Tuesday, September 30, 2008
There are dissertations a-plenty awaiting the answer to this question, but for now I give you this photograph from Obama's visit today in Reno, Nevada. Over 10,000 mostly white people would seem to suggest that the answer is YES.
It may still be NO in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nebraska (as the polls overwhelmingly imply); however, if it is YES in Nevada, then it's finally YES in Iowa, and YES in Virginia, and (dare I hope for it?) even YES in North Carolina. And for now, that's good enough for me.
Is it so bad to want to live in a nation driven by ideals that create opportunities for everyone? Instead of a nation filled with empty rhetoric where the haves spend their energy protecting their own and audaciously blaming the have-nots for all their calamities? Are we not a better people than this?
If our nation doesn't embrace and stand for this, then how can we expect anything other than to continue to implode upon ourselves? Lincoln paraphrased it from the Bible, and it remains just a true today: A house divided will not long stand....
I just love the interplay of light of shadows...
So after planting bulbs for spring, I cleaned up and went down to the Mall in D.C. There's a little show at the National Gallery of Art that I visited briefly recently with a couple of friends, and I wanted to have some time with it alone as well as pick-up the catalogue. I'll share more about it specifically soon.
When you go the National Gallery it's two separate buildings joined by an underground concourse. The concourse features a large buffet driven cafeteria and one of the two shops. It's the one that features books. If you go there you'll discover a sale table. And if you're lucky there will be something sitting there with your name on it. Today, I was lucky!
"A Century of Thai Cinema" compiled by Dome Sukwong & Sawasdi Suwannapak is a collection of all things Thai movies. It's peppered throughout with commentaries and contains hundreds and hundreds of images of actors, stills, posters, theatres, recordings, scripts, and all sorts of memorabilia. Written in English, it was published in Thailand. I can't wait to absorb it all!
Monday, September 29, 2008
It's set in Eastern Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. It's the world of peasantry, or Cossacks, of horse thieves. A world in which loyalty and family ties represent survival.
The story is one of two pairs of brothers. How their random encounter, how tribalism, how vandalism, how the very will to survive clash like sabers in a barren forest. And how only the will to renounce and break free from all of these forces can bring change.
It's a powerful, austere, tender, and in many ways understated film. Time well spent.
In a recent (9/27-28) Sodahead.com poll 2,070 people from across the United States responded to the question: “Is Sarah Palin the Messiah for John McCain?” Only 370 said, “yes”--a scant 18%. slightly more of those opposed the questions responded without comment (19%), but 63% left their thoughts to the statement starter: “I think that Sarah Palin is....”
Here’s a random sampling of the most recent replies (I read about 100 of them and found none that were supportive, if even occasionally the writer was nice).
I think Sarah Palin is....
...not good for America. She is a JOKE.
...a self-deluded, irrational, opportunist with MILTF-fantasies
... Why would any American want a dim wit in the White House. We have all had just about enough of that with Bush.
...a good looking mother of five, but sadly as dumb and unqualified to be VP as George Bush is to be POTUS. But then Americans seem to want a President as dumb as dirt.
...not qualified to hold any position of importance in the National government. Certainly NOT Vice President of America!
...not a good VP choice at all. She is NOT qualified for the post. If McCain dies, I cannot see her as the leader of the free world.
...a huge mistake!!
...the most scary thing to happen to this country ever! For McCain to choose her, is an unbelivable insult to America and our friends around the world!
...an idiot who should not be in a position of power, period.
...palin is very, very scary.......she has extremely bizarre religious beliefs.
...an empty shell. She doesn't have the foreign or executive judgement needed for the role of Vice President. She is a "puppet" of Karl Rove...and she's not event [sic] good at that.
...Messiah? probably not, swan song, undoubtedly
...I think his choice was a joke. She is not prepared to lead our country through one of the most trying domestice [sic] circumstances we have witnessed since the great depression. As far as her foreign policy. She doesn't have one.
...looks to be a nice person but not President. But good luck to all.
Ah...restores my faith in Americans. Thanks, Sodahead!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
In fact, "Beautiful Boxer" (WIW #4, 12 NOV 05) is on my all time top 10 movie list.
Bangkok Love Story would make the top 25. It's the mesmerizing stylized story of a hired killer from a poor neighborhood who does what he does to support his mother and younger brother, both of whom are HIV positive thanks to the brutality and rape of a man who once lived with his family. His latest mark is a cop, whom he trails and then kidnaps to deliver to his patron before killing him. "Cloud," the assassin, never knows anything about the people he kills and believes that they are bad people.
