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topaz: (madblog)
Dear Hollywood folks:

I like you.  I really, really like you.  Lots of you are really my kind of people: funny, engaging, passionate about making great movies, earnest about progressive change (if a bit shallow in your politics, but lots of us are guilty of that mistake sometimes).  I confess: I am more susceptible to show biz gossip than I like to let on, and am liable to click through on the latest celebrity news quickly when no one's looking.  I care, guys.

So it is only with the deepest sincerity and concern that I ask you today to shut the fuck up about Roman Polanski already.

Seriously!  I don't know what you think you're doing, but it's not helping.  It's not helping anyone.  It's not helping him, it's not helping the situation and it's really not helping you.

Look, I know there are complexities at play here.  I know that the victim has, for most of the last 30 years, wanted to put the case behind her, and since January has wanted the case dismissed.  I know that Polanski was on the verge of locking in a plea bargain when the judge fucked him like.... well, like a 44-year-old director fucks a 13-year-old girl, I guess.  No one, as far as I can tell, believes that he poses a threat to anyone at this point.  I get it.

But please let us return to first principles: this is a man who pleaded guilty to raping a thirteen-year-old girl.  That is not usually classified as a victimless crime, Hollywood folks!  While the judge's apparent decision to reneg on accepting a plea bargain was a rotten thing to do, it does not reduce or lessen his guilt and it arguably does not justify fleeing justice for 30 years.

So if you want to lobby for his freedom by urging that the judge dismiss the charges, or sentence him to time already served: that is a fine argument!  Go for it.

But in the meantime, kindly do not:
And above all, whatever you do, DO NOT allow Woody Allen within a HUNDRED MILES of commenting on this case.  I mean, Jesus H. Christ on a camera dolly.

Or, as [livejournal.com profile] muckefuck put it so eloquently: I ❤ Luc Besson.

I love you, guys.  I really do.  Now stop fucking up.
topaz: (thinky)
I missed this over the last couple of days, but, apparently, on Tuesday Obama plans to give a speech to public school kids across the country, telling them to work hard and stay in school.  That announcement has left conservatives apoplectic with rage at its socialist message.

Some parents are pulling their kids out of school to make sure they are not tricked into staying in school!  In response to parental pressure, a number of school boards have chosen to issue permission slips or not show the speech at all, thereby remaining shrewdly neutral on the question of whether or not kids should go to school.  (I think that for a school board to take this stance must be an example of what they call "reverse psychology.")

I wish I could say that this was an Onion headline, but holy shit, it's really happening.

Is it possible that we have reached peak wingnut?  I almost hope not.
topaz: (snow)
Earlier today, [livejournal.com profile] agaran posted a very thoughtful question about the Wall Street bailout bill: if the underlying cause of this crisis can be traced to bad mortgages, then why isn't anyone taking this as an opportunity to straighten out the actual mortgages and provide homeowners with a path to getting back to solvency?

I took a bit of a devil's advocate position: that even though those things should happen, the goal of the current bill is to keep the credit market functioning long enough for the dust to settle, until we know how many banks are left standing and can start to put the pieces back together.  If we are indeed on the brink of catastrophe, it doesn't make sense to hold up the rescue plan with negotiations over long-term fixes, no matter how sensible those fixes may be.  Only after we've achieved short-term stability should we even think about the long term.

I was feeling pretty smart about that answer.  Then I got this from another friend on a mailing list I'm on:
OK, now I support the bailout bill. They are finally meeting my needs.  Check it out.

 From <http://marketplace.publicradio.org/pdf/senatebillAYO08C32_xml.pdf>

Page 300 of the Senate's version of the bailout bill:

(a) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (2) of section 4161(b) is amended by redesignating subparagraph (B) as sub-paragraph (C) and by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following new subparagraph:

(B) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROW SHAFTS.—Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means of enhancing the spine of such shaft (whether sold separately or incorporated as part of a finished or unfinished product) of a type used in the manufacture of any arrow which after its assembly
"(i) measures 5⁄16 of an inch or less in diameter, and
"(ii) is not suitable for use with a bow described in paragraph (1)(A)."

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to shafts first sold after the date of enactment of this Act.

topaz: (frowny)
For the love of God, people, can we drop this nonsense about how maybe Trig Palin is really Sarah Palin's granddaughter?  Christ on a crutch.  This story is so stupid it makes the "Barack Obama in a limousine with cocaine and gay hookers" line sound like an NPR report.

