Thursday, March 27, 2008

Middle Fingers: Stuck Up for Jay Leno

Why are people around the United States flipping Jay Leno the bird?

See the photos, watch the video, and get the story here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

God Awful

Two contestants on Big Brother chat about the game savvy of one of the other contestants, the pink-haired James with the mohawk:

Adam: Why is he so good?

Natalie: I don't know. God's got to give me the power to get rid of him. Have to. [Sips some wine.]

This is just me, but I don't think God watches Big Brother 9.


From Natalie's CBS bio:

Natalie is religious and takes her Bible everywhere. She's still very proud of her figure and loves to enter bikini contests.

I wonder if Jesus has ever helped her win a bikini contest?


Also from Natlie's bio:
She describes her perfect romantic partner as someone who is smart, healthy with big strong muscles and he should love football. He should also be adventurous and honest and love God and Jesus.
Here's wishing Natalie much luck in finding someone with pecs who loves Jesus as much as Natalie loves big strong Jesus-loving muscles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tommy Flanagan Alert

Everybody exaggerates sometimes. It's human nature. Everybody has a wee bit of Tommy Flanagan in him or her from time to time, whether it's a padded resume or the "not quite the truth" age people use on certain Internet "dating" sites.

So while I don't see the occasional exaggeration as a major deal, in politics or otherwise, it becomes a little more of a big deal IF the mistruth is, say, something on which you have based your entire presidential campaign: That you and only you have the experience to be president, and you say your opponent lacks this relevant experience.

With this in mind, experience this:

SIDENOTE: Sunday night before I went to bed, I scanned the news channels, and three of the stations were still talking about Rev. Wright, including playing sound bytes from his speech out of context. Didn't Obama already put this issue to rest? Apparently not, and this is worrisome. Here is the full speech in context. Decide for yourself, and keep hope alive.

Methinks the media have a wee bit o' Tommy Flanagan in them when in comes to their Rev. Wright coverage, and for me this is the far greater sin than exaggerating about being under bullet fire.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oh the Humanity!

The below video is on several of my favorite blogs this morning.

It is absolutely horrifying.

Friday, March 21, 2008

19th Century Idea: Colonize U.S. Blacks Out of America. 21st Century Idea: Colonize U.S. Gays Out of America

Colonization was a movement that gained popularity in the 1830s to send black Americans to Africa. Abraham Lincoln was a supporter of this early in his career. In fact, he had considered a limited proposal in this regard as late as one day before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. SOURCE Fascinating, huh?

If blogs existed back then, Dailykos and Americablog would have had a field day with that one. And don't get me started on the sad truth about how right-wing bloggers would have reacted to both the Emanicipation Proclamation and the attempts to colonize African-Americans back to Africa.

I bring all this up because of something I read on Towleroad this morning. A right winger is advocating his preference that gays be colonized outside the United States. Serious.

"I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society," said Peter Sprigg of the "Family Research Council."


I also think stupidity is destructive to society, but I won't go so far as to advocate that Peter Sprigg and his ilk leave the country. That wouldn't be right.

I hope Sprigg realizes that Jesus died for his sins, all his sins, including his apparent sins of contempt, deceipt and stupidity.

Please turn the other cheek when you hear remarks like these. Happy Good Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

Some people will never completely watch, read or listen to Barack Obama's extraordinary speech on race earlier this week. They won't make the time, or they may be a-feared of all the long sentences.

Take, for example, the editors at USA Today, who used six elipses to condense two break-out quotes (one on racial politics, the other on Obama's white grandmother) that appeared above the fold on its front page yesterday. I guess they think people are too stupid to want to have to read the full quotes? Or did they not want to devote the space? Both?

Well, for those people who lack attention spans, I suggest that they watch this musical version of Obama's speech.

OK, it's not really a musical version of his speech, but it does hit a few of the same notes.

Everyone's a little bit racist
Doesn't mean we go
Around committing hate crimes.
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Maybe it's a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Heart Gene Kelly's Wife

The good Mrs. Kelly wrote a letter to the editor in today's New York Times. It is, perhaps, the finest combination of "sass" and "class" I've ever read in a letter to the editor anywhere. Enjoy, because this well-written denunciation of the worst-ever American president is (to borrow one of her well-chosen words) sheer "artistry":

Re “Soft Shoe in Hard Times” (column, March 16):

Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president’s clumsy performances. To suggest that “George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly” represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker — particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing — would have sent him reeling.

Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.

Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

Patricia Ward Kelly
Los Angeles, March 16, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech on Race

What do YOU think?

BS: More Than Just a Company Abbreviation?

You tell me. I pulled these screen caps from here. Click to embiggen.


And look who was drinking the Bear Stearns BS Kool-Aid just last week:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not-So-Happy Anniversary

Five years ago this week, on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office at the White House. Below is the exact text of his speech; I haven't changed a word. Read every word, because the "words," which could also be described as "lies," or " not quite the truth," speak for themselves.

The Oval Office. 10:16 P.M. EST, March 19, 2003

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.

To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.

The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military -- a final atrocity against his people.

I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.

We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.

I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.

Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.

My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.

