Monthly Archives: October 2004

Pre-Election Round-Up (T-2d)

Samuel Jackson in Jurassic Park.

Three days left. As Samuel Jackson says in Jurassic Park: Hold on to your butts!

Making Votes Count: Is a Theft of the 2004 Election Already Underway?:

From U.S. soldiers being told to use non-secret ballots to the Pentagon counting the votes of the military and U.S. citizens living abroad. From partisan secretaries of state overseeing the election to Homeland Security preventing new U.S. citizens from registering and much more.

Also: Racially-Based Suppression of the African-American Vote: The Role It May Play in the Upcoming Presidential Election

Bush Seeks Limit to Suits Over Voting Rights: (reversing decades of precedent)

[I]n legal briefs filed in connection with cases in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, the administration’s lawyers argue that the new law gives Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft the exclusive power to bring lawsuits to enforce its provisions. These include a requirement that states provide “uniform and nondiscriminatory” voting systems, and give provisional ballots to those who say they have registered but whose names do not appear on the rolls.

Also here: Bush Administration Attempts To Overturn Decades of Legal Precedence & Block Voting Rights Lawsuits From Voters

Card Says President Sees America as a Child Needing a Parent:

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said yesterday that President Bush views America as a ”10-year-old child” in need of the sort of protection provided by a parent.

In final hours, Bush mailings display images of burning World Trade Center:

In a last ditch bid to win Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, where Democratic Sen. John Kerry is leading is most polls, President George W. Bush has engaged in mailings which contain myriad graphic images of the burning World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected in 2000:

Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.

At a campaign rally, Republicans recite the “Bush Pledge.”:

I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.

Embeds bite Bush in the ass

News crew in Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein was in the area where tons of explosives disappeared, and may have videotaped some of those weapons.

Ohio Lawmakers Call for Secretary of State Blackwell to Resign

Several Ohio Democratic Senators are calling for the immediate resignation of Blackwell, stating in a letter addressed to him that he has been “unresponsive to the needs of Ohio’s voters” and has “failed to uphold [his] duties as chief elections officer.”

Cover Up and Concealer

I noticed a really odd behavior with the cat. When I am cleaning out his litter box he is always pawing at the bag or newspaper that I’m using to discard of his kittenables. I thought it was hysterical that he’s pawing at it as if to say: Hey that’s mine – give me that back! or Dammit I’m just a cat okay? I can’t flush for crissakes – do you have to throw that back in my face?

Then Ron realized that what was really going on is the cat was trying to cover it up. I’d scoop and sift onto some newspapers and he’s standing on it trying to rustle and paw the newsprint to cover up his parcels. I could not stop laughing as I realized he’s really saying: Dammit – didn’t you see me bury this stuff and you go digging it up! Don’t! They’ll smell it and know that I’m here! He’s either worried about a potential prey or predator sniffing his presence.

Grudge, The

Crazed eye shrouded by black hair. ('The Grudge' movie poster)

I hope someday someone makes a film with Grace Zabriskie and Veronica Cartwright. And they take turns going totally apeshit crazy. I’ve written it before – no one goes nuts like these two actresses (and throw in Bill Paxton for balance). Grace you’ll remember as Laura Palmer’s mother and her primal scream of grief through a telephone as she learns of her daughter’s death.

In The Grudge, Grace plays a bed-ridden woman with dementia that happens to live in a cursed house. She gets enough time onscreen to freak you out. The film delivers enough jolts and suspense that I can’t wait to hear my sister’s reaction to this film. Ron and I jumped many times as well as that inner squirming and thrashing as you wait for the release of suspense by some terrible new surprise.

The imagery in the films coming out of and inspired by Japanese horror films is so much more urbane than what we have here in the States. So much creepier and unsettling – instead of just shocking us with an image and jumping to the next thing – sometimes the directory just parks the camera on a terrible tableau – this is the one part I liked about the film Jeepers Creepers 2 where the Creeper licks the backdoor of the bus and the camera is parked on him for minutes. Like when a doomed woman goes up an elevator to her condo and as the elevator rises the same grey-skinned, black-eyed child stares at her – from every floor (especially since my building’s elevator has similar windows). There’s lots of use of suggestion to let you put all the pieces together in your head. And just a touch of gore – such as the discovery of a ripped out jawbone – and your mind fills in the hideous backstory. Great use of unearthly burping and rattling – or the wet slap of a bathed child running in the theatre’s rear sound channels.