At the moment the Democrats are not, for once, the dumbest party in the country.  Let us please keep it that way for another few months.  Thank you.
topaz: (Dutch Apple Nun)
.... is that it always seems to get promoted by people like this guy:
"Anyone who is married to Christie Brinkley and has to masturbate at all is probably a sex addict," said Doug Weiss, a licensed psychologist and the executive director of the Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado. ... "The fact that a man would spend money on women who are probably less beautiful and less wonderful than his own wife is often an indication of a sex addiction," said Weiss, who has not treated Cook or Brinkley.
Really!  Having to masturbate at all makes you a sex addict?  And does that only apply to men who are married to supermodels, or is it forgivable to resort to the sin of onanism if you have the misfortune to be married to an actual human being?

Kudos to ABC News for managing to find the person who must be the most sexually neurotic and immature soi-disant "sex counsellor" in the country for a sound bite on why people masturbate.  Is Lou Wildmon no longer returning their calls or something?
topaz: (arrr!)
In the wake of the insane Rachael Ray keffiyah controversy this week, I thought it only prudent to take note of some overlooked incidents in which prominent Americans have celebrated Islamic bloodthirsty something-or-other.

For example, it has gone peculiarly overlooked that First Lady Laura Bush wore a keffiyeh (better known as an ISLAMIC TERROR SCARF) during a SECRET VISIT to a mosque (better known as an ISLAMIC TERROR HUT) in 2005!

Why do godless liberals like Michelle Malkin and Charles Johnson continue to overlook the Bush family's efforts at appeasement to the enemies of America?  Only time will tell!

topaz: (madblog)
Dear Mr. O'Reilly:

Having heard so much about your recent comments about Michelle Obama, I was very grateful to learn I was misinformed.  Knowing that you do not yet want to go on a lynching party against her is a deep relief to me and, I am sure, many if not most other white Americans.  It is pleasing and humbling to know that in this day and age, lynching is no longer the immediate response to Negro recalcitrance, but has become a last resort, to be employed only when all other options have failed!

Truly, it is a proud day for America!  No reasonable person could possibly disagree, and it is astonishing indeed that Michelle Obama does not share your pride at the diminished popularity of lynching.

Now that you have made yourself clear on this subject, I am hoping that you can also clarify some additional matters:
  • In your opinion, does the yellow peril still warrant the issuance of Jap hunting licenses?
  • Does it make sense at this time to stock up on crosses and gasoline, or should we wait until we are 100% sure that they are warranted?
  • Would you support the construction of concentration camps for Jews who do not admit to being wholly proud of their country?  Failing that, how about at least some yellow stars?
I am sure that you have received some negative feedback from so-called liberal agitators.  Please do not be alarmed; I understand that no one plans to act in retaliation unless they have complete and total proof that you are as much of a dingbat bastard as you sound.

Yours in solidarity,
[livejournal.com profile] qwrrty
topaz: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] crouchback alerted me to what he and I think have to be the dumbest thing anyone has said yet in this year's Presidential race.  Mike Huckabee, talking to Katie Couric about climate change:
I think we ought to be out there talking about ways to reduce energy consumption and waste. And we ought to declare that we will be free of energy consumption in this country within a decade, bold as that is. (Sierra Club)
Emphasis mine.

This really puts the left on notice.  We have to come up with a new game plan.  Clearly our wimpy "renewable energy" and "sustainable living" approaches are not going to cut it any more, not now that Huck has laid down the law.  Maybe we can pledge a program of free photosynthesis classes to all public school kids?

I really am more pleased every day at the thought that the Republican party might actually nominate this wingnut for the Presidency.
topaz: (human dalek)
This has been an absolutely fabulous summer, in terms of political football:
(Am I missing anything, [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory?)

The headline for today is "The GOP's Bathroom Problem."  It is a line so pitch-perfect that not one or two but three separate publications or blogs have independently run it.  It's like Christmas every day now, I swear to god.
topaz: (madblog)
This is at least partly related to spending the evening watching a Michael Moore movie, but I am so fucking angry about the Scooter Libby business I can't see straight.  Holy hell am I mad.  I could just about eat a battleship and shit staples.

I think one of the things that's most infuriating is that we have such a gutless, spineless, Democratic leadership in Congress, it's practically guaranteed that nothing is going to happen.  Pelosi's chair was barely warm before she announced that impeachment was off the table.  (The Huffington Post is urging you to make her put it back on the table.  That number is 202-225-0100, folks.  And MoveOn has one of their endless petitions in play to support impeachment, if you like signing MoveOn petitions.)