May God bless our country and all who defend her.

END 10:20 P.M. EST

WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We know the world was not in "grave danger" then, but it is now. We know there were no "weapons of mass murder." We know we were not living "at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace." We know that the "honorable and decent spirit" of George Bush's America includes prison torture. We know (because all the retired generals are saying so) that this war has turned out to be a "campaign of half measures." We know that our country entered the war not "reluctantly" but "purposefully." We know that the "innocent civilian" casualities Bush talked about sparing include at least 80,000 (and probably many more) dead Iraqi children, women and men.

Keep hope alive.

I Heart Green

Friday, March 14, 2008

The New Irish: Mexicans

This is a slightly changed repost from last year. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A Special St. Patrick's Day
Message for Lou Dobbs

Some of my best friends are ... Irish.

I'm blessed in this way. They have great Irish surnames like Flannery, O'Flannery and McFlannery. As I said, truly blessed.

Starting last weekend, and continuing this weekend (St. Patrick's Day is Monday) and still continuing the weekend after that, I'll be celebrating St. Patrick's Day at pubs, parades and parties put on by various friends with great names like Patrick or Paddy, Seamus or Shane.

With so much love for the Irish during this time of year, it's easy to forget just how much the Irish in America used to be hated. Despised, really.

Let's review the history.

Around the middle of the 19th century -- say, roughly 1840 - 1860 -- there were lots of Lou Dobbs-like characters who were hell bent on whipping up hatred of Irish-Catholic immigrants for many of the same reasons that Lou Dobbs whips up hatred of Mexican immigrants (also usually Catholic) today.

Back then, the ire revolved around the competition these new immigrants posed for housing and jobs in America's Protestant-packed cities. There was also a strong anti-Catholic religious element as well. People were a-feared of the pope sticking his beanie-capped head into American politics via Irish-Catholic Democratic politicians (The 19th Century Teddy Kennedys, if you will.) The thought among the radicals was that Catholics sought to take over the United States and install the Pope as its leader, a sentiment so strong that JFK faced these same questions when he ran for President in 1960.

So just as Lou Dobbs is fearful of Mexicans today because they supposedly take good jobs (like picking lettuce) away from Americans, men like Dobbs in the 1850s pumped up a similar fever-pitch against the Irish, many of whom were fleeing the Irish Potato Famine and (also like Mexicans today) just trying to make sure their families didn't starve.

Back then, the anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant crowd had their own political party, The American Party, also known by other names, such as the Know-Nothing Party.

They were quite successful, as third parties go, including a presidential ticket in 1856 that included a former president, Millard Fillmore, who received almost one in four of the votes cast that year. (The gay guy, James Buchanan, won this race. And, as a sidenote, I wonder if the current anti-gay party, the Republicans, will look as foolish 100 years from now?)

Lou Dobbs probably would have been a Fillmore-button-wearing and card-carrying member of the Know-Nothing party had he lived back in the 1850s.

There is one big difference between the Know-Nothings of the 1850s and the present-day Lou Dobbs. These haters of yesteryear didn't reinvent themselves and go on populist rants just for want of better ratings, as Lou Dobbs has and does, since cable TV (of course) had not been invented yet. In any case, The Know-Nothings would have LOVED to have played hard-ball and engage in all the shouting that goes on on cable TV news programs. Like Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs and Chris Matthews, they'd probably have top-rated shows.

So on St. Patrick's day, I want all my Irish friends to turn the other cheek. I want them to raise their frosty and frothy mugs, filled with green sudsy liquids, and to give a special toast to Mr. Lou Dobbs himself -- and to all of Mr. Lou Dobbs' ancestors who had the good sense to immigrate to this fine country.


Suggested Toast for Lou: May the wind always be at your back, and may the windbag anti-immigration hysteria on CNN be kept to an absolute minimum.

Take a Hill Pill

If you follow this link, and this link, you will find a total of eight videos that will help you decide whom to vote for for President.

And here's a bonus video for good measure.

Worth watching, all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dawn Wells' Thelma and Louise Moment

My favorite character on Gilligan's Island was Mary Jane ... er, I mean Mary Ann.

So I was sorry to hear that Dawn Wells recently was arrested for marijuana possession. But in the big picture of things, who cares? Marijuana should be legal, and do we really need to spend money on prosecutors and jail cells for people who like to play the bongos and spark one up every now and then? (Not that I play the bongos myself; I'm really "not musically inclined.")

But anyhow: The disturbing part of the story for me, and which creeps me out a little, is that she says she picked up three hitchhikers prior to the arrest. According to news reports, when the officer who pulled her over asked about a marijuana smell, Wells said she'd just given a ride to three hitchhikers and had dropped them off when they sparked it up.

I mean, who picks up hitchhikers (and three hitchhikers at that) nowadays?

I wonder if the hitchhikers looked like Brad Pitt?

"We don't need no bling; we have the real thing"

Several of my favorite blogs, linked to at right, had this video on today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kids Stuff

When I was a kid, I had Fisher Price Airport, Fisher Price Farm, and Fisher Price Firehouse.

Never had a Playmobile Security Checkpoint. Never needed one.

