Monday, November 29, 2004

The DH scandal

There was an interesting editorial by Frank Rich in the New York times yesterday about the Desperate Housewives promo scandal. I think one of the most telling points he makes is that the promo aired Sunday, but complaints did not start coming in to the FCC until Tuesday night and Wedneday. Rush Limbaugh didn't get around to reporting on how "shocked" he was by the promo until Wednesday. I suspect that right wing media machine didn't get around to telling all the "moral values" crowd that they were supposed to be scandalized by the promo until then; that's when the scandal began.

I didn't hear Limbaugh's show where he yapped on about the incident, but Rich points out that Rush claimed the promo showed Nicollette Sheridan's bare butt (which it didn't) and that it reminded him of the Kobe Bryant case. The last is particularly telling. Why would Limbaugh immediately be reminded of an alleged rape scandal by this innocuous promo? Because Terrell Owens is black, and Nicollette Sheridan is white. If she had been jumping into the arms of some white football player, or she wasn't as blonde and white as she is, I doubt we'd be hearing nearly as much about this incident.

On a slightly related note, Rich points out something very interesting about the record $1.2 million fine that was levied by the FCC against FOX's Married by America. I think this is best shown in picture format:

Three complaints. Just so we're clear, that's 0.000001% of the US population. And that was enough to get the FCC to levy the largest indecency fine it ever had. Just imagine if had actually been something scandalous.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A media grump

No, the title to this post does not refer to Ann Coulter; if it did, it would be titled A media skank, which is a horse of a different color. But then again, so is Ann.

Anyway, I was looking online for a copy of the (in)famous Monday Night Football promo that has everyone so up in arms. I wanted to see if it really was as scandalous as the press is making it out to be. So many people are apologizing about this promo, I'm surprised that CBS and NBC haven't apologized for it at this point.

Unfortunately, even with the Internet being the amazing content delivery system that it is, I can't find it anywhere for download. The Dallas Morning News has a version available for streaming, and iFilm may have the same thing, but I can't seem to get anything at their site to play. But neither site will let you download the clip, just stream it in a separate window.

I hate streaming video. Yes, I realize I'm the last person on Earth that uses a modem, but streaming means that the DMN crappy version is a useless slideshow with audio that cuts in and out, even after setting my preferences in WMP to the lowest possible quality. And god forbid you press the pause button. Resuming streamed video from "pause" is a 50/50 proposition at best.

You know, I really don't mind waiting 20 or 30 minutes to download a movie file if I know the quality is going to be better, and that I'll be able to view the whole clip through without getting RealVideo's obscenity-inducing "buffering ... buffering ... buffering" every five seconds. I'll just start the download and go off and do something else for 15 minutes. I do have an attention span longer than a camera flash, really.

OK, I understand that these sites want to make sure that you view the movie clip along with their ads, and links to other locations on their site that I'll never use. That's fine. They have to pay the bills, too. Just embed those in the video, and let me download the freaking thing already.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

Four-day weekends are nice, except when you have nothing to do. Oh, there's lots of stuff I should do. Updating my resume and laundry come particularly to mind, but I can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for that. I even went out to Blockbuster last night, but couldn't find anything compelling to watch. I was thinking about cooking something, too, but before I knew it, the day was half over already and it was too late to start. So I'm really fucking bored, and almost looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Who's running this joint?

You've probably heard about the Istook Amendment. That's the name being given to the amendment to the current spending bill that would have let certain certain congressmen, their staffers, and pretty much anyone else they authorize to look at the tax returns of any American for any reason. Like the Democratic prosecutor that's trying to indict Tom Delay for breaking campaign finance laws. Hypothetically. points out that it's been four days, and still, no one knows how that language got into the bill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Joss says: Serenity delayed five months

Eric says: Waaaaaaaaaah!

To be fair, if it's in the best interest of the movie, I'm all for it. Like, if good movie with a hard-core, yet fairly cult, following opened opposite the third Star Wars prequel, it might be a good idea to delay the release of the former.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Isn't hypocrisy grand?

First the Republicans send out flyers in the south saying that Democrats want to legalize gay marriage [1] and ban the Bible. Then, the Washington Post accepts a 16-page advertising insert saying how evil and horrible gays and lesbians are.

Now, here's a story about a top Republican National Committee staffer advertising online: not for sex; not for casual sex; but for multiple-partner, casual, bareback sex. This is, as you'll recall, the "abstinence-only" party. This is the "recriminalize sodomy" party. [TX GOP Platform, 2004] This is the "family values" and "value voter" party.

Of course, the liberal press has snapped this scandal up and is trumpeting it from the rooftops. Right? Well, no. A quick search of the Lexis-Nexis news database turns up absolutely no hits on Dan Gurley's name.

What is it with Republicans and multiple-partner bareback sex? This is the second in the past few years, what with Andrew Sullivan's incident. I realize it's unusual for gay men to actually use condoms, but why is it only Republicans getting embarassed by the scandals?

[1] Of course, no one ever seemed to realize that both the Republican and the Democrat candidates opposed legalizing gay marriage.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hey, Jude

What is with all the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital commercials on TV lately? I swear I've seen half a dozen in the past few days. And not just the same ad repeated, different ones each time.

