Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quantum of Solace review

Check it out here on Helium. Vote it up if you give a damn! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hannity & Colmes to split

Fox News Liberal Alan Colmes is finally done being a human straw man for Sean Hannity and has decided to leave the top rated "Hannity & Colmes show." Coming behind Hannity, not just in title, but in every conceivable metric, has finally has lost its luster for Colmes who announced his decision yesterday.

“I approached Bill Shine (FNC’s
Senior Vice President of Programming) earlier this year about wanting to move on after 12 years to develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network," Colmes said in a statement. "Although it’s bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I’m proud that both Sean (Hannity) and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years."

"Although my ass does hurt a little,” Colmes admitted.

Rumor has it that Hannity will go it alone after Colmes departure, a move that will change nothing about the format of the show.

"I guess I'll need to find someone else to grab my coffee and sweet rolls," Hannity joked after hearing the news. "Seriously, Alan, if you could just let me know when you're gone, that'd be great."

Hannity then gave Colmes a vicious wedgie, as is their spontaneous ritual before every show.

Colmes, the show's token liberal voice, won praise for his ability to hold a conversation with conservatives. However, he was widely criticized by liberals as too deferential in comparison to the often bombastic Hannity. He was famously lambasted in Al Frankin's book "Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them" as the whipping boy on the "
Hannity & Colmes" show. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. compared the show's format to a Harlem Globetrotters game in which it was Colmes job to loose every argument.

Fox producers have long been known to seek out nonthreatening liberal commentators to act as foils to their superior conservative dominatrix. Colmes is in a group which includes Juan Williams, Tammy Bruce, and Ed Koch. In addition to being non-threatening, they are often openly pro-Republican. Bruce and Koch voted for Bush in 2004. After Bush's famous "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003, Colmes wondered, "Now that the war in Iraq is over, shouldn't the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"

Good one, Alan! Happy trails.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The New and Improved New Deal

Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal: a fiercely independent punk group, or the words on every pundit's lips these days? With the economy in virtual free fall, and Democrats riding a tide of public support into the White House and congress, it's starting to look like 1932 all over again.

A recent cover of Time Magazine had an iconic photograph of FDR in an open-top car slightly altered to show president-elect Obama, over the title "The New New Deal."
George Packer, writing for the New Yorker, recently predicted an era of “new liberalism” to begin shortly, and examined Obama alongside Roosevelt.

The parallels are strikingly similiar. Obama was elected on a wave of issues, as the public happily ushered the George W. Bush out of the White House. Like FDR, Obama faces a staggering financial crisis. Like FDR, Obama has surrounded himself with pragmatists and intellectuals to deal with the problem. Many have already guessed that the 44th president's opening moves will match those of the 32nd, most notably, in something similar to FDR's famous, and controversial, New Deal.

The New Deal was the name Roosevelt gave to a series of economic programs he initiated during the great depression. It represented a sizable shift in domestic and economic policy, namely: increased federal government control over the economy, money, regulation, and production. Upon accepting the 1932 Democratic nomination for president, Roosevelt pledged himself to “a new deal for the American people.” This deal was to replace the extremely unpopular Old Deal of laissez-faire economics which had led to the stock market crash in 1929 and an unemployment rate of 25%. A little known fact is that the expression “new deal” was borrowed from the title of a Stuart Chase book “A New Deal: 10 Reasons Why the Old Deal Sucks” published earlier in the year.

The New Deal was a blend of pragmatism and experiment. Its policies drew from ideas proposed earlier in the 20th century. Roosevelt formed what he called the Brain Trust, a group of advisors to assist in recovery policies. Many believed government action was the only viable solution from, as General Hugh Johnson put it, “the murderous doctrine of savage and wolfish individualism, looking to dog-eat-dog and devil take the hindmost!”

The New Deal was phased out after America entered World War Two in 1941. What followed as a period of high times and American economic dominance. A Square Deal was enacted 1952 by President Eisenhower, followed by President Johnson’s Great Society Deal in 1965. This was ebbed by President Nixon’s Raw Deal in 1972, President Reagan’s No Deal in 1983, and President Bush’s Deal or No Deal in 2005. Now President-elect Barack Obama stands with his hands on the arc of history, ready to bend it back towards Roosevelt’s policies in what may become a New and Improved New Deal for the 21st century.

Will it bring us out of our current depression? Many conservatives, to whom FDR’s New Deal has, for years, been a rallying cry, say no, and claim that even the original policies did not turn the economy around, so why try them again? The lasting social institutions erected by New Deal policies have been targets for conservatives for years, culminating in President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005. That may prove to be the high-water-mark of conservativism for a while. Once again, at the crest of another economic crisis, the Democrats find themselves with their hands firmly on the wheel of history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doctors perform miracle windpipe stem cell another country

From the AP:

LONDON – Doctors have given a woman a new windpipe with tissue grown from her own stem cells, eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs. "This technique has great promise," said Dr. Eric Genden, who did a similar transplant in 2005 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. That operation used both donor and recipient tissue. Only a handful of windpipe, or trachea, transplants have ever been done.

If successful, the procedure could become a new standard of treatment, said Genden, who was not involved in the research.

America will now begin playing catchup in this area as well. Such medical miracles were banished from the homeland years ago. Federal funding for medical research involving the creation or destruction of human embryos through the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health have been forbidden by law since the Republican Revolution of 1995. On August 9, 2001 Bush signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for the 71 existing "lines" of stem cells. On July 19, 2006, Bush used his veto power for the first time to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

Doctors transplant windpipe with stem cells - Yahoo! News

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama meets Bush

Today, there could not have been a wilder juxtaposition, as president elect Barack Obama met with the second most powerful man in America, President George W. Bush. Obama got his first look at the Oval Office, and discussed transition issues with the President. It was a formal first step since Obama's campaign victory, as Bush begins to finally fade away into oblivion.