Currently out of stock on Amazon. But customers who viewed this product also viewed the Kids Pimp Suit Costume, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Poster Hot Red Leather Pants, and ... Dianetics.

Monday, March 10, 2008

2 + 2 = 4 (Still)

2 + 2 = 3 is a better story. It's "man bites dog."

Ditto for 2 + 2 = 5.

But sometimes it's helpful to recall that even though 2 + 2 = 4 is boring, it's also quite factual, even though it doesn't excite the ratings numbers for the all-news cable channels.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ringy Dingy

Gary Hart and Larry David have a message for Hillary Clinton's Red Phone (and Red-State-Appealing) strategy.

I think I've already covered the winning-at-all-costs strategy here.

Here's hoping that America doesn't hang up on Obama based on the politics of fear and irrational, Rovian scare tactics.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Sherwood Schwartz is getting the 2,356th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robert Reed, by the way, doesn't have one, but Florence Hendersen does.

Marcia doesn't have one, either. But we can Keep Hope Alive.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Clinton Wins Rhode Island

According to exit polls from Quahog, Hillary won big among white males (Peter Griffin) and white females (Lois Griffin), with Obama doing better among African-Americans (Cleveland and Loretta), and the higher educated (Brian the dog.)

Race in America. Can we keep hope alive?.

A Day at the Gym

I walk into the gym and I see a guy, an old guy, in the distance that I haven't seen for many, many months. He looks puffy. He is slumped over in the leg extension machine with his head down. I think nothing of it.

I go to the exercise bike and ride for 45 minutes. As I'm walking away, toward the water fountain, I notice that the guy is still in the leg extension machine. He still looks puffy. He isn't moving.

Has he not moved in 45 minutes? Is he OK? Should I alert somebody? Did he have a heart attack? I grow a little nervous. I don't remember him ever looking so puffy. Why isn't he moving?

Does this gym have a defibrillator? Should I start shouting for a doctor? Is this why he is puffy? Has nobody else noticed? Can a dead man just be at the gym for 45 minutes without anybody noticing?

I approach the man closer. He is still not moving. I decide I'm going to poke him, and I hope he doesn't fall out of the machine.

I am one foot from him. I'm about to jar him when his head pops up and he sighs. He still looks puffy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Pictorial Review of Oprah's Big Give


The median expected salary for a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the United States is $306,465, according to this website.

And who was one of the needy people portrayed last night on the first episode of Oprah's Big Give? A medical student and future plastic surgeon.


I admire the spirit behind Oprah's Big Give. I really do. But I found the execution tacky -- from the product placement for Ford and Target to the Simon Cowell/Piers Morgan-esque Brit delivering the bitchy feedback (or copious praise) to contestants before they're eliminated.

And isn't that just the epitome of tacky? Eliminating contestants who want to help other people each week until a final winner is crowned? Turning charity into a competition and relying on the same old reality show cliches that were tired years ago? Just awful.


That said: There was a women on the show last night who helps autistic kids. She is lovely, a complete antithesis to most reality show contestants because she is genuine. She is truly giving, not narcissistic. God bless her.

Compare her with an odd contestant on Big Brother who calls autistic children "retards." He just got fired for those remarks from his job at the ... United Autism Foundation

There also was a woman on Oprah's new show whose husband was murdered at Home Depot. I'm glad that this show is helping her pay off her house.

Would it be possible, do you think, for Oprah to help these people without resorting to a completely narcissistic prime time television show that employs some of the worst of what reality TV has to offer? Oh, and on the previews for next week's show, she talks about the show's "shocking new twist" that viewers can find out about next week. Heard that one before?

Oprah has jumped the shark.

Is This Mic On?

The ascent of John McCain means one thing for that band of Johnny One-Notes known as "Rush Limbaugh and the McCain Haters": that this group is becoming less influential and increasingly irrelevant.

Today on the radio, Rush Limbaugh is asking Republicans to cross over in the Texas primary to vote for ... Hillary Clinton. He wants a brokered convention.

If Barack Obama wins Texas, it's just another sign of just how irrelevant Rush Limbaugh has become as an influential voice in the Republican Party.

But we'll see.

If I were a Republican, and I'm the furthest thing from it, I'd be voting tomorrow for Hillary Clinton.

The 2008 Washington Talking Dollar

Here is your chance to own "official, non-circulating, Liberian tender" that pays tribute to our first president.

"For the first time, it's a legal tender coin that talks!" according to the website/informercial.

By the way, what they mean by "non-circulating" is that it is basically worth nothing.

Obama. Obama. Obama. Obama. Hillary. Obama.

Having spent a few days in Ohio, I can tell you that in terms of TV advertising on the type of TV shows that we here at The Cup of Joe are inclined to watch, that probably five out of every six TV commercials over the last four days were for Obama.

And I should note that the commercials were much better, with a better variety, than the commercials he aired in my state prior to Super Tuesday.

Will it help him win? I hope so. But on 60 Minutes last night they spoke with an Ohio voter who was leaning toward Obama but was still concerned that he is a Muslim who doesn't know the national anthem.


Keep Hope Alive.