Friday, November 18, 2005

Camera Obscura - Just Weird

Some things the world does NOT need:

A TV-movie remake of "The Poseidon Adventure", which hits NBC Sunday night. At least its not a reality show and it hits the airwaves just before next year's big-screen remake which features a gay couple. People get paid for this crap??

Fox has ordered up a series based on the "Terminator" movies and plan to call it "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." My advice to anyone involved in the production is cash those paychecks quickly and then get ready for the entire 6-episode DVD set soon to follow. Yeesh.

The current season of "The Simpsons." Please stop this show. I am hopeful the big-screen movie in production now is getting all the good writing and satire missing from the show for last year or so. The first eight or ten seasons are priceless, but it just isn't aging well and the bite is gone. And try as hard as they might, "Family Guy" and "American Dad" just don't make the grade for me. I think the shows are satires of how bad TV shows can be -- but that's like shooting fish in a shot glass. Let the bashing of my opinion begin.

Now for some more interesting viewing choices.

At least, I think this could be interesting. The NBC show "Medium" has a 3-D episode on Monday, and features a CGI-altered Rod Serling introducing the show and telling you how/when to wear the 3-D glasses (which are in the new magazine format TV Guide). I sort of like this show which is a cross between "Bewitched", "Columbo" and "Memento," but it is a guilty pleasure.

Speaking of 3-D, let me get nostalgic. Back in the early 80s, a highly profitable (and utterly silly) group of 3-D movies were released, "Friday the 13th 3-D" and "Jaws 3-D". A small theatre in Morristown somehow then followed that up with a re-release of the 1973 release "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" in 3-D. I nearly wrecked my car as I saw that title up on the marquee -- wha???? Someone thinks Morristown is gonna go for Andy freakin' Warhol??? Of course, I HAD to go see this, if only to watch the revulsion grow faster than kudzu thru the audience. I was not disappointed. Folks brought their kids to see this one -- I laughed so hard I had a nosebleed as the movie unspooled and all the weirdness stomped into the room and the audience kept up a mantra of "Dang! What the heck is this?" Sadly, some of my favorite lines are not suitable for this blog. Suffice to say that by the time the credits rolled, the theatre which had been packed to capacity, consisted of myself and two friends (who had both wanted to leave.) Now, Udo Kier shows up in everything - I'm waiting for guest shots on "Desperate Housewives" and "The West Wing."

Just one more thought unconnected to anything else in this post - Oone of the funniest movie titles my double-entendre mind has encountered lately: "Tarzan's Magic Fountain." Heh heh.

Oh, one more great moment in Celebrity History - Rex L. Camino's post this week about Paris Hilton's monkey attacking her in a lingerie shop. Yes, that's what I said. God Bless you Rex, and God Bless that monkey too. (Paris named the monkey Baby Luv.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Crumbling Conservatives?

While the mind-numbing CIA case about Valerie and Scooter now includes the Washington Post and Bob Woodward, there are some keen observations about the Conservative stance in the current administration and in Congress from columnist George Will. (WaPo reg. required)

Part of his opinion piece focuses on that fact that voters in PA booted the school board members who abandoned Science in favor of the utterly mis-named "Intelligent Design" approach. That board opted for the teaching of the "supernatural" and deleted from the definition of science the phrase "a search for natural explanations of observable science." Ummmm -- that IS science isn't it??

And he also notes that spending under the Republicans is an out-of-control machine, where "pork spending" in 1991 was numbered at 546 projects for a total of $3.1 billion, and in 2005 the pork projects number 13,997 at a price of $27.3 billion.

What's a voter to do? Is any political party addressing real issues? Dissent is Evil, says the V.P., and now I suppose Dissent is yet another arm of the Axis of Evil.

And whatever "agreements" are made in Congress regarding the provisions of the mis-named "Patriot Act", I defy anyone to name a single reason to by-pass explicit Constitutional Laws about ammending our Constitution or at best why on earth we would need to deem these fundamental changes as Permanent ones.