As Ron would say monsters don’t scare him much – but if it’s just people and creepy stuff it’s totally unsettling. He also sees a parallel to these movies and Filipino ghost tales with ghosts being women with long black hair – and many times choking their victims with it. It is interesting that in many of these films the horror element is feminine instead of the masculine here in this country.

Oh and Sarah Michelle Gellar is such a beauty. I was never a big Buffy-head but am always charmed by her.

At the Cafe. Hey.

The title line is of course a nod to ‘At the Ballet’ from A Chorus Line (the best song in the show methinks). I always think that show gets so boring towards the end. It’s like listening to a bunch of manufacturing workers complain that their jobs are going overseas but not investigating the legislation that made that happen. A Chorus Line boils down to ‘wah – musicals are hard – dancing wrecks your body – there aren’t any more jobs – wah!’ And I can never get past the ‘Music and the Mirror’ sequence where it has that 16 measure porn music booty break. All you need is the music and the mirorr – and a regular paycheck with bennies, eh?

I giggle inside lately when I talk to my clients and colleagues in Canada. I’d always known about the ‘eh’ habit but never really understood it. It reminds of how Ron will talk to his friends and say diba? at the end of every other sentence – ‘isn’t that right?’ Or in English he’ll end sentences with no? I like how my Canadian buds say stuff like That would be a great time, hey? It’s so charming. In Uhmerka we don’t ask other people if our sentences are kerrekt.

I was thinking about digital delivery of movies versus going to movies at the theatres. I hate seeing movies in the theatre. Others say that they love the communal experience but somehow the presence of ill-mannered miscreants and their hair-lipped, half-breed offspring throw me off.

(Sidebar: And now CNN says that the FAA is looking at allowing cellphones on flights. Note to airlines: offer a ‘no cellphones’ upgrade or pleaese please allow cellphones only in the bathrooms or have a tiny cellphone lounge where everybody can scream at eachother in the same room. No way in hell am I going to endure a four hour flight with some Mamet-esque Gordon Gekko idiot shouting like The Donald into his Nokia. That or high schoolers spending the flight shouting into their phones: Nu ‘uh! Yuh hun!)

Anyway – I was thinking of digital delivery of movies and the Tivo phenom. The idea of timeshifting has taken over media (obviously). I think of that in terms of live performance. Live performance demands you show up on time and have a covenant with everybody else – the audience, the staff, the performers. Movie going is similar. I think that is one reason (along with cost) that theatre, ballet and opera and other live experiences are scarce and elitist. Could the same trend happen to movies? When I can have my own big and comfy couch with surround sound and a IMAX screen at home – why the hell would I ever entertain seeing a movie with the groundlings? Will movies never be released in conventional theatres and just be available for exclusive download at varying price rates?

And more importantly – how will the movie industry fight this – especially the theatre chains?

Mr. Zogby was on The Daily Show last night and said that all of the indicators point to John Kerry as the winner of the election. Though I wonder if this is the same company that usually does the exit-poll metrics on election day. My buddy Kevin predicts a landslide. I’m not so sure. I do know that it’s going to be hell on earth once the lawyers get more involved.

If Kerry gets elected I expect some kind of manufactured emergency that Bush, Inc. says they must guide us through – similar to Giuliani’s attempt to stay mayor longer than necessary after the WTC attacks.

Still haven’t seen Mr. Bin Laden. Part of me would love for Rove to engineer a King Kong style unveiling – or like in Titus Andronicus where he’s chained to a parade float and the stoned to death in a collisseum. Seriously – though – how long can this guy survive on dialysis? How do you get DSL into a cave?

Free business tip: with all of the airlines collapsing lately – there are hundreds and hundreds of instantly available serving staff. Think about it: these people know how to serve a seven course meal, they know international standards of food service and presentation. With all of Ron’s commendations for his service (he usually gets at least 1 for every flight he is one) I think he’d do a bang-up job in elegant dining. Matt used to work that – where you have one table or set of tables per evening and you totally clean up with tips and cash.

American Stalinist

Stalin poster.

Matthew, a history prof writes:

As a student of the origins of Stalinist culture and propaganda, I have become more and more aware of the Stalinist tactics and mentality of much of the American Right since the virulent Clinton-hating publicity campaigns of the 1990s. Relentless insistence on unity, on the existence of an unprecedented and overwhelming external threat, and on the total moral depravity of political opposition were all integral to Stalinist propaganda, and they are a growing part of conservative rhetoric in the United States today. Hate campaigns against “wealthy” peasants, “bourgeois” engineers and professors, and “enemies of the people” became central to Stalinism.