This time, when he learns the mark's identity, he refuses to kill him, "Stone". A shoot out ensues in which Cloud is mortally wounded but manages to escape with Stone's help. Away from danger, it is obvious that Stone cannot return home, and Cloud will die unless someone attends to his wound and nurses him back to health. What at first seems to Stone as a debt owed to Cloud becomes an obsession that unleashes in him his own hidden sexuality...and from here the film is a tour de force of emotions (a true melodrama in all of this genre's glory).
The performances are powerful, the writing spare at times (superceded by the images) and beautiful at others (revealing the motives and confusion of the characters). But it's the full package of the cinematography (lighting, camera angle, film speed, point-of-view, color palette) that really shines in this film. Even if you're averse to sub-titles, this is a film worth experiencing on so many levels.
And I know it doesn't look like much, but I did plant 72 pansies in the space of about an hour. Now, if only the deer won't see this as a buffet.....
In 2004, it issue was control of the Senate. The mandate was national anger over the war in Iraq. Republicans were on the defensive, and 7 seats were in serious play: Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. Minnesota was an open seat that the Democrats wanted to keep, Tennessee was an open seat that the Republicans wanted to keep, the rest were races against sitting Republicans. When the dust settled, the Democrats were sending freshman senators to Washington, D.C. for six of the seven seats; only Harold Ford from Tennessee remained at home. Republicans made no gains in 2004.
Forward to now. The issue is the economy. In 2008, Republicans have again virtually no chance of gaining a seat in the Senate from a Democrat. Their one time best shot was Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and her most recent polling has her beating her Republican challenger with 54%--in politics, a very comfortable margin. I see the Democrats picking up 8 seats this time around. Open seats in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia; Up-sets in Alaska, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oregon.
The polls in Minnesota have been 1 and 2 points apart for months now. Al Franken will benefit in the end from the votes of thousands of newly registered and young first time voters to squeak out the closest victory of the 8.
Alaska is the most amazing takeover. It's incumbent is the longest serving Republican senator in the history of the state and congress, and Ted Stevens is in no mood to retire; however, he's also on trial for Federal corruption charges -- a similar circumstance benefited the victory of Jon Testor in Montana in 2004.
North Carolina is the flip flop that no saw from the outset. Many thought of Libby Dole as a sort of Republican aristocracy, but challenger Kay Hagan has successfully run a campaign exposing Senator Dole's weak, lap-dog voting record that has taken the sheen off of her tiara. It's been a dirty campaign with some of the highest undecided voter percents across the nation. Hagan has other things going for her, too. Obama is doing surprising well in the Tar Heel state, large numbers of first time and young voters who's demographic is tracking decidedly more progressive, and one of the largest influxes of Hispanic immigrants in the nation.
Other contests to watch are in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Marilyn finds love as she struggles with sobriety. Peter learns how to begin letting go of his own need to control his world in the midst of his budding relationship with Derek (Tres HOT). And Luke? Well, Luke put the "slut" in slutty summer...and this time around he is challenged by two men: one to form a relationship, the other to form a social conscience.
"a Four Letter Word" is just as delightful as the first film--A lovely reunion with quirky, sometimes conflicted, funny, and ultimately endearing characters.
So here’s this weeks state-by-state results:
Obama states that are hardening: +43
Michigan 17, Minnesota 10, New Mexico 5, Pennsylvania 21
Obama states that are softening: -0
Obama pick-up states: +13
States going into neutral: 0
McCain states that are hardening: +6
McCain States that are softening: -5
West Virginia 5
McCain pick-up states: 0
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I feel like the character from "Network" who tossed open his office window and shouted to the world below, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!"
Republicans have played us as morons for way too long, and way to many us have accepted membership in their dysfunctional family. In rebutting this it's hard to know where to begin, but the hypocrisy and cynicism of choosing Sarah Palin to be McCain's replacement is as good a place to start as any.
Sarah was a member of the Assembly of God church, and now a non-denominational "Bible" church. Participants in these groups are spirit filled, emotionally predisposed, intellectually gullible, and driven by a faith that has more to do with prosperity than sacrifice, seeking forgiveness than taking responsibility, desire than suffering. I know this because I've done that/been there. It's an utterly irrational worldview that believes God is responsible and intimately involved in everything, until God is ascribed ownership of evil. At which point the omnipotent Divine becomes magically impotent, and a fallen, defeated angel named Lucifer takes over the show while God sits back waits for his fallen creation to repent (yet again) and return to abject devotion.
Is this the sort of mindset that the majority of Americans want in charge? It is the sort of individual that lives a life of delusion and one that allows hypocrisy to flourish, because there's always a way out of your lies and an imaginary foe to place the blame upon. A perfect example is this recent affair sussed out by the reporters at the National Enquirer (Between this and the John Edwards thing, I hope they win the next Pulitzer!)
