Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Steve will be around later to say a thing or two about this, but apparently someone has dressed up a MySpace account that looks almost identical to ours. I'm not really sure why.
We found out today when someone emailed us asking about a DVD release party tonight. I didn't know about a DVD release party. Did you?
So, a bunch of pranksters who think they are cool are up to no good. If you want to be added as a friend to our REAL MySpace account, visit us here and let us know.
My little brother and I put this music video (Mucha Libre) together in about 4 hours, from pre-production to exported Quicktime movie.
Just watch it. I assure you it's worth a chuckle. (and BTW, he picked the song)
Saturday Shorts is what we use to mess around with film in a less-serious way than stuff like This Divided State. We try to make short films on a Saturday and no more than that. Sometimes they work out well and other times they don't. This update will have a variety of that sort of thing and some trailers to other more polished projects we've done. I'll put the link up as soon as it's ready, but in the meantime, enjoy the music video.
And be sure to let me know what you thought in the comments area.
Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one on the internets posting about this, but George W. made a speech today that was a rehash of his tired old "stay the course" stump speech.
I, for the life of me, don't understand what was wrong with Murtha's plan. Some of Georges Generals have agreed that American presence inflames the insurgency problem and Murtha proposed that we phase the troops out of Iraqs borders and into the borders of surrounding nations, ready to swoop in if the heat gets too much for the Iraqi security forces. It'll be a trial by fire for the Iraqi security forces, to be sure, but at the risk of mixing metaphors, wouldn't it do them better to throw them in the pool and let them sink or swim?
I'd bet that not only would they swim, the rate of insurgent attack would drop sharply.
I'm really sick of getting these publicity stunt speechs. Although I disagree with most everything he stands for, John Warner (R-VA) has suggested that Bush begin doing weekly FDR-style fireside chats. (scroll to the middle of the page) That would be a step in the right direction. We should modernize it a little though, put it on TV and let Bush deal with an audience with 50% for him and 50% against. This would help with transparency, the more they come out and talk about it, the more we know what they're up to.
On second that, that might be bad. The more Bush talks about his victory strategy in Iraq, the surer I am we're going to get our asses handed to us.
Monday, November 28, 2005
People with this utter disregard for anything but their own financial well being deserve to be boiled in their own pudding.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
It's an interesting thing to give some thought to. And I can't say I totally disagree with him.
Personally though, I see her less as Dukakis and more as Mondale. Especially since I truly believe McCain is going to take the Republican nomination.
If anyone is interested, email me a list of 10 of your favorite movies and where you are. I'd prefer someone within 30 or 40 miles of Utah County.
We'll go from there.
Friday, November 25, 2005
BEGIN EMAIL: "I'm forwarding the following e-mail that I just sent to FOXNews because I hope that you agree with the theme of my message to them and will write an e-mail of your own. Further, I encourage you to become more proactive with countering the moral and ethical decay that is sweeping this country with greater persistence. All failed structures whether tangible or intangible began as small, apparently insignificant, cracks in the construction material or human character.
To Whom It May Concern [AT FOXNEWS]:
The replacement last night for Shepard Smith's show that aired from 7-8 P.M. reported that Elton John was going to have a civil union with some guy. In closing the story, this reporter stated that there wasn't anything wrong with being Gay. I take exception to that statement. While I don't think any person should ever be personally attacked for his or her beliefs, I do believe a wrong principle should be exposed, when confronted, particularly for the sake of children and teenagers. Therefore, I'm writing this e-mail as a counterpoint.
The homosexual lifestyle is not normal. One would, I hope, acknowledge that one needs to be careful with what he or she puts into his or her mouth or sickness and possibly death will occur. One, as well, is careful with what he or she allows to be placed into his/her nose, ears, eyes and onto any open wound. I gained this knowledge throughout my life from many different sources. Throughout my life, as well, I have been taught, informally and formally, that the anus is an opening of the skin at the end of the large intestine. Its purpose is to allow fecal material to exit the body. This is the last stage of the digestive process. No one has ever told me, whether informally or formally, that one of the purposes of the anus is to have a man's penis thrust into it. In other words, to have your reporter suggest that being Gay is normal, in fact, is not only irresponsible but also a dangerous lie.
I have come to trust FOX News with not only being fair and balanced but, as well, not being politically correct. I hope this reporter's reckless comment doesn't reflect a shift from in your organization's reporting philosophy.
Thank you for your time with this matter." END EMAIL
Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. Can you say, "Extremist"?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The Christmas lights went up the day after Halloween. Christmas songs in malls started last week. America doesn't give a rat's ass about Thanksgiving. Republican Christians use it as a holiday to thank God for "giving" them America. Native Americans hold "UnThanksgiving" to remember the genocide of their people. And everyone else uses it as a day off and a day to prepare for Consumer Monkey Day. I say, get rid of Thanksgiving.
I say let's have 2 Christmases. It's everyone's favorite holiday anyways and Americans love overkill. And there's no excuse for the economy to not to blossum as well. Two sucker punches of consumer madness will enable the US to pay for any damn war it wants. Also, on Nov. 1st, it'll make sense when all the XMAS decorations go up in Wal-Mart. Christmas #1 will be held on the 4th Thursday of every November. There will be 2 Black Fridays (Consumer Monkey Days). One on the last Friday of October and one after Christmas #1. Then, whatever presents you get during Christmas #1 that you don't like, you can re-gift on Christmas #2.
Need a Jesus Christ tie-in? OK...Say Christmas #1 is for celebrating his "Water To Wine" thing or some shit like that and then Christmas #2 is for celebrating his actual birthday. I know that's bass-ackwards, but who gives a fuck? It just means I get more DVDs wrapped in green and red paper.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
According to the Washington Post, Citgo and Venezuela have inked a deal with Massachusetts to provide this discounted heating oil in a time of record oil company profits. This deal is said to be costing Citgo $10 million.
