Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fox Hunting

Found this via TP... Fox Attacks' new ad about how Fox News (aka: Fox Noise, aka Fix News) is distorting the debate on global warming. And when I say "debate" I should really mean to say "consensus" because the only ones debating are those who don't care about the environment and the hacks that are being paid by companies who are too cheap to want to change their polluting ways.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

"...With a Little Help From My Friends"

Danica McKellar (aka Winnie Cooper) is coming out with a book to encourage young women to be cute and smart:

"But I want to show them that being smart is cool," she said. "Being good at math is cool. And not only that, it can help them get what they want out of life."

Kudos to McKellar; it's nice to know that's there's an alternative to the Hilton/Lohan crowd. And it helps that she's also a math major.

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A Sad Day for Ocean City

Truly disturbing:

Ocean City police say they have found the bodies of three small infants at the home of a mother who was charged last week with the murder of a small infant. Police say all four infants were not full term.

They are still checking to see how many of these infants are related (by blood) to this woman.

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Ah, the Wit and Wisdom of Homer Simpson:

Kids are like monkeys, only louder.

The intelligent man wins his battles with pointed words. I'm sorry -- I meant sticks. Pointed sticks.

There are way too many numbers. The world would be a better place if we lost half of them -- starting with 8. I've always hated 8.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "My God! He's covered in some sort of goo," I'd be a rich man.

If doctors are so right, why am I still alive?

And my personal favorite:

I made a deal with myself ten years ago . . . and got ripped off.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Poll: US Supreme Court is Too Conservative

Don't expect President Bush to get any "up or down" votes should he get another shot at putting a justice on the Highest Court in the Land. From the WashPost:

Nearly a third of the public -- 31 percent -- thinks the court is too far to the right, a noticeable jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That's when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The two have proved to be reliably conservative justices, and the increasingly polarized court this year moved to uphold restraints on abortion, restrict student speech rights and limit the ability of school districts to use race in student assignments, among other issues.

Of course, if his Administration wasn't trying to turn both the Justice Department and the judicial branch into his own personal political weapons, people probably wouldn't feel this way.

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A Logical Transition

The Old Spock will still be involved in the latest Star Trek movie.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The "Dead Zone" Cat

When this feline comes near you, odds are you have hours to live.

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To Hoop or Not To Hoop

Barcelona baller Juan Carlos Navarro continues to be a question mark for the Wizards.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The "Fat" Virus?

Check out this story from the WashPost about how obesity spreads:

The study, involving more than 12,000 people tracked over 32 years, found that "social networks" play a surprisingly powerful role in determining an individual's chances of gaining weight, transmitting an increased risk of becoming obese from wives to husbands, from brothers to brothers and from friends to friends.

The researchers found that when one spouse became obese, the other was 37 percent more likely to do so in the next two to four years, compared to other couples. If a man became obese, his brother's risk rose by 40 percent.

The risk rose even more sharply among friends -- between 57 and 171 percent, depending on whether they considered each other mutual friends. Moreover, friends affected friends' risk even when they lived far apart, and the influence cascaded through three degrees of separation before petering out, the researchers found.

So in short, obesity is contagious. When you diet and exercise, try doing it with friends and/or family.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The US Attorney General May Need a Refresher Course

Too bad the Bush Administration can't send their more unqualified staff, Cabinet members and appointees to night school or something, so they can actually try and learn to do the job they've been assigned to. Today Alberto Gonzales proved himself to be both completely incompetent and utterly untrustworthy.

As Slate writer Emily Bazelon puts it:

Even after all these months of tacking and backtracking, Gonzales' lack of command of the details is something to behold. He doesn't know the total number of U.S. attorneys who were fired. He doesn't recall his participation in reversing former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton's decision about whether to seek the death penalty in a case where all the evidence was circumstantial. He doesn't know why DoJ's new guide to prosecuting voter fraud removed or watered down key directives against pursuing cases in a way that could interfere with the outcome of an election. He doesn't know why the Justice Department's guidelines restricting communications with the White House now suddenly include a blanket exception for contact between the attorney general and the vice president and his counsel. And, of course, he doesn't know who put the names of the U.S. attorneys on the list he approved for firing.