Obama appears to be wasting no time during his transition. A few days into his election he met with economic leaders to discuss the nation's faltering economy. He then held a press conference under a seal which read "the office of the president elect." It was refreshing to see the would-be president eagerly taking the reigns and candidly confronting the issue. He calmly answered questions about the economy--an unimaginable move for our former president.
For his part, Obama does not seem to be plagued with a disease that gripped the man he is replacing. Namely, laziness.

Although Obama is preparing to take over a country facing massive challenges after eight years of severe neglect, he seems anxious to confront the problems we face. He also seems ready to engage the country on an respectful level, rather than simply leveraging base emotions, and, failing that, vanishing from the scene altogether as Bush has done over the last few years.

President Bush can now move on to doing the things he loves best, without interruption due to national issues. Executive order, for the good of the nation, says he is not to be touched, interrupted, taunted, or interacted with in any way. His name will be removed from all history books, and any who utter his name or refer to his presidency will face severe punishment. The last eight years henceforth will be referenced as: the great unspeakable.

Bush can now devote his full, albeit short, attention span to the following activities: wasting time, clearing brush, shooting the shit, mountain biking. He is free to continue destroying everything he touches, holding back science, thwarting intellectualism, cursing the French, and fighting the war on terror with the following caveat: these actions, and anything else he ever does, will be forever confined to his ranch in Crawford, TX.

Meanwhile, Obama, and the rest of the nation, will attempt to clean up the incredible, incalculable mess left behind by the 43rd president the great unspeakable.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Election day sees Barack Obama elected as the first African American President of the United States!

Huge, nation-wide win in every area:
52% of the popular vote and 350+ EC votes!

Historic end to longest, most expensive presidential campaign ever!

Sarah Palin returns to Alaska!

Pictures from the Democratic victory party in downtown St. Paul.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?

Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant? That's the provocative question Margaret Talbot tries to answer, in one of the most poignant articles I have read this year in the New Yorker. She writes:

Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.

It's an interesting dichotomy. And one that also hits home for millions of families in America. Using data from Mark Regnerus's book "Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers," she shows that "religion is a good indicator of attitudes towards sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior." The vast majority of white evangelical adolescents (74%) say that they believe in abstaining from sex before marriage. However, that group begins having sex earlier than any other except one (black Protestants), and are significantly less likely than other groups to use contraception.

Talbot looks into why, if obviously the biological drive is the same in adolescents across groups, things are so much different in evangelical circles. The article, and Regnerus's book, is well worth reading for the findings. Contributing factors include unhealthy a lot of unhealthy information about sex including feelings that the sex drive is evil, fear that having protection on-hand will send the wrong message, information from the abstinence movement that says condoms wont actually protect you from pregnancy or STDs.

Deterrants for teen-age pregnancy include an observant religious life (not just going to chuch, but praying at home, etc.), a home life in-which both biological parents live, teenagers who have a sense that their parents listen to them and engage in activities with them, teenagers who have a sense of goals (college, a career, a family), and using logic and reasoning to solve problems rather than just emmotion.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tito the Builder vs Joe the Plumber smackdown

What if Tito the Builder and Joe the Plumber had a fight to the death?
Two go in, one comes out!




Real name

Tito: Tito Munoz

Joe: Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher

Advantage: Push


Tito: Hispanics

Joe: White middle-class America

Advantage: Tito

Fled from

Tito: Columbia

Joe: Texas

Advantage: Joe

Key swing states impacted
Tito: Arizona, New Mexico, Florida
Joe: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania
Advantage: Joe

Campaigns with

Tito: Sarah Palin
Joe: John McCain

Advantage: Tito

Moment of fame

Tito: interviewed on Hannity and Colmes

Joe: questioned Barack Obama's tax plan

Advantage: Joe


Tito: wears sunglasses all the time

Joe: bald

Advantage: Tito

What he should be doing

Tito: Business owner

Joe: Plumber's helper

Advantage: Tito


Tito: Pissed off

Joe: Cool

Advantage: Tito

Has probably had
Tito: too much coffee
Joe: too much time on his hands
Advantage: Joe

Looks like

Tito: Pancho Villa

Joe: Michael Chiklis
Advantage: Push

Has signed with a PR firm

Tito: Unknown

Joe: Yes, for "a possible record deal with a major label, personal appearances and corporate sponsorships."

Advantage: Tito

Currently owes for back taxes

Tito: Unknown

Joe: Aware, unconcerned

Advantage: Joe

Has recently impressed

Tito: Sean Hannity

Joe: Conservative women
Advantage: Push--there are no winners here

Finishing move

Tito: Columbian necktie

Joe: The ol' wrench in the eye

Advantage: Tito


Tito: Keep yelling until cameras find you

Joe: Put yourself in Obama's path

Advantage: Joe

Will be coming to Washington
Tito: One way or another
Joe: If McCain wins
Advantage: Tito

Biggest accomplishment
Tito: Came to America from Columbia and now owns own business
Joe: Asked, six years ago during job interview, about someday owning a business
Advantage: Tito

Will be back in

Tito: every four years

Joe: every time blue collar workers need a voice

Advantage: Tito

Secretly wants to campaign with

Tito: Dora the Explorer

Joe: Michael Chiklis
Advantage: Joe

Could be the lost member of

Tito: The Village People

Joe: Right Said Fred

Advantage: Joe


Tito: 10
Joe: 8

Winners: Joe, Tito

Losers: McCain, Palin, America