This is a good thing for Humanitarian effort.
The sad part about all of this, though? The fact that America, the richest country in the world, needs humanitarian aid. It's admirable that Chavez' government is stepping up to the plate, but I think we should be ashamed of our government for not stepping up to the plate first.
It's a shame that this man has been labeled a threat to democracy and a threat to our country. In my view, the largest threat facing this country are the people in the government (and the Bush Administration) unwilling to help improve the lives of it's citizens. With this action, Hugo Chavez has done more in his presidency for the Poor of America than George Bush has during his.
Now all we need are the Free Clinics for those in Poverty that Chavez talked about and George Bush's America might just be a reasonable place to live.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I don't understand why this is such a controversial idea. Let's set benchmarks and say, if these benchmarks happen, then we'll be able to pull out troops by a certain time.
This isn't rocket science. Call it an exit strategy, a victory strategy a freedom strategy, whatever. But we need a list of benchmarks and proposed dates to bring troops home. And I'm sort of in favor of Murtha's plan myself. His plan suggests that we're making the problem worse just by being there and that we need to strategically redeploy to the surrounding areas of Iraq and let the Insurgency die that way.
It's called a tactical redeployment.
I really do believe us just being there makes things worse.
Monday, November 21, 2005
OFFICIAL SITE OF MOVIE
Priase the Lord. I hope this puts them out of business.
I think Clean Flicks is one of the most morally bankrupt business' in the world and if Mel Gibson manages to force them out of business I truly think the world would be a better place. It is, in my opinion, morally reprehensible to revise an artists work.
That would be like me finding the genitals on the David offensive, so I cut that portion of the sculpture and append the remaining upper and lower pieces together. The art is ultimately different and altered beyond recognition.
And they even have a Clean Flix version of Kill Bill. Can you believe that?
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I don't know about you guys, but when I can't get my work done or check my email I get really, really stressed out.
So, in order to maintain my sanity, I went on a binge of movies this weekend.
I started with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This was 12:01 am on Friday morning. It was good, I just think there needed to be more cut out of it. The filmmaking also wasn't as good as Alfonso Cuaron's on The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Then on Friday night, I went to go see New York Doll which was very, very good. It was a highly entertaining and heartwarming documentary I would urge everyone to see. It was also very well structured, in my opinion, it was a very tight and manageable length.
Then on Saturday morning I went out to see Walk the Line. I can't imagine people really liking this if they aren't fans of either Johnny Cash or Joaquin Phoenix. But it's an interesting look at Johnny Cash from a fan. I really knew very little about him personally. Also, I managed to really like Reese Witherspoon in this movie. Bottom Line, I liked it alot.
Then on Saturday night, my little brother and I drove up to Salt Lake City to go see Good Night and Good Luck. It was really good. The moral of the movie was that Television should stop trying to merely entertain people and try to educate them once in a while. I'm going to do a big write up of the media, using Good Night, and Good Luck as my center.
That should be interesting.
I'm still trying to convince someone to go see something with me tonight too. I hear Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is good... And Capote is still playing, too...
Friday, November 18, 2005
One scale of 1-10, this one was a 7.
It wasn't anywhere near as good as Cuaron's Prisoner of Azkaban. That movie was an amazing film.
This had some problems, but it still blew the first two movies out of the water. Which wasn't hard to do, because they suck.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
A caller called into his show to ask why we didn't consider M-16s and RPGs and whatnot Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, seeing as how we didn't find any. The host of the Rusty Humphries show proceeded to explain that we had found 500 TONS OF YELLOWCAKE URANIUM and nuclear centrifuge parts in BAGHDAD. I was bewildered? Was this satire? Because not only is this patently false it's dangerous as well.
No. This was not satire. The caller, quite the dullard said something to the effect of, "I didn't know that. Now I do... Wow."
This caller became LESS informed by this guy's show. And this is dangerous on more than a couple of levels. A) Lying about things like this is wrong and B) the last thing we need are people in the electorate that believe lies as big as this one. It's insanity.
This guy was so full of hate speech and uninformed I was in awe. As soon as he was done making these absurd assumptions about WMD in Iraq, he announced that he had some good news. The good news?
Fidel Castro has Parkinson's. Which would be one thing, but then he went on to explain how dissapointed he was that Fidel was not affected by something worse. He mentioned specifically that he should be afflicted with AIDS, Cancer or "prefferably" dyssentery.
Wow. He's a real classy guy.
So I decided to find out who this guy was and try to draw attention to how crazy he is. His official Bio (which has a number of terrible spelling mistakes) cites some of his credentials as "having appeared on Wheel of Fortune" and that he was a tour guide at Universal Studios. He also has a "best-selling" album entitled "Bomb Iraq."
Apparently he also wrote "Do the Bartman," although the bio calls it "Do the Bart Simpson."
And with credentials like these, he's on over 200 radio stations.
Doesn't that make you feel good?
Oh, out here in Salt Lake City, he broadcasts from the CBS affiliate.
KSL is reporting that Orrin Hatch is polling at 45% versus "Someone Else"'s 48%. This is good news. I think KSL is ridiculous to think that this makes him strong heading into re-election.
Everybody should take that as an invitation to go learn more about "Someone Else" Pete Ashdown.
The more of Ashdown's work I read, the more I like. It would be great if Steve and Elias and I ("the gang") could somehow get involved with his campaign. How different could marketing a person be from marketing a movie?
And just in case anyone has doubts that Orrin Hatch should go, check out this post: Orrin Hatch is Pro Torture.
Beyond that, I truly beleive that Hatch is completely out of touch. Ashdown also seems way more grounded.
Zula/Willis 08! A step in the right direction!
Why not Zula and Wesley Willis? Why was Christopher Walken somehow a believable candidae, but this dynamic duo instantly insights a knee slapping guffah? Sure Zula may not be an “actual” person and Wesley Willis might be (is) deceased, but that is beside the point.