Our House rep, Marty Meehan, is vacating his seat this fall and it's up for grabs.  The first candidate who says they support impeaching this motherfucker will get my vote.  For that matter, they may well get me to quit my job and go to work on their campaign.
topaz: outside the Akamai NOCC (Quinn GNARR)
The latest jaw-dropping piece to come out of the White House is Dick Cheney's assertion that the office of the Vice President is not part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not subject to the usual oversight processes that apply to the rest of the White House.

Even more astonishing and alarming is that he may be right.

There's a document known as the Plum Book, formally titled "United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions," which is released every four years and apparently documents the structure of the Executive and Legislative branches, plus dozens of independent government agencies.  Appendix 5 of the 2004 Plum Book is titled "Office of the Vice President," and says:
The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).
Smoley hokes.  It makes sense from a separation-of-powers point of view (remember that the Vice President is also the President of the Senate), but still.

I am, of course, not an expert in Constitutional law and don't know how authoritative these sources are.  Some part of me is sure that this is not a real loophole, and that elsewhere in the vast shadowy behemoth of Federal regulatory law there is a stipulation that presidential orders which apply to the executive branch are also held to apply to the veep.

Nevertheless.  I really hope this gets played out to its logical extreme.  It will be very interesting to watch.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory for bringing to my attention the original Time Blog article (linking to both the Cheney quote and the Plum Book).
topaz: (Default)

and from the other side...., originally uploaded by qwrrty.

A woman in the VoteOnMarriage.org camp was holding up this sign this afternoon outside the Massachusetts Statehouse. I found it hysterical and fascinating all at once.

What's the best part? I can't decide! The incoherent references to "pederast homosexuals" and "adult-child sexual liaisons"? The comparisons between "gay-lesbian-bi clubs" and "Hitler Youth groups"? Or just the whole suggestion that the U.S. in 2007 is somehow comparable to "Nazi Germany"?

I think what I liked the most about this, and some of the other distasteful signs on the other side, is that it served to remind us of the real motives of the protestors. Make no mistake: this wasn't just an abstract conflict of constitutional principle. Oh, I'm sure that for some people that was an important issue -- but I daresay that most of the people who turned out were not constitutional scholars. For most of them, by far, the motivations were clearly and starkly motivated by hate. (See also.)

I was tempted to go over and suggest that her sign would be more accurate if you crossed out "Today" and wrote "Catholic Church." It was probably just as well I didn't.

Edit: According to the caption on an AP photograph run in the Boston Metro, this woman was subsequently arrested for slapping a gay rights supporter during an argument. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] beah for noticing this and bringing it to my attention.

topaz: (alien)
The dust has begun to settle in Boston.  If you have been ignoring the news for the last twenty-four hours or so, we had a bomb scare yesterday: the sudden discovery of dozens of mysterious electronic devices installed at outdoor locations throughout downtown Boston caused the city to shut down several roadways and bridges for several hours and destroy the mysterious things, until someone figured out that they were part of a guerilla marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, arranged by Turner Broadcasting.

(I'm not providing links -- if you need more background, go to your favorite news site and search for "Boston bomb")

It is hard for me to see that anyone involved in this debacle was really making with the smrts.  The BPD certainly did not exactly have their finest hour.  The first device that they were alerted to?  That I can understand approaching with care, even if it doesn't appear to fit any known bomb profile.  But once it had been neutralized and disassembled?  It should not have taken a genius leap to figure out that they were following a pattern of defusing NON-BOMBS.  The fact that they have gone on to arrest the guys who were hired to build and install these things is just a shameful attempt at saving face.

On the other hand, it's not as though Turner Broadcasting and the marketing company they retained for this stunt are blameless.  I would love to have been in the planning meeting for this one:

"I have a pitch for our new ATHF campaign.  Let's build a bunch of circuit boards with flashy lights and install them anonymously around major metropolitan areas!"

"But won't everyone be able to tell that it's a cheesy marketing campaign?"

"Good point.  Let's just not include anything on the device that identifies us.  And make sure that we don't coordinate with the local authorities either!"

"Perfect!  What could go wrong?"

