves a same-sex indiscretion.
Note that the speaker in the video incorrectly identifies Senator Craig as being a Senator from Colorado. I also find it interesting that the speakers are so certain of Senator Vitter's contrition and rehabilitation. I wonder if a $100,000 earmark helped them reach that conclusion.
Louisiana Family Forum On David Vitter & Larry Craig
Why Is It That Some People Can't Be "Scene" Enough?
Values Voter Debate: Does The GOP Hate America? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Video-Philes
Time and again we hear the argument that liberals hate America...or that they support the terrorists...or that they lack patriotism. The accusations are often made because of their opposition to the war in Iraq...fully lacking any real substantiation.
Well we now have a body of evidence that values voters may be the ones who hate America...primarily because it doesn't support their narrow version of religious ideology.
Comparison is a useful tool, and in this instance, it provides some much needed perspective. The same people who assail liberals for exercising their basic constitutional right to free speech seem more than willing to blur the lines of the constitution in order to impose their particular religious views upon the entire society.
At the GOP Values Voters debate last week, The Church Of God Choir opened the event by singing a rendition of God Bless America...one where the words have been changed to instead asks "Why Should God Bless America?"...continuing on to state that America has "turned her back on everything that made her what she is". While liberals may disagree with specific U.S. policy, one would be hard pressed to find an event of this stature...one with candidates for the presidency in attendance...where the sponsorship is issuing an across the board condemnation of their country.
In fact, I suspect that such a brazen defiling of a cherished patriotic song at a Democratic debate...in order to spew one's displeasure with the state of our nation...would draw calls for a Congressional resolution of condemnation similar to the one issued against MoveOn.org.
To further make my point, I've included a defiling of the same song by Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church. If you're not familiar with this group, they travel the country protesting at funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan...asserting that the deaths are little more than god's punishment for America's sins.
The Westboro version of God Bless America is called God Hates America, and while it uses arguably harsher language than the one at the Values Voters debate, they present a similar message...a message that America isn't acceptable because it has failed to adopt the religious beliefs of a certain segment of society.
I would suggest that liberals adopt a tactic frequently used by the GOP...one that takes every possible opportunity to repeat the following meme..."Why does the GOP hate America?"
The Church Of God Choir - Why Should God Bless America?
Westboro Baptist Church Choir - God Hates America
Bill Maher offers his typically witty and gritty new rules...from a sarcastic demand that our next President have lips so that he can tell where the lies are coming from...to a clear and concise statement on the problem with religion being a political litmus test in this country.
Maher offers a much welcomed observation that non-believers are rational beings who are also entitled to impose a test when selecting a candidate. He closes by pointing out that a President who didn't believe in heaven might be less willing to put our soldiers at risk in ill-advised wars and suggesting that while non-believers are only twenty percent of the population, a majority used to also think the world is flat.
While we live in a fully visual world, it is often dominated by what is spoken. Rarely do we communicate without words...and when we do, it can frequently demonstrate the most poignant expression of our humanity...be it a smile,...
Colbert draws an interesting connection between the recent bagged salad recall and the Russian directive for its citizens to take a day off to make more babies. Stephen first argues that salad cannot be eaten bareback for fear of...
Keith Olbermann offers his acerbic observations on the President's assault on the MoveOn.org advertisement. Olbermann dismantles the President's condemnation of the Democrats for not "properly" supporting General David Petraeus and our military...pointing out that the George Bush bears the...
Jackass: The Sequel - Twenty Two Donkeys For "W" genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek
Twenty two Democratic Senators broke ranks and voted with the GOP to issue a resolution condemning the recent MoveOn.org advertisement in the New York Times. The advertisement asked the question, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?", insinuating that the...
George Bush: Yes To Tax Cuts; No To Poor Children genre: Econ-Recon & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak
During the President's press conference this morning, he accused Democrats of "putting poor children at risk" in order to score political points. Unfortunately, the accusation is absurd since the Democrats intend to submit legislation to expand health care to...
If you want to understand the grim situation in Iraq, you need to read the following excerpt...at least once...maybe twice. Keep in mind that we're talking about the oil produced in the Kurdish region of Iraq...the region that is almost...
Pentagon Drops Stink Bomb On Petraeus Report? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
I've decided to tattoo the word "stupid" on my forehead. I've been considering it throughout the last four plus years of being treated as such by the Bush administration. As soon as I get my tattoo, I'm signing up...
Mika - Happy Ending genre: Tuned Out & Video-Philes
Mika, born in Lebanon and living in London, like so many other aspiring singers, has made his pop debut in the UK. Trained in opera, he has an amazing musical range. The following video clip is the latest single...
Conan O'Brien and Dr. Phil have a little fun with the fact that Leona Helmsley left 12 million dollars to her dog, Trouble, an eight year old Maltese. In the sketch, Triumph, the dog reportedly suing Trouble, explains to...
A ruling by Maryland's Court of Appeals and a statement issued by California Governor Schwarzenegger effectively kills efforts to adopt same sex marriage in both states. The ruling in Maryland reverses a lower court ruling that determined a 1973...
The Bloody Red Battles Over Black And White genre: Gaylingual & Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
Black and white...white and black. America has struggled with these two words for decades. No doubt race is the first thought which comes to mind when one mentions black and white...but the issue is much broader than skin color...it...
Chris Crocker, following up on his tearful defense of Britney Spears on YouTube, is interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel in the following video. For some reason, I'm getting a big kick out of this completely bizarre situation...and Kimmel's quick wit...