I submit, that if I were to post two, randomly selected TV anchor man headshots, post them on this or any pseudo-political blog with the headline: Chrisiansen/ Stevenson 08, Moving America Forward, or some stupid shit like that, nobody would bat an eyelash. In fact, I’m positive that quite a few of you would promptly run a Google search of these handsome, well groomed gentlemen. And why shouldn’t you? If you squint your eyes a little, they look a little bit like Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, so at least they look the part. Why shouldn’t their candidacy be legitimate? But squint at Zula and Wesley Willis and you’ll see 2-Pac and Biggie Smalls. What exactly am I getting at here? I’ve forgotten entirely.
Basically what I think I’m trying to say is, Zula represents everything that the powerful in our nation do not: Lean, aggressive, black Amazonian women with flat-tops, whose sexual preferences are seriously in question, which is exactly what the Democrats need to become in order to sway the balance of power in this fine country in any meaningful way. They’ve got (to be generous) a wee bit of momentum, now it’s time to sack the bewildered quarterback and run that pigskin into the end zone for a big fat… two point safety. At least there are three quarters left, no time to go soft, because it hasn’t worked yet.
Zula/Willis 08, Try telling her she can’t have an abortion!
P.S. "Political Satire" is redundant.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
For better or for worse, the Republicans are offering strategies to deal with the problems of the day, whether we like those solutions or not. This is a good thing, whether we like their solutions or not.
It’s my belief that in order for the Democrats to reclaim power, they need to offer productive and reasonable solutions to counter those presented by the opposition. The status quo seems to be this: Republicans define the debate, they pick an issue and write legislation to fix their view of the problem. Democrats hate said legislation and decry the Republicans for partisan hackery and corporate shilling. Sadly, that’s where the cycle generally ends. If the Democrats want to lift themselves from their slump, now that they seem to be feeling empowered, they need to offer sensible solutions in direct response to Republican solutions.
Democrats tend to be against the war. We’d like to see our troops home. The most people in the party seem to be doing is calling for an exit-strategy. Why not outline a clear exit-strategy? Instead of shouting, “There isn’t an exit-strategy!” They’d gain a lot more ground politically if they were to be shouting, “The administration has no exit-strategy. We do, here it is. We’ve mailed this to the President and had 150 Senators and Congressmen sign it.”
The Democrats heads have been spinning because of the recent budget proposals. Instead of argue about the ridiculous nature of the cuts to spending and maintenance on the tax-cuts, why don’t they offer a sensible budget alternative?
I think you get my point. In order to appear strong, instead of fighting about the issues and solutions framed by the opposition, reframe the debates with better solutions.
I know that Democrats have a clear message, a vision to take
Instead, the best argument I’ve heard out of the Democrats for the last 5 years has been, “I’m not Bush.” In my opinion, for the Democrats to make their way out of the hole they've been in for the last 6 years, they will need to be on the offensive insofar as framing the debate. They need to offer the American people a clear vision of where they want to take us and they need to offer realistic plans to get there. And whenever the Republicans choose an issue and run with it, the Democrats need to hijack that issue and offer a better plan to put themselves in the favour of the people.
They can do better than this. I know it.
As soon as the shining stars of the Democratic party that Steve outlined yesterday are able to take this platform to the American people they'll be able to get back to work.
Here are my six platform points that I believe would bring the Democrats to victory:
1) Iraq. The Democrats need come out and say that voting for the war was a mistake. That's obvious. And instead of calling for an exit strategy, make one. It's obvious that we can't withdraw our troops immediately, but we can outline certain benchmarks that will remove our forces from the region. Additionally, we need to make a call for broader UN support. One of the reasons terrorists wish to attack us is because we are in their land, so if we shift the forces from American and Coalition to a UN peacekeeping operation, the level and intensity of insurgent attacks would come down. We also need to remove ourselves from their democratic process.
During the Mid terms, this is obviously going to be a major issue. If Democratic candidates can rally behind a comprehensive exit strategy as part of their platform, they will be one step ahead of the Republicans whose exit strategy has been simply, "Stay the course."
2) The Budget. There has been no limit to outrageous deficit spending, tax cuts and severe cuts to vital programs. There has been much outrage and little action on the part of the Democrats currently to solve this problem. The Democrats can win many voters from both sides of the aisle on this issue and here's how. "We'll bring sanity back to the budget. We will balance it. We won't spend more money than we're making and we won't outsource our debt."
There is no question that we have in power a gaggle of "Un-tax and Spend" conservatives. There is no question that they have marginalized those in their party that believe in fiscal conservatism. If you ask me, fiscal conservatism is common sense. Democrats can frame the debate in a very easy and catchy way: "The Bush administration and the Republicans in the House and Senate have deficit spent hundreds of billions of dollars on America's tab that they have no way to pay back. That would be like you running up a BILLION dollars on your company credit card, switching jobs and handing it over to your successor to figure out how to pay for it as you wash your hands of it. I don't know about you, but I think that's going to cost a lot in interest and that's exactly what's going on here." Bring this issue down to a level people of both sides will understand and you will win votes right here.
3) Social Security. This is the best way for the Democrats to draw attention to the hypocricies of the current Republican cabal while at the same time coming out in defense of an issue that has proved important. It's obvious the majority of American's don't agree with George Bush's ideas about Social Security and the Democrats had a chance to force the issue and counter-propose popular legislation that would fix the problem and serve as a major political defeat for the Bush team. They didn't do this. But now they have another chance and it would be foolish to pass it up because we all already know the Republicans have been losing on this issue for two years. And, in my opinion, the solution is simple and two pronged:
a) include in the Budget provisions to pay back all the extra money raided out of Social Security over the last few decades. Each agency that has benefited from Social Security's prosperity ought to be able to cut some type of fat out of their budget to pay back the money they owe.
b) eliminate the salary cap on the Social Security tax.