And now excerpts and commentary stolen from another blog:
According to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, three members of the man’s family, including one by sworn affidavit, have claimed that Palin engaged in an affair with husband Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.
Hanson owned a snowmobile dealership with Palin’s husband Todd, who terminated the partnership after he heard stories about the alleged romp in 1996. This was around the time that Palin was mayor of Wasilla.
“Sarah was elected mayor of Wasilla, Brad became a city council member in the nearby town of Palmer, and they started an affair,” says Jim Burdett, who was described by the Enquirer as a “Hanson family insider.”
“Todd found out about the affair and was so mad he broke up their partnership at the snowmobile dealership.”
The NATIONAL ENQUIRER says that Burdett has gone on the record with the details of the affair and even passed a “rigorous” polygraph test. Another source, who The NATIONAL ENQUIRER did not identify, provided the magazine with a sworn affidavit attesting to the Palin-Hanson report.
“I’ve known about Brad having had an affair for a long time, but it wasn’t until just recently that I learned his affair was with Sarah Palin,” Burdett tells The NATIONAL ENQUIRER.
Rumors of Palin’s alleged secret booty call have been circulating the ‘net. Coincidentally, Hanson has reportedly filed a motion to have his divorce records sealed in Alaska.
Apparently, she's a sucker for the goatee.......
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"Family Recalls Soldier’s Patriotism"
WAPPINGERS FALLS — Nazar Naqvi’s son was not a Muslim soldier. He was a soldier who was a Muslim.
“First he was American,” he said of his son, Mohsin. “Then he was Muslim.”
The regular Friday prayer service at the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association on All Angels Hill Road paid special tribute Friday to Mohsin Naqvi, 26, of Newburgh, a second lieutenant with the U.S. Army.
He was among a group of five soldiers killed while on patrol in Afghanistan Wednesday. He leaves behind a 20-year-old wife, Raazia.
After Friday’s regular service, mosque members comforted Mohsin’s brother and father, and an imam led an informal prayer service specifically for the soldier.
Mohsin Naqvi had served a tour in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan, and family members said his Muslim faith was a constant source of taunting.
“He was being picked on any time they wanted,” his father said. “He still wanted to be in the Army.”
But Nazar Naqvi said he never questioned the allegiance of his son, who emigrated from Pakistan with the family when he was 8 and became a U.S. citizen at 16.
“When he came to this country, he took an oath to be loyal to the United States,” Nazar Naqvi said.
Hassan Naqvi, Mohsin’s younger brother, knelt at the Friday afternoon prayer service, Mohsin’s dog tag hanging from a chain around his neck, and wiped away a tear.
He called his brother “the most patriotic person I know.”
Mohsin Naqvi joined the Army reserves days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Once in Afghanistan, he would converse with prisoners of war in his native language, Urdu, but his common ground with the captured Taliban fighters ended there. The version of Islam they were preaching didn’t resemble his own, he told his family.
“As far as he was concerned, he wasn’t fighting against Muslims,” Hassan Naqvi said.
“Before he left for Af-ghanistan, I asked him if he was scared,” Hassan Naqvi said. “He said he wasn’t, because that was where he was needed most.”
After the service, Mohsin Naqvi’s uncle, Anwar Naqvi, said his nephew died defending against acts of terror and a violent interpretation of Islam the vast majority of Muslims denounce.
“I am proud that my nephew, he basically ...” Anwar Naqvi said, pausing to regain his composure and fight his tears to speak, “he laid down his life in the line of his duty. He was doing what he was supposed to do.”
Sunday, September 21, 2008
This sequel curiously happens without the talents of the first movie's creator. Additionally, it lacks all but three of the orginal cast, none of the previous sets, and no mention of the main character from the first film....with all of this going against it as a sequel, it comes across as a critter of its own making. Somewhere between a stale infomercial and an after school movie of the week.
It is an average, blurred little movie whose most endearing moments are blatant references to the first film and the full-frontal gratuitous moments of male nudity. For example, the new focal point, has one well-propotioned penis and quit a pair of low-hangers! Just sayin'.....
As a comedy it's sweet, and there are a few truly funny lines, but there are flaws, as well. The most glaring is the character of the protagonist's little sister. She is both utterly annoying and superfulous to the plot.