Bill Maher offers a montage of observations...from a little fun at Britney's expense to a screed on the recent whining about the price reduction on iPhones and the tech nerds who insist on standing in line to buy the...
Bill Maher spoke with Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska last night. During the appearance, Hagel offered perhaps his most open criticism of the Bush administration, the Republican party, and the failed war in Iraq. Hagel's remarks were a refreshing...
Fred Thompson is someone to watch...someone who may have a strategy which is far more evolved than many may think. Personally, I'm not inclined to support Thompson but as I've kept an eye on the 2008 presidential candidates, I...
By now everyone should have heard about Chris Crocker's "Leave Britney Alone!" moment...his fifteen minutes of fame...an impassioned and tearful plea to lay off the troubled celebrity following her less than flattering performance on MTV's Video Music Awards. If...
I don't often watch Dan Abrams on MSNBC but I recently caught a segment during which he and his panel...which included Patrick Salmon of the Log Cabin Republicans, Joan Walsh of Salon, and Pat Buchanan...were discussing the inconsistencies in...
Not long ago Miss South Carolina botched her answer to a question in the Miss Teen USA pageant...a move that sent millions of viewers racing to watch her tortured response on YouTube and made her the unfortunate butt of...
Does Pakistan Instruct Us In The War On Terror? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
The United States, in it's efforts to combat terrorism under the Bush administration, has chosen military intervention as its preferred approach...an approach which successfully toppled anti-American regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. In my opinion, the larger objective remains elusive...that...
In a statement of the inevitable and the obvious, the President intends to address the American public to "announce" his intention to withdraw approximately 30,000 troops by next summer. Unfortunately, this move is hardly a policy shift as the...
Understanding The Bush Failures: Ask Colin Powell genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
Before George Bush was elected in 2,000, my Republican friends were touting the potential of Colin Powell joining the Bush team...a move they felt overwhelmingly amplified their desire to support George Bush. After the election and the Cabinet appointments,...
9/11: "The Falling Man" Should Teach Us To Soar genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Happy Remembrances & Video-Philes
There are numerous ways to remember 9/11...all of which undoubtedly bring back difficult memories of a horrific day and the many vibrant lives which were ended far before their time. I chose to offer the following video of the...
Is The President's Message In The Petraeus Report? genre: Just Jihad & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek
There are countless takes on the Petraeus report and the degree to which the Bush administration may have influenced or manipulated the content. Generally speaking, it appears that the President, through the report and its proposed troop reductions, may...
Results of a new study intended to gauge the brain differences between liberal and conservatives suggest that it all comes down to the "W''s...and in the case of George W. Bush, it may make perfect sense. All kidding aside,...
Bill Maher takes the latest news and offers his typically witty and insightful set of new rules...taking extra time to toy with the toe tapping tale of Senator Larry Craig. Maher moves onto a dissection of the Bush administration...
Never let it be said that George Bush isn't a man of vision...unfortunately his visions have become a virtual nightmare for a majority of Americans. The similarities between Iraq and Vietnam are eerily highlighted by the overlay of one...
Two Holes In The Head Count As One Per The Bush genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek
As we wait with bated breath for the Petraeus report on the troop surge and progress in Iraq, the Bush administration appears to be busy redefining the manner in which the facts are gathered. If it weren't so clearly...
Today's gloomy jobs report...and the associated downward revision of the prior months figures...reminded me of my time as an economics major many years ago. I've always found economics fascinating. While in college, it was my major for three years...
Luciano Pavarotti: 10/12/35 to 09/06/07 genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Happy Remembrances & Video-Philes
One would be hard pressed to have missed the passing of Luciano Pavarotti, one of history's best known tenors. I felt the following two videos were an appropriate tribute to a man who often seemed larger than life. The...
I'm generally a patient and tolerant person, but every once in a while I'll come across a situation that ticks me off. This morning I ran across one of those instances while reading comments on a site I frequent....
As if Larry Craig hasn't drawn enough attention, it is now being reported that the Idaho Senator is considering the withdrawal of his intent to resign from the Senate. From The Idaho Statesman: U.S. Sen. Larry Craig says he...
Another scathing indictment of the President and his failed policy in Iraq. Olbermann uses words taken directly from the President's latest biography to point out the deceit, the contradictions, and the degree to which being right has completely overwhelmed...
Going To The Dogs: Pit Bulls, Primaries, & Politics genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions
I've previously written about our "chain letter society"...my own hypothesis that our society has become obsessed with winning, the notion of number one, and all that can be associated with the position at the front of the line...such that...
Little Britain, a sitcom from the United Kingdom, chronicles the escapades of Daffyd, a gay man in a remote Welsh city. He likes the other inhabitants of his city to think he is the only homosexual in the area....
Anyone with doubts as to the insane interpretations gleaned from the Bible need only watch this video. The goon in the video advises the viewers who are not "real" Christians to move on as they won't understand the message...
I thought a few vintage posters and a little humor were appropriate this Labor Day. Here's hoping the day was less about labor and more about love for each of you....
Iraq: The Fine Line Between Casualty And Suicide genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
Recently, there has been a significant amount of debate as to the meaning of U.S. troop casualties in Iraq. The premise behind this dialogue is an attempt to gauge the success or failure of the Bush administration's troop surge...
Michael Shermer is a former born again Christian and founder of the Skeptics Society and editor of Skeptic Magazine. He explains his transition to skepticism as follows: I used to be a born-again Christian. Now you could say I'm...