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Showing posts from February, 2011

Buffy's changing appearance

Sitting here watching a Buffy marathon. Its the beginning of the third season. So that means they have Sarah Michelle Gellar with at least three different shades of blond in her hair. And she looks a bit more in shape than when she does later in the season and especially in the rest of the series.

Sarah Michelle Gellar's appearance changes quite a bit throughout the series. Its not always dramatic, but its certainly noticeable and I'm not quite sure why it happens so often. Maybe if I break it down something will pop up.

In season one Sarah is at her heaviest, and when I say heaviest I still mean very small. She is about 5'3. So she isn't going to weigh much. But in season one she looks like a very healthy young woman. Her hair in past shoulder length and pretty dirty blond, certainly less blond than other seasons. I think Sarah was about 20 years old at this point. So her development as a woman is a bit ahead of the 16 year old Buffy she is portraying. I think this …

The Oscars

I didn't watch because Hollywood does too much in the way of masturbatory exercises. The only other institution that beats them is country music. Those people have a different award show every other month, and for music that sounds exactly the same across the genre and performed by people who look the same.

I also haven't seen many of the movies that are nominated for the big categories. And that's the biggest problem, the elitist attitude of the academy that favors certain kinds of dramatic movies and performances over others. Yeah, Heath Ledger won for The Joker. But the academy throws us a bone every once in a while just to keep people from completely leaving.

One of the movies that was getting a lot of Oscar hype was "Black Swan". I respect the director, Darren Aronovsky. Plus Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman are gorgeous. So I gave it a shot and it was good. Portman certainly deserved to win best actress. I also saw "The Fighter", which was also go…

Tornadoes and gov't infringement

Tonight in Memphis we had a tornado warning. The local news channels cut in to spend an hour telling us a tornado and sever thunderstorms were possibly coming our way. That was accompanied by tornado warning sirens used by local fire departments.

I live about 10 minutes (walking distance) from the closest fire station. So it was really loud, loud enough to freak out my dogs and get them howling at it. Needless to say it was a very annoying act that violated the privacy of my home without my consent.

Its not the government's responsibility to tell me when I should be concerned about the weather. That's my individual choice, and it shouldn't be made by unelected gov't bureaucrats. And my money shouldn't go to some person who belongs to a public union so he can violate my privacy and then use my money to bargain for a higher salary that increases my state's deficit.

To top things off, one of the shows the local news completely cut into was "Community"…

Conservatives vs Unions: who stands to win and who stands to lose

I think the whole situation in Wisconsin is a good microcosm for what is going on in the nation as a whole. A Republican is selectively targeting certain unions and not only trying to cut their wages and benefits, but also trying to take away their ability to collectively bargain.

The governor claims this is about the budget deficit the state will face. But that is political spin to justify his real motive, which is to give rich people more money, which is the motive for the entire Republican party in this country.

Governor Walker is doing this by cutting corporate tax rates at the same time he is cutting wages, benefits, and bargaining for middle class jobs. And he isn't targeting all public unions. He is leaving unions like the police and fire dept alone, two unions who supported him during his campaign. So instead of getting money from rich people who can afford it or from all unions equally, he goes after unions that are typically Democratic, unions that have already said the…

Judge rules political leaders are above some laws

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021705836.html

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit brought by a man convicted of plotting terrorism and who alleged he was tortured at a Navy brig in South Carolina, saying a trial would create "an international spectacle."

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Jose Padilla, arrested as an enemy combatant, had no right to sue for constitutional violations and that the defendants in the case enjoyed qualified immunity.
So this guy, an American citizen arrested in Chicago, can't even have his case heard. He might have been tortured, which is illegal despite this country's discussion on the issue. But he can't even be allowed to prove his case. Here is part of the judge's reason:

"A trial on the merits would be an international spectacle with Padilla, a convicted terrorist, summoning America's present and former leaders to a federal courthouse to answ…

More on Republicans and women

Following up on my last post about Republicans and their views on women, I wanted to highlight the fact that the House has voted to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. They are not hiding the fact that this is about stopping abortion. But the effect of their actions goes beyond that. And the consequences that result from those actions are why I maintain that Republicans don't care about women.