Tiny factions of active and loud fanatics have seized the policymakers by their endless Fundraising Balls.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Say Wha ????

Found a nifty bit of political insight at Nashville is Talking, about radio talk show host Steve Gill, who says the East Tennessee Republicans are the ones who empower and will re-elect Gov. Bredesen.

In Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee, I think the Republican base is not fond of Bredesen. And the Democratic base isn’t particularly fond of Bredesen,” Gill says. “What’s holding his numbers is that East Tennessee Republican base."

I know radio hosting can give ya the impression of Always Being Right -- but Steve, who failed on a few runs at Congress should also note that few residents outside of the mid-state know diddly-squat about him.

The again, who knows? Maybe the ET GOP is full of Bredesen Love. (snicker!)

The stumping for the hallowed halls of Eternal Office Holders is certainly underway, and my money is going on the spot that says "Nationwide Cat-Fight". Sadly, the Loser is always the same - the voter. They are outnumbered by the apathetic and the pathetically rich.

East Tennessee has to cope with comments like this from GOP Senator Steve Southerland, speaking Monday in Greeneville to supporters as reported in the Greeneville Sun:

Southerland first read some of those comments by Greeneville lawyer John T. Milburn Rogers to his audience.

Rogers had told a recent meeting of the Greene County Democratic Women’s Club, “Republicans have somehow, due to inept Democratic leadership, hijacked Christians.” In addition, Rogers had said, “I don’t believe God is a ruler of man, and man the ruler of woman.”

The Greeneville attorney had charged fundamentalist Christians “want you (women) powerless, and only to speak when spoken to.” Southerland responded to Rogers’ comments by saying, “I believe God is the creator of man ... and I will put Him first” as a state senator if re-elected.

Rogers also previously had said, “The greatest threat to our system of democracy ... particularly to the American woman, is the attack (Bush advisor) Karl Rove and the far right (are leading) against a clear demarcation of church and state.”

Rogers also said, “Your rights as American women (to have abortions) may be abolished by the Supreme Court” if Bush succeeds in placing conservative judges on the nation’s highest court.

Responding, Southerland said, “I’ve always voted pro-life, and always will vote pro-life.”

In addition to describing himself as “right-to-life” on the abortion issue, Southerland said he has voted consistently to keep taxes low, and that he was proud to serve as a member of the state Senate’s Ethics Committee, and as chaplain of the Senate Republicans’ caucus."

It does get confusing -- Southerland went on to say this:

Southerland said his Democratic critics who complain that Tennessee is 48th in the nation in terms of spending for public education are being shortsighted, because students overall in the state are being better educated.

To prove that, he said Tennessee was ranked 12th nationally last year in terms of SAT scores for high school students."

That's an argument I've been making for years as the local school board consumes ever more dollars and points accusing fingers at anyone who dares hold THEM accountable for their constantly rising costs.

And since I'm on the local topic of county politics - Here in Hamblen County, another down and dirty catfight is ahead as every seat on the County Commission is up for re-election, and so are the offices of County Mayor and Sheriff. Hopefully, you've not been caught up in the tornado-spin of cursing aimed at the most recently elected members of the Commission and realize that voters in each district need to hold their representatives accountable, that's VOTERS and not the MEDIA spin.

But realistic and pragmatic views tell me: party politics always outweigh the needs of the public. Who knows, by election day there may be so much Chaos over non-issues and emotional wailing that party nonsense will galvanize more folks to actually come forth and think for themselves. That my friends, is called Foolish Optimism.

Guess I'll jes grab my popcorn and watch the catfight.

On Anonymous Blogging

It's pretty obvious I am not an anonymous blogger -- my name is part of the title, much to the dismay of my mother - "You're using your real name?" To which I replied I have been writing and reporting and otherwise shamelessly self-promoting myself for years and see no reason to stop.

Both Say Uncle and No Silence Here (see the specific links further in this post) have noted an outraged resident, who accuses an anonymous blogger of being akin to a "terrorist" and it seems to highlight a particular madness in 21st century America -- that Free Speech and Constitutional Rights are bothersome roadblocks to something-or-other, and should be controlled and contained and restrained. It's a truly deranged mindset and rolls back American History like it was a dirty, smelly rug to be tossed into the trash.