Viola! Once again, Social Security becomes solvent and you've won over all of the Baby Boomers hoping to rely on it.
4) Health Care. This is an issue that Democrats mention over and over and over again and people are tired of hearing about it and nothing getting done. But there is no reason why we can't figure out a way to provide every American with affordable (or free) Health Care. This is a chance to have a meaningful debate with conservatives and show the world that Democrats aren't Republicans in bad suits. You'd also win the vote of every person that can't afford Health Care. And Jimmy Smits wasn't far off on the West Wing when he suggested removing the words "over 65" from Medicare.
Yes, it would be controversial, but wouldn't you rather have people talking about this than the regular hot-button issues that get voters hopping mad? Issues like abortion and prayer in school and whether burning the flag should be against the law. Democrats need to force the idea into the dicourse that we need to take care of our people and the first step is making sure they can see a doctor if they're sick, no matter what.
Just see what happens when the Republicans come on TV and try defend the idea that people don't deserve to have Health Care. It's a losing argument and there are enough people without insurance or other forms of Health Care that wouldn't normally vote that you could lure to the polling stations with the promise that they would get free Health Care out of it.
Besides that, it's the morally right thing to do. You can win the Christian vote on this one as well by relating it back to the bible and about taking care of the poor and the sick and the weak.
5) Corporate Accountability. Enron, WorldCom, Halliburton, Phillip Morris, McDonalds, Walmart, Exxon/Mobil, Jack Abramof, Monsanto. These have all become synonymous with corruption and it is taken for granted that they have enough money in their pockets to buy any amount of congressmen and presidents or vice presidents to screw John Q. Consumer. I think the Democratic party needs to sever themselves from corporations. I know that sounds crazy, and I know that the Democrats are having a hard time fundraising as it is, but it would be the best PR move in the world to say, "We are no longer beholden to Corporate Interests and Political Action Committees. We will no longer take their money. We are going to ensure that there is a barrier between legislators and private interest. What we do will be the best for the people and the best for the people is Corporate Accountability. And the best first step is to sever all ties with private entities."
Now this issue leads into other issues like campaign finance reform and whatnot, but it's a major one. People are out there doing all they can to make sure people know about all of the horrible things these companies do. Why not put those efforts to work and be able to tie all of that evil to the opposition. "They are the party of corporate interest. Once again, we will fight for you."
Political campaigns have turned into Nascar Racers and people know it. If the Democrats can step away from that and raise enough money to make sure everyone knows it, they'll be clearly the more trustworthy group.
6) Homeland Security. The way the Democrats can take this issue back is simple. "We understand more about our enemy than our opponents do. Our opponents have made no effort to understand the enemy and we have. We understand why Abu Ghraib makes the situation worse. We understand why Iraq is having the opposite effect on terrorism that the administration. We understand why we have to be held to a higher moral standard. We know what it takes to keep America safe and it's our moral obligation to do it."
Jimmy Carter said on Larry King the other night, "After 9/11 I picked up a copy of the Quran and read it cover to cover. I now understand more about the Islamic Faith and learned more about how certain fundamentalists have perverted that religion into a violent sect of death and destruction. I think our leaders need to know more about why these terrorists hate America."
That's brilliant. And that needs to be part of the message of the Democrats.
But they can't just say, "We understand them better, so we're better suited for the job." They need to back it up with a comprehensive Homeland Security plan that will illustrate to the American people how they are going to be able to sleep more soundly under a Democratic watch. Kerry tried this unsuccesfully during the last campaign, but this can be stepped up with a clear plan of action.
So, that's it. Obviously, there are more issues at hand, but these are the main 6, in my opinion, that will take the Democratic party back where they belong. There are two honorable mentions that need to be addressed and perhaps I'll outline them later and they are: Immigration and Torture.
...TO BE CONTINUED tomorrow with Elias' satirical piece, "ZULA '08". Steve and/or I will also be here with a piece. Then on Friday, Steve and I will both be back for Conclusions.
Monday, November 14, 2005
"There's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. "
-Barack Obama, Democratic Senator of Illinois
Some of the widely discussed reasons as to why John Kerry lost the 2004 election include: no solid and defined vision, no explicable alternatives to Bush's war in Iraq, utterly lacking in message discipline, etc, etc, etc. Many will opine that swing voters felt George Bush appeared to have "stronger leadership qualities". Chris Suellentrop said it best at SLATE, "Vision without details beats details without vision. President Bush put forward a powerful and compelling philosophy of what the government should do at home and abroad: Expand liberty."
Now, while I personally believe that Bush's "compelling philosophy" is both childish and perverted, he at least is able to define what he wants point by point by point. I know that sounds simplistic but, as history shows, it works and it sells. So who in the Democratic Party is trying to rectify this? Who are the Democratic leaders? For a while, during Plamegate and the Hurricane Katrina debacle, everyone seemed to be asking, "Where are the Democrats?" Well, here they are:
1) Howard Dean, Democratic National Chairman. I was a "Deaniac" way back when and even own a "Dean For America" t-shirt. But, it's now my opinion that this guy needs to go. He misrepresents the Democratic Party by painting an angry and bitter image and is truly holding the Party back at this very crucial stage in politics. The Washington Post reported that party fundraising since Dean took over as chairman are HALF of those of the Republicans. Critics blame Dean directly, and so do I. Here are some quotes from Dr. Dean and I think they prove my point:
-He called Republicans "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party." (While maybe statistically true, it comes off as extremely crass and immature.)
-"I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for...This is a struggle between good and evil and we're the good." (How is this different from Bush's "You're either with us or with the enemy"?
-He stated that Republicans "never made an honest living in their lives," (This is such an absurd and lazy statement.)