In this instance it shows that they don't care about how their policies affect poor women. Planned Parenthood doesn't just do abortions. They provide contraception, counseling, cancer screenings, testing, and all sorts of things meant to provide health care to women. Even though PP performs abortions, they can't use the money they are provided by the federal gov't on abortions. That's because of the Hyde amendment which was passed in the 70s to prevent federal funding to be used on abortions.

So this isn't technically about stopping abortions. Its about preventing PP…

Republicans don't care about women and children

There have been quite a few stories lately about what states have been up to as they pass their budgets. Many of the stories have been about Republicans being creative in trying to get rid of abortion. As far as I can tell, most of them don't seem to have a good chance of passing.

But this story about Texas and what they might do with education funding caught my eye, specifically this:

Which brings us to choice two. Besides reducing services to children, Texas is doing as little as possible to help women — especially young women — avoid unwanted pregnancy.

For one thing, it’s extremely tough for teenagers to get contraceptives in Texas. “If you are a kid, even in college, if it’s state-funded you have to have parental consent,” said Susan Tortolero, director of the Prevention Research Center at the University of Texas in Houston.

Plus, the Perry government is a huge fan of the deeply ineffective abstinence-only sex education. Texas gobbles up more federal funds than any other sta…

John Boehner doesn't care about jobs

That is, if you work for the gov't he doesn't care about your job.

"In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs," Boehner said. "If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We're broke."
First of all he is wrong about that number. As the article points out, its more like 20,000 and part of that is probably due to the Census, that Constitutionally mandated thing that conservatives told people not to do.

Second of all, gov't jobs are still jobs. That ranges from the bureaucrats at the agencies that Boehner and other Reps hate to police officers, teachers, and soldiers. And because states can't run deficits police officers and teachers are being laid off. And the Speaker of the House doesn't care.

Yet if a Dem basically opens their mouth and something regarding economic policy comes out the first thing Boehner and Reps will do is say that the effects of that policy will kill jobs. The …

Why liberals don't want cuts to entitlements

Here is Matt Yglesias on the problem for liberals when it comes to the public discussion on cutting entitlements like Social Security:

Right now we have conservatives simultaneously calling for huge spending cuts and also getting the line’s share of old people’s votes even while the vast majority of non-security spending is on old people. In essence, by first separating the domestic budget into “discretionary” and “entitlement” portions and then dividing the entitlement programs up into “what today’s old people get” versus “what tomorrow’s old people will get” the political class has created a large and vociferously right-wing class of people who are completely immune from the impact of their own calls for fiscal austerity.
Old people vote Republican. Well off people vote Republican. The benefits we give to old people because they are old are the biggest problems with the budget; the biggest problem being health care cost, i.e. Medicare. Well off people pay the lion's share of tax…

Duke vs Carolina

I was so focused on the game that I almost forgot to blog about it. And if Duke hadn't have turned it around in the second half I probably would have been too angry to post anything. But as it turned out they did a much better job of rebounding and not turning the ball over in the second half.

Not to mentioned that started to make shots. Nolan Smith was consistent the whole game. But Seth Curry really stepped up in the second half and closed the gap. He was absolutely on fire and the coaching staff did a good job of getting him as many shots as they could.

Singler had a tough game but I think he did a good job on Barnes in the second half after he had a good first half. The Plumlees did a good job on Carolina big men in the second half.

Carolina was very strong, quick, and relentless as they built a 14 point lead at half. I think Nolan was right when he told Erin Andrews (as gorgeous as ever) after the game that they showed toughness because that is what they needed to overcome …

Iowa Reps cite religious freedom to justify discrimination

Here is what the bill they plan to introduce in their House would allow:

It would be legal for an Iowa business owner who cites religious beliefs to refuse to provide jobs, housing, goods or services to people involved in a marriage that violates his or her religious convictions, according to a bill an Iowa House subcommittee will consider on Wednesday.

House Study Bill 50, called the Religious Conscience Protection Act, would allow a person, business or organization such as a charity or fraternal group to deny services without fear of facing a civil claim or lawsuit if they think doing so would validate or recognize same-sex relationships.
On its face this is ridiculous. Its obviously about gay marriage. But it would also allow a grocery store owner to say that married Catholics can't shop at her or his store because Catholics are evil according to her or his religious belief.