I urge you to read the entire post from Say Uncle here, in which he concludes with the thoughts:

Keep it up pesky anonymous bloggers. We are the new press. Somebody had to step up because the politicians took over the old press. Remember the lesson learned by South Knox Bubba, the politicos will lean on you if they can."

No Silence Here weighs in with his take on the issue here.

In 1995 the Supreme Court issued an opinion on a case, McIntyre vs. Ohio Elections Commission, regarding a woman who was issuing an anonymous pamphlet opposing a proposed school tax. The Court held her actions were protected by the First Ammendment.

In an article byJulie Hilden at, she considers the threats to Free Speech on the Internet in general and the McIntyre case in particular, noting:

"Accordingly, the Court could have written a very narrow opinion had it chosen to do so. But, significantly, it did not. Instead, six of the majority Justices including moderate-to-conservative Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy joined an opinion, penned by Justice Stevens, that not only protected but applauded anonymous speech.

The opinion proclaimed (as had an earlier case) that [a]nonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind, and cited numerous examples of the positive uses of anonymity in, for example, the Federalist Papers while taking little notice of anonymity's bad side."

When Knox County GOP leader Brian Hornback offered up this view via Say Uncle, it got my attention:

My point is this, bloggers that have enough intestinal fortitude to put it out there, knowing that their identity is on the line have far more credibility than those that want to remain anonymous. When I look at a blog and the person is a coward that refuses to reveal who they are. I ignore them and tell others to ignore them, they have NO credibility. If you are going to spend your time to affect public opinion and public policy then be man or woman enough to identify yourself.”

And no, it is hardly surprising that Hornback won't allow comments on his blog.

Speech must be controlled, seems to be the opinion. That, as I said, is an idea that ignores history, limits personal freedom and the First Ammendment, and marginalizes the fact that citizens rights are vital to our nation.

Do I support every viewpoint expressed on the Internet or around the corner? No. But I do support the freedom of expression. Read it or not, write it or not -- Free Speech is the conerstone of our rights. There have been deafenening wails that money contributed to a political campaign is Free Speech and should be protected -- I doubt it. Money is a form of influence and affluence, but nothing, not even money, can reach the power of Words.

That's why some folks fear them.

You may find those who agree with you, or you may find your views are utterly rejected.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Doubters, Part 2

"Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people," President Bush aboard Air Force One.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." President Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

I believe that there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government..... Too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think it will give some comfort to the enemy.... If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country more good than it will do the enemy, and it will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur." Senator Robert Taft.

"In the name of protecting us, this administration is abandoning our historic values, cramping our personal freedoms, violating our privacy, making a mockery of justice and asserting a right for the president, as commander in chief, to ignore U.S. law if he wishes to.
" from the editorial by Tom Teepen in the Times Union.

Here are some more excerpts from Teepen's editorial, titled "Scrapping Civil Liberty in the Guise Of Patriotism."

Is Bush really against torture? He is threatening to use his first veto if the House accepts a bill that would formally outlaw "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment" of prisoners. The legislation passed the Senate 90-9.

And Vice President Dick Cheney has been lobbying fiercely behind the scenes to carve out a specific exemption for the CIA if the legislation does move forward. Presumably the administration could then claim that the United States doesn't torture but the CIA just might, as if the agency were a mini-state itself that only happens to be in Washington, in U.S. government buildings staffed with U.S. government employees.

As you may have noticed by now, none of this makes any sense. And not only is it incoherent, it is worse than pointless. It puts the military at odds with its own proud traditions and sets up captured Americans for the same kind of treatment. The abuses have made our country a stink in the world."

Doubters - Why Do They Worry You So?

Kevin Drum and Glenn Reynolds have had a disagreement.

You can read about their arugment thru the links above - and yes, this is my first attempt at the mini-post style. Your job? Link, Read and Discuss.