This is a good link of reference for the quotes. (SF CHRONICLE)
Now why he may elude to some truth in his comments, it paints the wrong picture of the Democratic Party and Republicans rejoice that he is in the position he is in. "I'm thrilled he's the DNC chair," says Tom Del Becarro, chairman of the Contra Costa County Republican Party. "Howard Dean is scaring away the middle. People don't like angry people. They like hopeful people.''
BOTTOM LINE: Civil discourse works. The American people don't like angry name-callers. The Democratic Party is better than that. Dean needs to go.(And did you see him flake out of that debate with the RNC Chair on "Meet The Press"? Jeez...)
Ok, that said, Dean is surely to be credited for "electrifying" the Democrats in early 2004. At a grassroots level, he inspired hundreds and hundreds of people to roll up their sleeves and get to work. He did this with raw passion and unrelenting energy. And those 2 qualities are a neccessity for the party to survive.
I believe the following Democratic leaders have the potential to continue the current momentum:
2) Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader. "His move to put the Senate into closed session"officially put the Democrats on the offensive. He said "Here we are." to all those asking, "Where are the Democrats?" The stereotype of Democrats being inactive or benign was suddenly shattered. This motion was widely applauded by those against the war in Iraq and it added to the mounting political pressure on the Bush Administration.
One of his famous quotes is: ""I would always rather dance than fight but I know how to fight.""
3) Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York. I'll say it: "She's going to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee in 2008." That is, unless, she has a "Dean Scream Moment" between now and then. My opinion is that she won't, though. She's smart, she's savvy, and she's damn powerful. Democrats need to prepare for this possibility right now. That means a MESSAGE. Demos need to be all singing in the same key right now. And the song needs to be original and refreshing. I don't know why this is so hard. But, there's a developing hope (see "Rahm Emanuel" below)."An article in this week's TIME" refers to Democrats as "Happy Warriors". That's what I think Clinton is, a happy warrior. She carries the nostalgia of her husband's charisma and yet creates a brand new image for America... a woman president. Oh, God! It'll be a beautful moment.
4) Rahm Emanuel, Congressman from Illinois. This guy blew the minds of Republicans when he went on "Meet The Press" and laid out 4 specific things the Democrats will emphasize in 2006:
A. universal college education B. universal health care for anyone who works C.bringing down the national debt D.cutting U.S. dependence on foreign oil in half within a decade.
Emanuel is a real postitive force for the Democrats; well spoken and organized in thought, passionate and visionary, and seemingly unintimidated. "ROLLING STONE calls him "The Enforcer"." Just watch, he's going to help raise the Democrats to power in 2006.
5) Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois and Barbara Boxer, Senator from California. These two, with Rahm Emanuel, should be used more for Democratic Public Relations. Obama and Boxer are both simply good people. They are both courteous and civil in their discussions, yet intelligent and succint. They create such a postive image of the Democratic Party and they should be urged to speak out more; have debates with Republicans on Cable News and do interviews whenever possible. Not one Republican would win against them. We saw Boxer tear into Condi Rice and we saw Obama completely smash Alan Keyes in 2004. Both Obama and Boxer were recently on "The Daily Show" and came off just beautifully. Both seem to idenitfy with the younger demographic (especially Obama) in America and I strongly believe they should be utilized more often to help energize this often forgotten crowd of young people.
BOTTOM LINE: The Democrats need to define 5-6 "figureheads" within the party and get them to be outspoken. All within the party need to be speaking "in harmony" about specific plans and alternative to the Bush Administration (i.e. Rahm Emanuel). Limit overkill of Delay, Rove, Libby criticism; it could get annoying and whiny real soon. Be ORIGINAL! Be POSITIVE! Be OPTIMISTIC!...
...TO BE CONTINUED tomorrow with Bryan's piece, "THE MESSAGE".
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Over the past couple months, the nation has witnessed an odd occurrence... Democrats are stepping up to the plate and making changes. They are outspoken and they aren't taking any prisoners. All this lead up to palpable evidence of effectiveness: Harry Reid shuts down the Senate to investigate the Bush Administration's war lies, Democrats win governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is defeated across the board in special elections in California. There is now a HUGE momentum for the Democrats. The American people are disillusioned with the Bush Cronies and are looking for other voices. They are looking for change. The Democrats need to be ready. Now's the time.
Throughout the week, all of us here at THIS DIVIDED STATE will participate in writing a 4-5 part opinion series on the current status of the Democratic Party, how they can profit off of their present political momentum, and what they need to do to regain power in Washington. We invite all who read to respond with comments and suggestions. The 1st part of the series will be posted tomorrow morning.
I just don't know.
Something about it just hasn't settled. It's a good film, it's well put together. But did I like it?
I think so.
There was only one problem with it, and I knew going that this would be a problem, was an introspective voice-over ending the film that told me exactly how I was supposed to feel and what I was supposed to get. Mendes is such a great filmmaker, I feel like he's pandering to idiots who stray into his films instead of his actual audience. Anyone with half a brain will understand the point he's getting at because he chooses his shots so carefully and Walter Murch assembled them with such beauty. But every single movie he's done, he takes the low road and narrates the ending. American Beauty. Road to Perdition. Jarhead.
None of them leave me room to get out of them what I want, instead they tell me what I need to get.
Please, Mr. Mendes, stop doing it. We're smart. Give us some credit. I promise we'll use it wisely.
I think I liked it. It was good. You have to go see it.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
George Bush is on the offensive. He's had all he can stands and he can't stands no more.
What I don't understand is why this? Why now?
"It is deeply regrettable that the president is using Veterans Day as a campaign-like attempt to rebuild his own credibility by tearing down those who seek the truth about the clear manipulation of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war." --Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
That could be it...
Could the Republicans have told Bush to step up the fire and brimstone rhetoric in the wake of those two gubernatorial defeats?
