Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Compensator

It seems Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who we remember was elected because a fiscal emergency demanded that Former Gov. Davis be recalled, is giving generous raises to his staff. And these aren't little girly-man raises. These are manly-man raises, giving this governor the distinction of having higher average staff salary than his fiscally challenged predecessor ever did. To be fair to Ahnold, he's spent a lot of his first year vacationing (out of state), so he needs a well paid staff to do all the work he can't do.

Valenti vs. Freedom (Again!)

Proving once again that there's no freedom not worth challenging, Jack Valenti apparently thinks film reviewer Richard Roeper's recommendation that "everyone should see" Fahrenheit 911 is a blatant call for criminality. Why? Well because the R-Rating that the MPAA bestowed upon the film means kids aren't supposed to see it. And in this case it means the MPAA won't allow 911 to use Roeper's suggestion in its ads. You see, in Valenti's America you have to get permission before you can exercise your freedoms.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Sell Out

So, last night I made it to the theater an hour and a half before 911 starts and there's already a line a 100 yards long. The crowd was relatively quiet, though I heard the guy in front of me mutter "damn liberals" when a woman (in a John Kerry t-shirt) who was registering voters mentioned that none of the 135 people she had signed-up that day had registered Republican.

After paying more than I ever had for a movie ($10), purchasing the ticket 3 hours in advance, and waiting an hour and a half in line, I still had to sit through at least a half-hour of commercials. Remind me again why? Oh that's right, because they can. When theater owners start crying again about declining attendance, their crocodile tears won't win sympathy with this viewer.

As for the movie itself, I was bored through most of it. It was mostly stuff I already knew. From where I sat, Mr. Moore didn't go far enough. I wanted more facts, more specifics about what was hidden from us. At one point Mr. Moore compares two versions of President Bush's military record, pointing out information in the first (regarding connections to Saudi Arabia) which was blocked out in the second version. That's the kind of stuff I wanted to see more of. Also, while much time was spent on the special consideration given to Saudis in general, and the Bin Laden family specifically, I wish he would have pinned down the people actually responsible for the things he talked about. Who exactly ordered the FAA to allow the Bin Ladens to leave the country after 9/11 (when all other planes were grounded)? If that question was answered, I didn't hear it. That said, Mr. Moore does a terrific job when he asks "Just imagine what would have happened to President Clinton if he allowed the McVie family to flee the country immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing."

But, while it was all old news for me, it did seem to resonate with the audience. There was much whooping and hollering at the end of the film, with at least a couple of people giving it a standing ovation. Only one (very vocal) viewer expressed any displeasure, with a loud "Boooo". Still, I can't help but wonder if the film changed anybody's mind. Then again, judging from the reaction, their minds may not need to be changed.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Opening Citywide

So, I head out today to see 911. Burbank has about 30 screens, all of them owned by AMC. Despite all the hype, 911 is playing at the smallest theater in town. I get there and (not surprisingly) find that the next two shows are sold out. I bought a ticket for the 7pm show and will be heading back in a little bit. I can't help but wonder how many more people would have seen this film if it had been more widely released.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Teddy of Terror

George Gish is a retired court administrator and friend of Mona Majzoub, a federal magistrate in Michigan. He apparently thought it would be a great gag to buy a "Bush Kills Arabs Dead" teddy bear for his pal the magistrate. Michael J. Brady, a lawyer who chairs the Michigan bar's criminal law committee, bought the bear and gave it to Gish, who dropped it off at the magistrates home, perhaps anonymously. As the guys at Fark might say: Hilarity ensued. Now the FBI is investigating and you just know it's gonna get better.

Ummmm, can we get some help over here?

So, Britney goes to a pet shop in Santa Monica. When leaving, she and her family have to face the (supposedly) familiar hoard of press photographers. Mom, perhaps in a hurry to leave, drives into one of the photographers, leaving him writhing in pain. When the paramedics arrive, who do they rush to treat? That's right, the girl with the new puppy. The poor thing, it's been a rough morning.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Privacy, get over it!

Larry "Dudley" Hiibel has lost his privacy case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled that individuals are required to show identification to law enforcement when asked, apparently agreeing with the State of Nevada's contention that individuals in our modern society do not have the right to keep their name private. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Answering a request to disclose a name is likely to be so insignificant in the scheme of things as to be incriminating only in unusual circumstances."

Monday, June 14, 2004

Outsourcing en Mass

My favorite story today is that the Catholic Church is outsourcing religious services to India. I wonder if they asked the U.S. Supreme Court first.

Is "Brit" any kind of name for a Patriot?

With the press failling all over themselves to report on the (tandem) parachute jump by Ex-Prez Bush celebrating his 80th birthday, very few are mentioning that Fair-and-Balanced news anchor Brit Hume joined the President in the skies over Houston. Nothing like keeping that journalistic objectivity Mr. H! Then again, maybe he was just there to talk with Chuck Norris.

We're Still Under God

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that Michael Newdow, a father who didn't want his daughter subjected to the religous "Under God" affirmation during the Pledge of Alliegence doesn't have standing in the case since he doesn't have custody of the child. Chief Justice Renquist went on to say that the Pledge (written by a Baptist minister in the late 1800's without the phrase 'Under God', which was added in 1954) doesn't violate the Constitution's prohibition against establishment of religion, arguing that banning the mention of God would somehow prohibit patriotic expressions. The Chief Justice wrote "To give the parent of such a child a sort of 'heckler's veto' over a patriotic ceremony willingly participated in by other students, simply because the Pledge of Allegiance contains the descriptive phrase 'under God,' is an unwarranted extension of the establishment clause, an extension which would have the unfortunate effect of prohibiting a commendable patriotic observance." The full decision can be found here in PDF format.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Goodbye Ray

News today that Ray Charles has died. One of my musical heros, he will be remembered well. Among other things, I have fond memories of many drunken pool games played to What'd I Say, a song that is one of the truly great tunes of all time.

Friday, June 04, 2004

From the "Well Duh!" Dept.

One of the top news stories today is that Cardinal Roger Mahony thinks the cross on the Los Angeles County seal is a good thing. Q'uelle Suprise! The highest ranking local official in a religious organization so large it has it's own country likes the idea of a Christian symbol gracing a government seal! Alert the news media! Oh right, they alredy have.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm still in love

The new album by PJ Harvey kicks ass. She is still the most gorgeous thing on the planet.

So many Beezers

Sadly, The Beezer Book for Boys and Girls ceased publication after their 2003 edition. Let's hope it comes back better than ever.

The Reality of a 5 Billion Channel Universe

It's almost 8pm on a Wednesday and once again an old rerun of The Simpsons is far and away the most intelligent thing on TV. Nothing new. It's been this way for years. This isn't a put down of the cartoon, as it is truly brilliant. But don't you think there's space for The Calculus Channel, or perhaps Phonemes and You along with all the dreck we get today? Is it possible I'll turn on the tube one day and find something that can make me feel smarter than before I tuned in? God I hope so, but I ain't holding my breath.