Sure, little kids with cancer are a bad thing, but I don't need to be reminded every 2.5 minutes I'm a terrible person because I'm not giving them all my money.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Specter's spectre

There's a big brouhaha growing in DC about Arlen Specter's comments about what will happen when Bush II should nominate a pro-life judge for a federal or even Supreme Court position. He is now being attacked right and left, or rather Right and left, for being "disloyal." This increasing notion that Party loyalty trumps every other consideration is beginning to disturb me.

Arlen Specter wasn't elected by his consituents to do what's best for the Republican Party. He was elected to look after Pennsylvania's best interests. And the idea that he and, presumably, every Republican is expected to rubber stamp any action by the President is dangerous.

It's been said many times that politics is about compromise. Hundreds of Senators and Representatives come together from many different states, with many different competing interests, and try to hammer out aggreements and make laws that are good for the country as a whole. Not to implement Party doctrine. And, lately, it seems that the Republicans are treating this election with the attitude of, "Ha, ha, we can do whatever we want now."

Similarly, the CIA has begun a purge of those similarly "disloyal" to the president. The linked Houston Chronicle article reads in part:

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Let me make this very clear: it is not the CIA's job to assit the President's agenda. It is the CIA's job to provide intelligence to the government. Period. If the administration can not spin that intelligence to support their policies, that's their problem. They have no business firing people because they might tell the Emperor he has no clothes. Dissent is not disloyalty.

These two things taken together bother me greatly. Now, I don't say this lightly --- I am not a conspiracy theorist and I don't want to sound shrill -- but I think these could be the baby steps toward an authoritarian state. We are seeing one branch of the goverment acting more and more to secure, not the ability to serve the electorate, but it's own power. There is a fine line between no one being able to speak the truth for fear of reprisals to no one being permitted to speak without punishment.

Just a further note about the Specter situation: the right-wing press machine is already starting to spin him as a "liberal," and even an "extreme liberal." He's not. He's a moderate Republican. He is reasonably pro-choice and pro-stem-cell-research. The Christian Coalition gave him an 81% rating in December of 2003.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Value Voter

Haven't blogged in a while. Been tired lately, so no energy for writing.

This letter from Bob Jones, of Bob Jones University, to Bush II has been floating around the blogosphere, but I thought I'd post the interesting bits anyway.

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism.

Paganism? Excuse me? Was I napping when the worship of the Earth Mother became our official state religion?

You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ.

Really? Most liberals (like most Americans) are not only religious, but Christian. But the Republicans have managed to frame the debate so, and therefore it is known so.

Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government.

That's funny, last I looked in the Bible, it didn't say much about religious freedom. In fact, "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no Gods before me," pretty much leaves religious freedom out of the mix entirely. And as for freedom of speech, "The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak" makes it clear that it applies only to some people, anyway. And limited government? The only response to that I can think of is, "What the fuck you talkin' about, Bob?"

Bob, I wonder if Jesus ever made him mind up about a good Christian boy dating one of them colored women? You'd better ban that, just in case. Oh, never mind, too late.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Election results

(I originally wrote this on Wed, and am just getting around to finishing it now. I have some time waiting for this microscope to pump down, and nothing else to do right now.)

Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

-- The White Queen, Alice in Wonderland

Unless Kerry gets a big proportion of the provisional ballots in Ohio, it looks like the election is going to Bush II. That's not entirely out of the question, because Gore got a huge fraction of them in the last election, but I'm not holding my breath. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans sued to stop the vote-counting.

But how can so many people vote to reelect a man that has done so much damage to our country's reputation and honor? I think here is one clue:

  • 57% of Americans believe that before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda before 9/11
  • 20% believe that Iraq was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks
  • 65% believe most experts say Iraq did have WMDs
  • 75% of those said they were going to vote for Bush (pre-election)

The only reason I can think of is cognitive dissonance. Basically, people don't *want* to believe Bush is a bad President, so they don't. I forget where I read it, but someone suggested that people voted their shame. If Bush is a bad President, then the Iraq war is a bad idea, and the deficit is going through the roof for no reason, and even the torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo keep us safe.

The problem with this sort of attitude is that it's hard to get through. Logical arguments won't work, because it's an emotional state of mind. The Democrats are going to need to get through somehow, though, or we're up for a long, hard ride.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

Where is the outrage?

The election is tomorrow, and I will either shut up about politics for a while, or I'll curl up in the fetal position for the next four years. But one thing I just don't seem to get is that the Republican party is mounting what appears to be a coordinated attack on our country and no one is paying attention.

  • In Ohio, a swing state (surprise), it took a judge to prohibit Republicans from challenging voter elegibility actually inside the polling locations. They were planning to mount these challenges in primarily minority neighborhoods, which would likely go slanted toward the Democrats.
  • In Florida, they are dressing up as gay ACT-UP activists from San Francisco and claiming that a vote for Kerry is a vote for gay marriage and gay adoption.
  • In Michigan, Republicans are calling voters and posing as Democrats. The pre-recorded message asks voters to "remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry" and that "Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle."
  • In a number of swing states, Republican firms have destroyed Democratic voter registration forms.
  • In West Virginia, calls to Democrats from the Eastern Panhandle Republican Headquarters falsely told the voters that they were not registered, and would not be able to vote in this election.
  • And then in Alabama, there's this:
    Vote Nov 4th!

Kos has a great blog post up (the last two came from there) with even more outrageous examples of these nearly-treasonous activities.

And no one is reporting on this! This is a direct attack on our government and our way of life, and it's basically being ignored or treated as business as usual. The level of cynicism and lust for power on the part of the Republican party that it shows is simply astounding.