And that lack of command isn't winning him any friends in the Senate. Back to Slate:

This is either a petty hunt or precisely what is wrong with Gonzales as attorney general. He says one thing, then he says another; he tries again, then runs over himself. "If you want to be attorney general, you should be able to clarify yourself," Schumer scolds him. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., tells Gonzales that his testimony is a first. "I've never heard comments and questions like those I'm hearing today from both sides of the aisle," she says. "Then I listen to your responses, which are nonresponses. … No question is answered directly. Everything is obfuscated." The senators are howling with institutional rage. They feel deceived. They feel dissed. Some of them may be ready to do something about it. "Mr. Chairman, I think we should look into this," Schumer says to Leahy. He's talking about a perjury investigation. Specter mentions a special prosecutor.

It's bad enough that President Bush and VP Cheney think they are bulletproof and don't have to adhere to laws that the "common folk" follow. Now we have Gonzales joining the club.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

I Will Never Trust Another Magazine Again

At least not in terms of pictures. Just look at this. Pale skin, mini-guts, wrinkles and more. What's crazy is that these women are still attractive; the Photoshopping just makes them seem like a complete fantasy.


Don't Ever Think Your Records Are 100% Safe

A guy finds the personal documents of a local company in his parking lot. And that's the "normal" part of this story:

Lucky for the people whose personal information is prominently listed on the paperwork dating as far back as 1999, Voght is trying to do the right thing and return them to the company. When he called the number listed on the documents, he says he was simply asked to send it back.

Voght says he was shocked. "If it was my company, I would have sent somebody right over right then and there to retrieve the information on the spot."

Instead he was told to wait a couple days for a mailer to show up so he could send the papers back. "Hopefully, it doesn't get lost!" he joked.

We're talking about everything form "unemployment insurance claims to resumes and banking records" here, not somebody's chicken scratch from a 30-minute meeting.

The company's name is Financial Data Concepts and it's located in Rockville, MD. A quick Google Search shows that a company called Computershare Analytics (supposedly) bought them out in 2001. As for Computershare:

We are the world’s largest -- and only global -- share registry, and a leading provider of financial market services and technology to the global securities industry. Our experienced professionals, almost 10,000 strong, operate in seventeen countries, on five continents, providing services and solutions to listed companies, investors, employees, exchanges and other financial institutions.

So "the world's largest share registry" bought out FDC, which is/was "a U.S.-based strategic market intelligence company" that just so happen to spill alot of personal documents on some guy's stoop. And they want him to mail the stuff back to them.

Keep this story in mind the next time a company, any company, tells you that your personal information is safe with them.

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They Need To Get Their Story Straight

A General said the other day that November, not September, is the month we'll learn about the surge's success. But the White House says, "Nope, it's September."

So who are supposed to believe? The General, or the White House?

My guess is: whichever month brings the best news.

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"Walk Like a Man, Talk Like a Man?"

Yikes. Some body's getting sued big-time:

A D.C. jail made a mistake when a woman was booked in as a man. She lived, showered and slept in the central cellblock in downtown D.C. with men for two days before the mistake was corrected.

The gender mix-up was discovered Monday when the 47-year-old woman was transferred from the U.S. Marshal Service's central cellblock to the D.C. Jail.

She was processed, photographed, fingerprinted and subjected to a body cavity search as part of the male prison population at the jail. This was when she was found to be a woman.

According to the story, a man who knew her said she looks masculine. If the defense lawyers are smart, they may want to avoid going down that road.

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Calling a Foul

NBA Commissioner Stern has gone out of his way to make basketball fans believe that the refs are clean and as fair as possible. But this story puts some doubt on that claim:

The FBI is preparing to arrest an NBA referee and several organized crime associates for fixing the outcomes of games the referee worked in, according to the New York Post.

The report says the number of games in which the group won large bets was in the "double digits" and includes games from the past two seasons.

Sources told the paper the referee had a gambling problem and wound up indebted to mob-related bookies.

Obviously this is one bad apple, but it's all the ammunition NBA players need to claim bias in play calling.

UPDATE: The referee has been identified. Also, this brings up a good question: why deny Las Vegas an NBA team now that it's apparent that this "embargo" hasn't discouraged gambling?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Something Doesn't Add Up Here...

If President Bush says that the troops needed for his surge have just arrived (not really true) and that their purpose is to give the Iraqi government room to...govern in peace, then what good is it to have the troops there when the Iraqi government is going on vacation?

I mean, who exactly are the troops "protecting" during August? These guys are going on a real vacation, aka, "leaving the country." Is the plan "hope really hard that when the Iraqi officials get back, everything in Iraq and nice and quiet so they can get back to work?"

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Depends on What the Meaning of "Filibuster" Is.

Washington Post Mini-RoundUp

This title from this WashPost story:

Intelligence Puts Rationale For War on Shakier Ground

could have read: "Bush's lies now harder to dismiss." But I guess they wanted to be nice.