Legally it seems a bit more complicated since there is the 1st Amendment that allows for freedom of relig…

Your next president on Egypt and foreign policy

Here is the transcript of her discussion on Egypt:

“Remember, President Reagan lived that mantra trust but verify. We want to be able to trust those who are screaming for democracy there in Egypt, that it is a true sincere desire for freedoms and the challenge that we have though, is how do we verify what it is that we are being told, what it is that the American public are being fed via media, via the protestors, via the government there in Egypt in order for us to really have some sound information to make wise decisions on what our position is. Trust but verify, and try to understand is what I would hope our leaders are engaged in right now. Who’s going to fill the void? Mubarak, he’s gone, one way or the other you know, he is not going to be the leader of Egypt, that that’s a given, so now the information needs to be gathered and understood as to who it will be that fills now the void in the government. Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood? We should not stand for that, or…

Espn on the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl was an ok game. I'm glad the Packers won, but mostly because I dislike the Steelers more than any non-AFC East team in the league. Though I do respect how good Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews are.

The annoying thing about the Packers winning was all of the talk about Rodgers. Yeah he is really good. But, NEWS FLASH TO SPORTS MEDIA, the QB is not the end all be all of football. He doesn't run the ball more than running backs. He doesn't block, kick, catch passes, rush the passer, tackle, or defend passes. Nor does he coach the team or make personnel decisions.

So I don't want to turn on coverage of the game on espn and hear them talk almost exclusively about Rodgers. And even worse, I don't want to hear them talk about the QB that he replaced, who shall remain nameless. I don't fucking care about the QB who shall remain nameless, nor do the players on his former team who just won the SB.

Stop being lazy, espn and the sports media in general. You…

Rand Paul's no fly zone

Rand Paul was the only nay vote on a bill to outlaw pointing lasers at airplanes.

Paul is the newly elected senator from Kentucky who fancies himself a libertarian who doesn't want to cut Medicare funding because it would cut payments to doctors, which was Paul's job before he became a senator.

Anyway...What's his reasoning for voting against this bill?
The younger Mr. Paul said he thought it was a bad idea to point lasers at pilots, but “there are a lot of states that already have laws, and I think the states ought to take care of it.”
Why should the fact that something is a good idea mean the senate should make it policy? Only a big gov't anti-federalist would ask such a question.

Why even bother with federal law to begin with? If its a good idea states will take care of it. And if they don't well then that's their right. I mean, that is what's important here, state's rights. Who gives a shit if a pilot is blinded by a laser while flying over a stat…

Did the Republicans compromise health reform repeal by embracing the tea party?

The Senate voted 51-47 to not repeal the ACA. That's a really slim vote that could have been closer if Republicans would have picked up a few more seats.

Two of the most popular candidates for Senate in the last election were Sharon Angle, who was running for Harry Reid's seat in Nevada, and Christine O'Donnell, who was running for Joe Biden's seat in Rhode Island. Both were tea party candidates who became popular for all of the crazy stuff they said.

Both candidates upset the Republican backed candidate who was polling well against the Democrat challengers. I don't remember how well the Rep was doing against Reid. That's in part because Reid scared off a lot of challengers. But considering Angle herself gave him a close race its not too difficult to imagine a less radical candidate making it even closer. I do remember that the candidate O'Donnell upset was a prohibitive favorite to win against the Democrat. But O'Donnell's victory virtually assur…

Did the Democrats compromise health reform with the individual mandate?

Another judge has ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. Putting aside the merits of that argument other than to say that in this recent decision they seem weak, I want to use a bit of hindsight to look back at when they passed the ACA.

The more I think about it the more I think Dems might have screwed up. The individual mandate wasn't their idea originally. It wasn't an idea liberals were married to. So its not like liberals would have hated the ACA without an individual mandate. And since it was originally a Rep idea (yes, I love pointing that out), they either thought Reps wouldn't oppose it on constitutional grounds or thought they would be able to win that argument.

Holding off for a second on the merits of Dems winning a political argument in the court of public opinion, you can't overlook the fact that the Supreme Court is fairly conservative at the moment. So if they simply thought they could win the argument that was quite the risk being wagered on th…