In the end the Boy gets the Girl, and the Boy gets the Boy. All's well that ends well.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
So here’s this weeks state-by-state results:
Obama states that are hardening: +26
Colorado 9, Oregon 7, Washington 10
Obama states that are softening: -31
Maine 4, Minnesota 10, Pennsylvania 21
Obama pick-up states: +20
New Mexico 5, North Carolina 15
States going into neutral: 13
McCain states that are hardening: +11
South Carolina 8, South Dakota 3
McCain States that are softening: -30
Florida 27, Montana 3
McCain pick-up states: 0
Friday, September 19, 2008
They are Fabulous, darling!
Check 'em out: http://frangela.com/
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
My friend is having an Obama 'o8 party, so come on out and join in!
The festivities start at 7:00 pm, include the music of "Baytop Franklin & Summerour", and munchies!
Your entrance is a mere $35...and includes full access to the fun.
Marty and Nannette Horan
144 Little Quarry Road
G'burg, Maryland 20878
For particulars, call: 240/418.6347
Get off your ass and join in with those of us who are hinky to make a difference!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
As a child fan of this amazing series, George Takei's legal wedding to Brad Altman after only 21 years of being a couple, thrills me to no end.
May you both continue to prosper and live long.
This FROM THE NEWS REPORT:
LOS ANGELES -- George Takei and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, have agreed to live long and prosper together.
Takei, 71, and Altman, 54, were married Sunday in a multicultural ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum that featured a Buddhist priest, Native American wedding bands, a Japanese Koto harp and a bagpipe procession.
The couple, both clad in white dinner jackets with black pants, made a grand entrance to the tune of "One Singular Sensation" from the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line." They stepped into a circle of yellow roses and lilies, where they shared a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and were wed by a Buddhist priest.
The couple, who have been together for 21 years, wrote their own vows.
Altman said that he had called Takei many things during their two decades together "life partner, significant other" but that their marriage represented "a dream come true for me."
"I can add 'my husband' to the list of things I call you," he said.
Takei called his longtime partner an "organized, detail-obsessed, punctuality-driven control freak."
"I'm easygoing with details, so we're a good fit," he said in the trademark baritone recognizable to all "Star Trek" and Howard Stern fans.
"I vow to care for you as you've cared for me ... and to love you as my husband and the only man in my life," Takei said as he held Altman's hands.
The priest then pronounced them "spouses for life." A bagpiper played as the newlyweds walked out, followed by friends, family and a few members of the press.
Takei said he and Altman chose to make their wedding public _ and have been outspoken gay-rights advocates for years _ for the sake of democracy.
"We have a relationship that's been stronger and longer-lived than some of our straight friends, and yet we were not equal," Takei told The Associated Press before the ceremony. "What this does is give us that dignity; (it's) being part of the American system and being whole. We're making the American system whole as well, as America is becoming more equal."
Such activism is nothing new for Takei. He participated in the civil rights movement, served as a Democratic delegate in 1972 and fought for redress for those _ like his own family _ who were forced into internment camps after World War II.
"I grew up determined not to be marginalized," he said. "That served as an incentive for me to be proactive."
He and Altman were among the first couples to receive a marriage license in West Hollywood when the state began granting licenses to gay couples on June 17.
"A quarter century ago, when I first met Brad, (marriage) was the farthest thing from our imagination," Takei said. "But what seemed impossible at one time becomes, over the passage of time, more and more 'what if' and 'why not.' We have to participate in moving society along to be a better democracy."
Wedding guests included "Star Trek" stars Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols, who served as best man and best lady.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The story is one of two young men: one, from a dysfunctional home who runs away, the other, a hot street hustler and drug dealer. Their relationship ends in a rape for hire that painfully, powerfully defines the essence of each boy's life.
This is a hard film to experience. 'nough said.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
reaching for the autumn sun ~
one more day of life
And while I don't especially like spiders, I do try awfully hard to appreciate them.
And now one of my favorite haikus:
With what voice
and what song would you sing, spider,
in this autumn breeze?
~ Basho, 1644 - 1694
The half mountain depicts the month by month casualty count which ranges from February's single fatality to June's 28. And with the latest announcement the year to date total is 120.
The bars compare the annual totals beginning with 2001 in red and ending with 2008 on the far right. Both parts of this graph demonstrate clearly an excalation of the conflict.
Both would seem to beg the question: "Is it time for another surge?"
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Without further ado:
Obama states that are hardening: +3
New Hampshire 3
Obama states that are softening: -64
Colorado 9, Michigan 17, Oregon 7, Pennsylvania 21, Washington 10
Obama pick-up states: 0
McCain states that are hardening: +45
Florida 27, Georgia 15, Montana 3
McCain States that are softening: 0
McCain pick-up states: +36
New Mexico 5, North Carolina 15, North Dakota 3, Virginia 13
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"St. Louis Soldier Dies In Afghanistan"
A St. Louis family is mourning tonight. Army Pvt. Vincent Winston has become the latest casualty in Operation Enduring Freedom. He died September 4 in Afghanistan.