Speaking of nice, Harold Meyerson thinks is would be nice if certain Republicans who disagree with the direction Bush is taking in Iraq would but their vote where their mouth is.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Catch Up on your American Filibuster History

Go here, then read every post by poster "PaulB ." He knows his stuff when it comes to the recent history on filibusters.

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Obama Gets a DC Boost

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty endorsed DC rights advocate and presidential wannabe Barack Obama today.

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Fighting Them Over There So We'll Be Vulnerable Over Here.

The terrorist network Al-Qaida will likely leverage its contacts and capabilities in Iraq to mount an attack on U.S. soil, according to a new National Intelligence Estimate on threats to the American homeland.

The declassified key findings, to be released publicly Tuesday, were obtained in advance by The Associated Press.

The report lays out a range of dangers — from al-Qaida to Hezbollah to non-Muslim radical groups — that pose a “persistent and evolving threat” to the country over the next three years. As expected, however, the findings focus most of their attention on the gravest terror problem: Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

The report makes clear that al-Qaida in Iraq, which has not yet posed a direct threat to U.S. soil, could become a problem here.

In other words: Our presense in Iraq is not preventing al-Qaida from planning to attack us here. Meaning that the "if we leave they'll follow us home" mantra is utter crap.

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Moore Hits Another Out Of The Park

Forget Bonds, Michael Moore is the real slugger. This comment about integrating health care into our society is so on point:

Don't patronize Americans by saying, "Well, it's not free -- they pay for it with taxes!" Yes, we know that. Just like we know that we drive down a city street for FREE -- even though we paid for that street with our taxes. The street is FREE, the book at the library is FREE, if your house catches on fire, the fire department will come and put it out for FREE, and if someone snatches your purse, the police officer will chase down the culprit and bring your purse back to you -- AND HE WON'T CHARGE YOU A DIME FROM THAT PURSE!

These are all free services, collectively socialized and paid for with our tax dollars. To argue that health care -- a life and death issue for many -- should not be considered in the same league is ludicrous and archaic. And trust me, once you add up what you pay for out-of-pocket in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, overpriced medicines, and
treatments that aren't covered (not to mention all the other things we pay for like college education, day care and other services that many countries provide for at little or no cost), we, as Americans, are paying far more than the Canadians or Brits or French are paying in taxes. We just don't call these things taxes, but that's exactly what they are.

Can you imagine what life would be like if law enforcement was set up like our health care system? Who do you think will get the best service? Which neighborhoods do you think would get the quickest response time?

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No Main Topic

1. In an attempt to call the Republican's bluff (they've been trying to block any Iraqi-related lesgislation not favored by President Bush) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is proposing a political slumber party.

2. Those stories about the full moon and pets may not be that far off.

3. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and military scapegoat) Gen. Peter Pace sees a "sea of change" with Iraqi security, which is a good thing because...

4. ...Our new, super robot attack planes seem to be ready to go.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Ever-Changing Story

Think Progress on all of the reasons the Bush Adminsitration have used to explain why we went to (and remain in) Iraq.

Surely, there were other nations that were more threatening at the time or even would have qualified for invasion based on the Bush Administration's criteria for going into Iraq. So my question is: why didn't we pick those other countries?

Wait a minute...TP has a theory on that as well.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Staying Near Wall Street Didn't Make Rudy Any Smarter

Rudy Giuliani may have alot of money, but he doesn't exactly use it well. Something to consider sense an American President usually drives the economy with their policies.

Bonddad, if you're out there, I'd like to hear your take on this.

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On Thin Rice

Condoleezza Rice, like the rest of the Bush Administration, wants more time. She wants Congress to ignore what's happening in Iraq now, and wait until some September date to make an assessment:

Rice argued, for instance, that Baghdad has made headway in lowering the level of sectarian violence, pointing to “something that isn’t even on that benchmark list — the tremendous change in al Anbar province, where you have the sheiks, the local people, taking back their streets from al-Qaida.”

“I understand people’s concern. I understand people’s impatience,” she said. But Rice said “we ought to stick” to the troop build up strategy that President Bush announced in January, and wait until September when commanding Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to deliver a new assessment of conditions there.

Of course, that will give Rice and Co. enough time to come up with yet another excuse as to why all of their predictions for a Glorious Iraq Utopia have fallen short. I have an idea: why not tie future money to these progress reports? Why not say, "Mr. President, you're not getting one red cent until all of Congress has seen and reviewed the latest report on Iraq, and have determined the level of progress made?"