Or is he staging a political stunt to counter Harry Reid's use of Rule 22?
Or is he just pissed because his approval rating is swimming in the 30s?
And the banner he spoke under, "Strategy for Victory..." Wouldn't that have been more appropriate for his flight-suit stunt? Maybe if that were his line of thought then, we'd have a meaningful "Mission Accomplished" banner now.
Regardless, this seems petty. Is it really too much to ask for an investigation to find out whether or not we were mislead? I mean, I've felt mislead since day one. I felt misled when George Bush referred to the yellowcake uranium during the state of the union address...
But to use a speech on veterans day to bash on your political opponents? Bad form for a president.
And it isn't even an election year.
SIDENOTE: His Strategy for Victory is to bitch about political opponents? Awesome strategy...
Friday, November 11, 2005
Finally A Place of Reason: Michale Moore [sic]
DVblog: they posted the trailer.
Blogshares: Buy some stock why don't you...
Geist: Here's a review of the film from a magazine in Vancouver.
That's all for the moment.
Pat Robertson Has Gone Batshit. The town of Dover, PA rejected a motion to institute the teaching of "intelligent design" in its schools this week. And so, of course, neo-conservative, Christian nut jobs have begun to prophecy the Apocalypse.
Pat Robertson, the televangelist from Virginia Beach placed a good ole curse on the town of Dover on his show, "The 700 Club". He said,
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," He went on to say, "And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there,"
OK, I don't consider myself a devout Christian but I know the Anti-Christ when I see it. Pat Roberston has twisted Christianity into a whorish, perverted mess and has TOTALLY missed the point. Why are people still tuning in to watch his little circus show? I mean Jesus Christ forgave even the men who spit in his face and drove nails into his hands, but the people of Dover? Pat Robertson says God f##king hates them.
And now, a juxtaposed picture of poop:
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I really like Walter Murch. I've read his book probably a dozen times (In The Blink of an Eye) and he's worked on some of my absolute favorite movies (Godfather, American Graffiti, Apocolypse Now, Talented Mr. Ripley, THX-1138, etc.). The man is someone to be listened to.
I was filled with delight to hear him on All Things Considered the other day and it boggles my mind how he works. I finally found the link and advise all of you to check it out.
This man cuts films standing up, on Final Cut and without sound.
Read this and listen to the segment. He's a marvel to behold and you'll learn something.
It mattered little.
She admitted to this: whether it's untrue or not, she still believes it. She fell back on anecdotal evidence, and when I pointed that out, I was greeted with more "faith-based" logic.
That's scary. She has more faith in what she believes to be the truth than what the actual truth might be. That's disturbing to me. More disturbing is that she isn't alone in her neo-con camp.
My sister-in-law and I have been arguing back and forth about Poverty and the causes of it and it's severity in America. Her contention is that poverty is imagined, that people on welfare stay on welfare and we basically create a dependance so that generations and generations of people merely abuse the welfare system and don't learn how to get off of it. She felt that this was one of the most pervasive issues in the country and that my feelings about it were dead wrong.
My feelings are that every man, woman and child in the world (not just America) deserve a roof over thier heads, heat in their homes and food in their bellies.
Her other large contention was this, "The poor in America don't have it as bad as anywhere else in the world, so they're doing okay. We shouldn't have to worry about them, they have TV's and Jacuzzis. Also, illegal immigrants are sucking us dry."
She kept waving in front of my face a "research" paper that supported all of her points written by a guy named Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation entitled How "Poor" are America's Poor. She kept saying it was from the Heritage Foundation as though that was supposed to mean something. I don't know if I'm just an idiot but Heritage Foundation didn't ring a bell. So I decided to look into things myself.
What I found was a little surprising. First, I found a flurry of articles about the author of the piece explaining how and why this Rector character is a Conservative shill who distorts facts to support the positions of his partisan think-tank. Next, the date on the study is 9/21/1990. So, that throws things way out of date and 5 years of the Bush administration would certainly cause poverty to increase.
Then I did a small amount of digging into the Hertiage Foundation. All I needed to find was this quote from Rush Limbaugh, conservative fruitcake:
So, it's obvious that this stuff has a conservative bias.
Then I started looking into credible sources to find my countering information (I avoided partisan think tanks from either side). I started with the Census Bureau because that's what Rector attacks the most. It's basically number crunching and not all that helpful. It was enlightening in this respect though: when Rector wrote his paper the amount of people living in poverty in this country was between 31 and 32 million Americans. The estimated number of Americans living in poverty is now 37 million. (I found a couple of other articles that mentioned the flawed nature of Census statistics as it doesn't count families without stable residences and doesn't include the homeless. Additionally, if you read the methodology behind the census and the formula they use to calculate what poverty is, you realize that it's still probably low. Rectors article takes issue with the fact that the Census Bureau doesn't count cars and microwave ovens. So, if a poor person owns a microwave oven, they aren't poor. His other big point is that Americans eat more meat, therefore are better off than people who eat less.
My favorite was that 22,000 "poor" households have heated swimming pools or jacuzzis. I'm not good at math, what percent of 37 million is 22,000?
He doesn't make a lot of sense and he tries to fake numbers to make them seem more outrageous than they really are.
Another big part of his paper is that Welfare causes dependency on the state and if we were to expand welfare it would diminish work effort, thusly reducing earned income and thus making families more dependant on welfare. He also claims that welfare is the leading cause in destroying the work ethics in inner city low-income neighborhoods.
A simple check at the Joint Center for Poverty Research (they work closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (that's where I got the link to their site)) and I found a list of common myths about welfare that debunks all of Rectors points:
1) All poor are long term: False, most are not.
2) All welfare recipients are long term: False, the average period of welfare for a recipient is 3 years.
3) Most Poverty is found in inner cities: False, although poverty problems in these areas are often severe, many more of Americas poor live outside of these areas.