His mother, Angie Little says, “He was a baby hero. He wasn’t nothing but 22. So young.”
The life of Vincent Winston was cut short in Afghanistan. He enlisted two years ago, but this was his first deployment.
His mother says, “He had just went over there. He just went over there. He couldn’t have been in Afghanistan, what, two whole months.”
According to Little, Afghanistan was a tough adjustment. Winston was just settling into his job as a mechanic when it happened. He and four others were riding in a Humvee when a roadside bomb exploded nearby. Winston died from his injuries.
Angie Little says, “I’m so sad. I’m heartbroken. I’m mad at him and I’m proud of him.”
For Winston, joining the military was family tradition. He was following in his father’s footsteps.
Angie Little says, “He wanted to go in the service and I told him not to because it was during the war. He said ‘I want to mom to get off the streets.’”
His aunt Betty Little says, “We’ve got a dark cloud in our heart. We are so sad. We are hurting.”
Relatives hope Vincent Winston will be remembered as a leader, a role model and a good man.
Betty Little says, “I want them to remember the smile, to remember Vincent as Vincent.”
Sunday, September 07, 2008
May their success shine in their home nations and inspire others to excel no matter the odds.
Top to Bottom/Left to Right:
And the GOLD MEDAL goes to:
Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain
Men's Track & Field
Tia Hellebaut of Belgium
Women's Track & Field
Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon
Women's Track & Field
Mijain Lopez of Cuba
Greco-Roman 120 Kg
Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic
10 M Air Rifle
Irakli Tsirekidze of Georgia
Abhinav Bindra of India
10 M Air Rifle
Maria Del Rosario Espinoza of Mexico
over 67 Kg
Valerie Vili of New Zealand
25 M Pistol
Irving Saladino of Panama
Men's Track & Field
Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand
Ous Melouli of Tunisia
1500 M Freestyle
Saturday, September 06, 2008
This map also reflects information provided through Zogby polls, as well. Currently I peruse the work of Rasmussen, Survey USA, Research 2000, CNN, CBS/Washington Post, Quippiaq University, and other groups affiliated with various universities. I'm also looking into Gallup and Mason-Dixon. Where Zogby influenced this map, it's polls were released on August 22nd, but were more recent for those states than the existing representation on the map.
Obama states that are hardening: +43
Colorado 9, Iowa 7, Minnesota 10, Michigan 17
Obama states that are softening: -4
New Hampshire 4
Obama pick-up states: +18
North Carolina 15 and North Dakota 3
McCain states that are hardening: +0
McCain States that are softening: -70
Arkansas 6, Indiana 11, Missouri 11, South Carolina 8, Texas 34
McCain pick-up states: +30
Alaska 3, Florida 27
Friday, September 05, 2008
During the speech she criticized Barack Obama's experience as a "community organizer" even as she touted her experience as a governor. Over all of this is the implicit sense that she somehow lays claim to a moral superiority by virtue of her personal Christianity.
"Jesus was the ultimate community organizer and Pontius Pilate was the Governor...." Clever, and yet, all to say, such comparisons are feeble and miss the point. Cheers!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here's a exerpt from a recent article about the W-W Clinic:
WHITMAN-WALKER CLINIC OFFERS COMMUNITY UPDATE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV
Clinic Likely to Confirm at Least One Percent of All New Infections in U.S. during 2008
WASHINGTON - Whitman-Walker Clinic highlighted new findings and trends in the fight against HIV based on its data from the first half of 2008:
~ The Clinic confirmed a total of 266 new HIV diagnoses, a 232 percent increase over the number of new diagnoses confirmed in the first half of 2007;
~ One-third of all newly-diagnosed patients have full-blown AIDS when they first seek care at the Clinic; and
~ New infections are primarily found in two groups—gay men and African-Americans—which track closely with recent Centers for Disease Control’s report on HIV incidence.
“Our experience mirrors the CDC’s findings, and we are seeing an increasing number of gay men and African-Americans with new HIV infections,” said Dr. Raymond Martins, chief medical officer for Whitman-Walker Clinic. “However, we have experienced more than a three-fold increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses for the first half of 2008 without an appreciable increase in HIV testing. These are troubling statistics that warrant more aggressive education, prevention and testing initiatives.”
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
[I found no newpaper report of this soldier's death that was anything more than a rehash of the information provided in the DOD press release (above)].