I understand the idea that military decisions should be made by military people. But we're also talking about building a government and re-creating a society. That doesn't need the input of the US military, but it obviously needs US cash. And the American People shouldn't have give another dollar towards that cause until Congress can say they're satisfied with what has been done with our money so far.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

What's Wrong With MTV

It's like this person read my mind:

As any child of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s knows, these days, MTV is a virtual wasteland. A repetitious, celebrity obsessed, materialistic channel that now seems to hire VJ’s based on their height and weight rather than their music expertise. My Super Sweet Sixteen makes any girl who had less than 1500 people and 17 white ponies at her birthday feel like she was cheated, and if you happen to be out of high school, there’s almost nothing—with the exception of True Life—that deals with your issues.

There's more. If you miss what MTV used to be, read on.

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This Guy Will Be Replaced Soon

From Think Progress: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican, “harshly criticized” President Bush yesterday for commuting the sentence of his former aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice.

I thought President Bush and Alberto Gonzales got rid of all of their independent-minded US attorneys.

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Take the Money and Run

Some very brazen Iraqi guards pulled off a big heist in Baghdad:

Both [being the local police and the Interior Ministry] confirmed that the stolen money was in American dollars, not Iraqi dinars. It was unclear why the bank had that much money on hand in dollars, or how the robbers managed to move such a large amount without being detected.

However, they don't think the guards worked alone:

Several officials speculated that the robbers had connections to the militias, because it would be difficult for them to move without being searched through many checkpoints in Baghdad.

Otherwise on Wednesday, there was only scattered violence in the city, although 18 bodies were found by the police in different neighborhoods, signaling that sectarian killing had not ebbed.

Keep in mind that whatever amount of money Bush asks for Iraq next time, $282 million of it is probably to replace what was stolen.

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Don't Call It a Comeback...

So Al-Qaida is back and badder than ever. Well, how did this happen? Haven't we've been told for the last five years or so that they were on the run?

Today, President Bush was saying that this new report is based on pre-2001 information, and that while al-Qaida is still a threat, it's not what it used to be.

Excuse me...what?

If that's the case, why is everyone talking about (Homeland Sercurity Chief) Michael Chertoff's scary gut feelings about a potential attack?

And while we're at it: if what Bush says about the info is true, what's the point in talking about a report based on old, irrelevant information?

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Feeling Good About the Newbies

The Wizards new rookies continue to make a good impression. The question, of course, is how well they will help bench productions.

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The Circle of...Weight Gain?

Making fun of overweight children may lead to (wait for it) eating disorders.

The lesson: don't mock them, help them.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

R.I.P.: Lady Bird Johnson


Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 94.

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Nixon Library Finally Tells the Truth

When it was privately run, Watergate was merely a footnote. Not any more.

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No Main Topic

1. Steve Carell in the new Get Smart? Sign me up!

2. Tori Spelling becomes a minister...online. Remember this next time someone talks about the "sanctity of marriage."

3. President Bush tries to tie 9/11 to Iraq again. When in doubt, repeat debunked falsehoods I guess.

4. Survey says: 14% would actually fire someone via IM. How classy.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

At Least He Tried...

When you say that you're "homophobic, racist and a habitual liar" like this guy, you'd think it would get you out of jury duty. You'd think.

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R.I.P.: Doug Marlette

The cartoonist known for doing "Kudzo" died this morning in a car crash.

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Maybe Halliburton Can Fund Him Now

From the WashPost:

Senate Democrats moved Tuesday to cut off funding for Vice President Dick Cheney's office in a continuing battle over whether he must comply with national security disclosure rules.

That's $4.8 million; a drop in the bucket for the VP's oil buddies.

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What Happens in Vegas...

Three new Wizards are set to make their mark in "Sin City".

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"You Can Ring My Bell..."

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka The DC Madam has released her phone records (as per court order). You can get them at her site or here.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

The Lucky and the Damned

Meet Jack Allen Falkner and Max Hell: One is super lucky; the other is trying to live with his name (and get an education).


Friday, July 06, 2007

Say "Cheese!"

If you thought gas prices were high, wait until the dairy prices start to creep up:

The warning from the Government Accountability Office comes as block cheddar cheese reached $1.95 a pound Thursday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up 67 percent from $1.17 a pound a year ago. Industry observers attribute the price surge to strong demand and higher milk prices.

Because cheddar is the benchmark for mozzarella and other cheeses, some big pizza chains, including Yum Brands Inc.'s Pizza Hut and Papa John's International Inc., already have responded by raising prices.

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A Good Endorsement

Movie Mom gives "Transformers" a "B+."