And here's a good piece about Immigrants and Welfare.
I also found an entire list of articles that would be good to read that I also got from the Dept. of Health and Human Services: The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research that outlines varying degrees and shades of gray in the poverty issue. One of note was called "Exit Routes From Welfare: Examining barriers to Employment, Demographic and Human Capital Factors."
I don't know. Maybe all of this will change her mind. Or maybe it will just piss her off. One thing I do know is I'm a helluva lot more informed on an issue now.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Also, her avatar is actually the Huntress, which is rad. I wonder if she's actually a Birds of Prey/Batman fan or if she just google searched for a cool picture.
There are actually people who think this is a bad thing. They are wrong. You can read their position paper over here but it's written like someone who's talking down to a kindergartener and it's full of holes and idiocy. The people who don't want to be taxed are the people that care the least about the poor people.
My argument for this is: It's the right thing to do. I'd rather have my tax dollars spent on this than killing civilians in Iraq. I'd rather the city spend my money on this than giving another tax break to a Wal-Mart. If these Utah Taxpayers want better fiscal policy then they should make sure big box stores are paying their share instead of trying to prevent a miniscule tax from going through.
Additionally, Jon Hunstman, the governer of Utah is an idiot.
I heard him on the radio this morning: He basically said this, "The cost of heating homes is really high this year. It's expected to go up 50%. That means a lot of poor people will have to choose between food, medication or heat. So, instead of me trying to impose regulation on out of control energy companies, I'm going to ask private donors who may or may not exist to pony up $3 MILLION or more to fix this problem."
It's a really cheery thought, but he needs to fix the problem, not ask for donations. What a God-damned whore. I'd pay for a 1% state sales tax increase if we could heat everyone's home in the state. That sounds like a much better plan to me and everyone would benefit. Begging for donations in the face of what I would view as a serious crisis is idiotic.
Too bad Bill Orton didn't beat Mike Leavitt when he had the chance, I wonder if we'd be in this mess.
UPDATE: Steve brings up a good point. Calling him an idiot is sort of stupid. I do think this is idiotic though. And that's a fine line. I've actually heard him do things I like, but this seems idiotic to me. There are ways to fix this problem without mandating donations or even raising taxes. He can do it very easily by regulating industry and corrupt business practices.
I think this is silly. I think people saying that it's in the bag for the Democrats because of two state-elections is going to make them lazy and stop trying. I don't see them trying to change. If this does teach them a lesson, it's that the old "I'm not Bush" campaign strategy won't work. They need to actually pick an issue. They need to offer differing issues and alternative plans. Like right now, the Democrats are screaming about the Republican proposed budget, but where is there sensible alternative? They just don't have one.
Besides, I guarantee that a democratic governer is New Jersey or Virginia has nothing to do with a mid-term senatorial race in California. It's comparing apples to bicycles. And it's not like it spells certain doom for the Republicans either. Didn't these same races go to the Democrats four years ago as well?
I think this is good news, I just don't think it's as good as everyone is making it out to be. I think it's being over-analyzed and my bet is the Democrats still won't learn their lesson. Although I hope they do.
That's my two cents.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Here's one more reason this man has to go. I would like to thank his political rival Pete Ashdown for bringing this to my attention.
Orrin Hatch is Pro-Torture.
That would make a helluva campaign slogan against him. And a pretty damning one at that. I can't beleive there are people out there who pretend to have American ideals and purport to be for torturing other human beings.
I posted about Cheney being for it and Bush against it earlier today. It seems as though things are just getting worse and it hasn't even been a full day later.
It scares me how much some of these Neo-Cons beleive that it's okay to torture and kill people. My sister-in-law, an ardent neo-conservative, told me today that we should just shoot Hugo Chavez because he's bad for the country and Anti-American. She said that he led a protest and said that he hates the American people. When I corrected her (because this was wrong) she stood by the fact that we should still kill him because he was "anti-American." Then I said that he was a democratically elected leader and a popular one at that and she said it didn't matter because he was bad for America.
Lordy. These are bad times.
I saw the Brothers Grimm last night and I must say it was very good.
It had been given a solid "meh" by sources close to me, so for that reason, coupled with a lack of cash, I just let it slip through the cracks.
I was a fool.
It's classic Gilliam. It's an amazing fairy tale and I don't think anyone but Terry Gilliam could have done it justice. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for Gilliam. Time Bandits has been a favorite of mine since childhood and Brazil persists in consistently blowing my mind. And who doesn't love 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing? Add to that his career with Monty Python and there is not a single credible reason to beleive he'd make a bad movie. I was shocked when people weren't giving it anything better than a lukewarm "mediocre" rating, but missed it nonetheless.
On a Lark I went to see it last night and was truly blown away. It's not Gilliam's best film, but it's much better than most of the crap that makes it to the theatres nowadays. And it actually felt like a genuine Grimms fairy tale, not a watered down "Disney-fied" version. It was harsh and ugly and beautiful. The acting was phenomenal (was that really Heath Ledger?) The acting wasn't like there was anyone begging to be a lead, everyone was focused on top-notch character work. And I have to say the sequence with the Gingerbread man is "double-plus-good."
I would say the whole movie is a solid 8 out of 10. Excellent.
Now I'm pissing myself to see Tideland.
Film related sidenote: I saw the 40 year old Virgin a few nights ago. It was funny. But we should criminalize the act of making studio comedy's that exceed 90 minutes in length.
If we don't torture (all Abu Ghraib incidents aside) why are Dick Cheney and Porter Goss out doing their best to make sure they're still allowed to at least as far as the CIA is concerned?
Either this is a case of "the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" or Bush is balls out lying. Either way, something needs to give. Bush can't have it both ways, he can't come out and say something like this and then turn around and veto that spending bill. If the US doesn't torture people we need to hold the US to that standard. And accountability needs to go all the way up the chain of command.