There's an old Bloom County comic strip, making fun of The People's Court, that has Judge Wapner saying, "Bailiff, would you please kick both these litigants in the butt?"  That's about how I'm feeling today.
topaz: (Default)
Larry Ellison has rescinded the $115 million gift that he had promised to Harvard University, citing Larry Summers' departure as university president.  Observers suggested that Ellison is concerned that with Summers leaving the university, it may lose its reputation for male sexist chauvinism.
topaz: (gormy gull)
As the Harriet Miers nomination marches on I am becomingly increasingly convinced of a grotesque irony: the Republican wing of the Senate is putting up the hue and cry against someone who is probably the very person they most want to have on the Supreme Court. )
topaz: (sun-moon-coffee)
From Slate: the reporters are getting angry.

Related: Crooks and Liars supplies a video clip of Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera losing it on camera. (Say what you will about Geraldo, I don't think this was staged -- he's just not that good an actor.)

These video and audio clips are stunning. They are all worth reviewing. The NPR clip linked from Slate is particularly riveting: I have never heard Robert Siegel come so close to losing his temper during an interview.

At dinner last night someone else brought up this phenomenon of reporters being unable to maintain neutrality. My mother said she had heard one reporter say that this was the first time in her career that she felt she could not stay on the sidelines, that she had a moral obligation to intervene in the situation.

It seems as though New Orleans, and not Iraq, could become this generation's Vietnam. It is obviously too soon to tell, but no other event I have seen in my lifetime has led the press -- or the public -- to such open disbelief with the government's statements as the events of the last week have. The protests against the two Gulf Wars, by contrast, seem remote and detached: outrage from the usual suspects and bland equivocation from the media. I have never seen such rage from the press.
topaz: (Morgan bike)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] tfarrell:

California elementary school tracks students with RFID badges

Earlier today I sent the following letter to the school principal, whose e-mail address can be found on the school's web site. An abridged version went to a couple of newspapers.

Mr. Graham -

I have recently read with great interest Brittan Elementary School's experiment with active badges to monitor students' location during the school day. I am writing to commend the school for its forward-looking stance on these sensitive matters, and to suggest some improvements.

We live, unfortunately, in a dangerous and difficult world — a world where our children may at any moment turn into vicious killers, or where trusted family friends may turn out to be dangerous molesters. It is regrettable that not everyone recognizes the urgency of ensuring our security in these distressing times.

With that in mind, I suggest that, while distasteful, it would be advisable for not only the school students but also faculty and staff to wear badges to monitor their position, so that parents can be sure of the continued physical safety of their children. In the unlikely but tragically possible event that a school employee were to take advantage of a child, school administrators and parents should have the opportunity to know right away and be able to intervene instantly. Monitoring faculty and staff locations would also keep administrators apprised of teachers who, for example, neglect their responsibilities to the school by skipping department meetings or taking extended cigarette or coffee breaks.

I believe that extending the system to school employees as well as students would do a great deal to ensure student safety. I cannot imagine that anyone who does not have something to hide could object to such a program, so I have great confidence that the school board would approve it promptly.

Thank you for your consideration —

Tim Pierce
topaz: (alien)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] fj:

Watch out when doing your homework; you too could be charged with Photographing While Black.

Lose your resident alien paperwork, spend seven months in detention. Part I and Part II. (I'd like to find more coverage of this issue to find out exactly what the backstory is, but this is all I can find so far.)

I like [livejournal.com profile] bookteacher's suggestion quite a lot: if you're white, the next time you see agents in a public place searching or checking IDs of a non-white person, demand to join the party. "Excuse me, officer? Are you here to perform random searches? Here, please search my bag. No, no, I insist that you search my bag!"

(At least it's more productive than my other instinct, which was to say "no" to anyone demanding to search my bags on the T and thus become a test case for the ACLU when I got arrested.)
topaz: (Default)
This afternoon All Things Considered discussed the plans by the right wing to redouble their attack on abortion. A university political observer was quoted, "Religious conservatives have been, in their view, very patient with the Republican party... now that Republicans control both houses of Congress as well as the White House, conservatives are going to expect some action on their agenda." Bill Frist, that nice moderate guy who now happens to be majority leader, announced his intention to start the session with a head-on attack on partial birth abortion.

These days I'm pissed off all the time about this, and I can't even figure out who to be pissed off at. I'm pissed at Nader and the Green Party for playing Russian Roulette with our few shaky political gains, and I'm even more pissed off at the Democratic Party for demonstrating their exquisite ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Who do you turn to now? It's enough to make the anarchists look good.

April 2012


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