Oh, and Optimus gives an interview.

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How Post-WWII Presidents Fared

This is such a good find, I may have to put it on the Blogroll: the approval rating of every US President from Truman to Bush 43.

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Like Father, Like Son

While I understand that the media would prefer to compare George W. Bush's commution of Scooter Libby to any (or all) of Bill Clinton's pardons, they should really be comparing Bush to his father's pardons.

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Live Free or Diet Hard...

Black women and white women take different approaches when it comes to weight loss, according to a recent study:

"We found that African-American women did not differ from Caucasians in terms of concerns about body shape and weight," but those concerns were more likely to motivate white women to seek dieting assistance, said lead author Rachel Annunziato, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City.

It's interesting that this boils down to what seems to be a behavioral trait, not a biological/genetic one.

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Keep In Mind That He's a Committee Chair

When asked about which political party he's supporting, newly independent Joe Lieberman said:

"I'm going to chose whichever candidate that I think will do the best job for our country, regardless of the party affiliation of that candidate," the Connecticut senator told reporters in the state capital Hartford.

"I'm not going to get involved until after both parties have their presumptive nominees and, frankly, to see if there is a strong independent candidate," he said.

Sounds like the staunch, loyal, "liberal" Democrat he claimed to be when he was fighting for his life against Ned Lamont, right?

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Worse Than "The Dog On The Car" Thing...

Two conservative groups are linking Republican presidential wannabe Mitt Romney to pornography:

"Marriott is a major pornographer. And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an anti-pornography group based on Ohio.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading conservative group in Washington, said: "They have to assume some responsibility. It's their hotels; it's their television sets."

FYI: The story says Romney used to serve on the board for Marriott, but his Wiki bio says different.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Transformers: Changing It Up

If I used one word to describe this movie it would be: awesome. Watching cars, planes, military vehicles and even a boombox change into giant robots and beat the crap out of each other was fun to watch in the 80's when they were cartoons, and it's just as fun now when their computer-animated creations.

Long Story = Short: The Autobots (good guys) and the Decepticons (bad guys) have been fighting a civil war for ages. There's one device that could tip the scales to either side's favor (known as the All-Spark) but it's lost and the Transformers home planet is destroyed. Decepticon Leader Megatron goes looking for the All-Spark and finds it on Earth..but both get lost in the process. Fast-forwarding to present time, Autobots and Decepticons alike look for Megatron and the All-Spark, with now the fate of Earth in the balance.

Of course since they are on Earth, there have to be humans in this movie. Shia LeBeouf is pretty convincing as a modern-day Sam "Spike" Witwicky. Megan Fox plays the duel role of second-generation grease monkey and the object of Sam's desire. Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel play US soldiers who actually want to fight 20+ foot robots (and are actually somewhat sucessful). Rachael Taylor and Anthony Anderson play a code cracker and a hacker who try to help the Secretary of Defense (Jon Voight) figure out why driver less vehicles are disseminating the country. John Tuturro plays a shady "Man in Black" type, and Kevin Dunn and Julie Wright play Sam's ridiculously funny parents.

There plenty of humor (one-liners, visual gags, and even pee jokes) and tons of action (surely, this movie answers the question "can a giant robot do a cartwheel and launch two rockets as his target at the same time). I could have done without the forced love story between LeBeouf' Sam and Fox's Mikaela, and the thought that these guys were able to walk around unnoticed (until they started fighting each other, that is) is a tad far-fetched. But with Peter Cullen once-again voicing Optimus Prime, I can let those minor things slide.

If you want to see a good summer flick that isn't a sequel, change up and give "Transformers" a go.

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Olbermann Makes the Case

If there was anyone on the fence about the Bush Administration tendency to put politics above effective government, Keith Olbermann's latest Special Comment would knock them off.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Story In Disguise...

It's rare that the WashPost likes any summer action movie, so to hear lukewarm feelings about Transformers is good. I'll be seeing it tomorrow.

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The Libby Story Isn't Quite Over Yet

Tony Snow says a pardon isn't out of the question:

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Even With All of Our Faults...

Eugene Robinson believes that the feeling of hope for "a better tomorrow" in America may explain why we haven't experienced what Great Britain has.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

A Real SiCKO Approach

Question: what the hell does the terrorist attacks in Great Britain have to do with a documentary on the US health care system?

To me: not much.

To others: apparently, a lot.

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The Great "Commuticator"

Bush reduces Scooter Libby's sentence from 30 months to...zero. But he still gets the fine!

TPMuckraker has the details.

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