The thing that gets me is that these articles came out on the same day. George Bush tells the people of the World, "We don't torture." Then the post runs an article where Cheney is holding meetings and doing as best he can to allow torture to be used.
It seems as though maybe Karl Rove is too preoccupied with keeping his own fat out of the fryer to save these two from idiotic political missteps like this one.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
This guy thinks we're smart.
IMDb: I don't think I've ever posted this link, but everyone should head over there and rate the film and write some comments.
The Liberal Avenger: I don't think he ever posted a review... We should give him a hard time about it.
Doodz'n'Chyx: This is a satisfied customer from across the Atlantic. We need to secure a London distribution deal before something bad happens.
I also found a couple of more sites linking to the torrent file. I guess we must be popular with movie pirates.
I also found literally a hundred blogs link over to the Cinematical review I linked to yesterday. It seems as though they were just spam blogs though. Weird...
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Cinematical: He came up with the best description of people responding to Michael Moore coming: as though they were preparing for an attack by Mothra or Rodan. That actually got a chuckle out of me.
Oddities Abound: Rachel is right about one thing. We will read this review. But she didn't have to be nice. And her anonymous neighbor sucks.
This isn't a review, but it's a top ten list of movies this year and This Divided State is on it. I don't understand the problem, everyone seems to be forgetting Revenge of the Sith. (I watched it three times yesterday (in my defense, I was babysitting and that's what Anakin wanted to watch...) and it was still a perfect 10)
Side note: I've been using "double-plus-good" as a facetious exclamation. People don't get it. What's wrong with these people?
It boggles my mind to talk to people that don't get the connection between killing people and occupying their country and then being retaliated upon. Yet they still think it's okay that we went into Iraq because of 9/11 (even in light of the fact they had nothing to do with each other.)
Oh well. As more and more facts come out, people who support the war will have less and less gray areas to cling to.
I just got back from seeing Richard Dutcher's "STATES OF GRACE" and I'm a little confused at how it's now my favorite film of the year so far. I mean I've seen a lot of films this year and, on the surface, an independent film about Mormon missionaries in Los Angeles would have a hard time competing with the Hollywood Big Guns. But here I am typing and saying, "Go see this movie. It's the best thing I've seen this year."
I don't want to blab on forever, but I'll give you some history. Richard Dutcher is considered the "father of Mormon Cinema". This means he was the first person to make a full lenth feature film about Mormons back in 2000 with "GOD'S ARMY". The film is about Mormon missionaries and the struggles they go through as they try to convert people to Mormonism. Sounds preachy, but it proved to be a critical success and so began the "Mormon Cinema Craze". Soon, copycat filmmakers in and around Utah began to capitilize on the success of "Army" and, consequently, the quality of such films fell to levels of complete absurdity. HaleStorm Entertainment with its trademark, cookie-cutter string of Mormon comedies (THE SINGLES WARD, MORMONS AND MOBSTERS) has sadly made the the market for "Mormon Films" almost laughable itself and, in a way, annoying and pretentious.
And so, when someone comes along with a Mormon film that's actually good (STATES OF GRACE) it has an up hill battle due to everyone crying "Wolf!", or in this case "Another Sucky-Ass Mormon Movie". It's a real shame.
STATES OF GRACE is a story of the last 7 days of a missionary's 2 year mission. During this one week, he and his companion get caught up in a gang war that results in quite a few deaths and lots of bloodshed. One of the victims, a "gangsta" himself, survives a drive-by shooting (saved by the missionary who uses his tie as a tourniquet) and suddenly wants to turn his life around and learn about Jesus. So, the missionaries begin to befriend him and take him to church. From there, the film takes surprising dives into harsh reality involving porn stars, stabbings, car chases, and suicide.
This film took me by surprise and any and all expectations I had were thrown out the door by the end of the movie. Of course, there are 2 or 3 little flaws, but the acting is exceptional, the cinematography engaging, the editing is well paced, and it is the script itself that emerges as the film's #1 strength. Every line creates a world of realism that is both ugly and beautiful. And yes, I did get teary eyed at the end. Shut up.
Watch the trailer here and then go see it. In my opinion, it's Oscar Worthy.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I think the headline to this article should read: Democrats Grow Spine.
I don't understand why the GOP would be upset about this. Democrats have been begging for an investigation into the existence of Imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction. Obviously the Republicans don't want to start an investigation into how badly their president lied. So when the Democrats finally grew a spine and said, "We want to find out who should be accountable in this gross misuse of exagerated information."
Just because Rule 21 isn't invoked often doesn't mean Harry Reid doesn't have a right to use it.
I think this is a good sign for Democracy. How can you have an opposition party that caves in on everything? They're actually showing a promise of strength. And that's a promise they'll need to keep if they want to make gains in the midterm.
He came home yesterday with This Divided State and Revenge of the Sith and he watched our movie first. I love This Divided State, but you still haven't seen Revenge of the Sith man.
If I brought home a new documentary and a Star Wars DVD, I just don't think anything could beat Star Wars out.....
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I just wanted to remind everyone that Revenge of the Sith came out on DVD today.
Steve, Elias and I all got ours at midnight.
The deleted scenes are great, particularly the one with Grievous killing Shaak Ti. I haven't had time to get to the documentaries yet, though. The "Within a Minute" doc that is the centerpiece of the 2nd disc seems as though it will be fascinating. It's an hour-plus long documentary about how much it took to pull off one minute of screen time in Revenge of the Sith. Whether you like Star Wars or not that's still a fascinating window into filmmaking.
The behind-the-scenes documentaries that have been produced for every movie of the saga have been integral in my drive to become a filmmaker. (except for Empire, I can't find a copy of the one they made for Empire and I've been looking for it for years.)
Go out and get yourself a copy of Revenge of the Sith. And while you're at it, snag a copy of This Divided State, too.