Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah, Sarah ...

Like the song from Jefferson Starship says, (with a different spelling of her name, but that's beside the point), "Sarah, Sarah, storms are brewin' in your eyes...Sarah, Sarah, we're fire and ice, the dream won't come true..."

The best description I've heard lately of Ms. Palin came from Julie Brown (the woman who gave us the classic songs "Earth Girls Are Easy," "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid," among others), who was on the Stephanie Miller show Thursday on Air America radio. She said Palin looks like someone in the first scene of a porno. Then the glasses come off, the hair gets shaken, and ... "I can see your country from my house, President Putin...Can you see my house from your country? Oh, I bet you can."

And I don't even want to think about what might happen were she to meet President Sarkozy and Carla Bruni...

Congratulations, Twinkies!

If you know me well enough, you know that I live and die with the Chicago White Sox. One of the most deliriously happy days of my life was when they won the World Series in 2005. This season the team surpassed pre-season expectations by playing pretty well, grabbing on to first place in an admittedly weak division early in the season and holding on through the entire season ... until this past week.

The Sox should have been able to put it away this past week. The only team that was seriously challenging them for the division title was the Minnesota Twins and they were a few games behind them. All the Sox had to do was win more than half of their remaining games, win at least a couple of the head-to-head games against the Twins this week, and the season would end with the Sox on top of their division and we'd be looking forward now to the post-season, and possibly meeting the Chicago Cubs in a once-in-a-hundred years World Series.

Well, it ain't gonna happen. The Sox have just lost their third consecutive game against the Twins, who have overtaken them for first place. With less than a week left in the season, the Sox would have to win their three games against the Cleveland Indians, then the lowly Kansas City Royals would have to win at least a couple games against the Twins, in order for the Sox to get back into first place, end the season there and go on to the playoffs.

I am furious at the anemic play of the Sox these past couple weeks. Tonight, for example, even when they were winning, pitcher Matt Thornton came on in relief with men on the bases and two outs. The batter grounded to the shortstop, who flipped the ball to the second baseman, who then made an all-out effort to get the ball to first base and complete the double-play. The ball bounced in to first, but it didn't matter, because there were already two outs! The guys on the field for the Sox didn't even know how many outs there were! (with the exception of Thornton, who tapped his cap on the way in to the dugout, as if to say, 'wake up, dumbasses!'

Even though the Sox had a 6-1 lead at one point in tonight's game, the lead never seemed secure,m based on how the Sox have played lately and also how enthusiastically the Twins and their fans were reacting. These folks wanted it more than the Sox, they played with more heart and intensity than the Sox and they deserved this win, just like they deserve to be in first place and the Sox do not.

Twins fans, I'm happy for you. Sox, I wash my hands of you (at least until next spring). Now, on to hockey season!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Should be McPalin's Theme Song

Whenever I read something new about the McCain/Palin campaign, this song comes into my head.

Rather than Heart protesting the McCain campaign's use of "Barracuda," I think the Thompson Twins should just donate this song to the senator from Arizona and his GILF.

The funny thing is, when I went to YouTube and just typed in the name of this song, "Lies," the top few videos that popped up were things such as a McCain spokesman who was unable to support any lies McCain had told, McCian getting grilled on The View regarding the lies he's been telling, and some news commentator exposing Sarah Palin's lies.

Maybe not so much funny, but sad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little Britain Invades the U.S.

Little Britain, the hilarious BBC TV show, starts a new season on September 28. If you're not familiar with the show, it's uproariously funny, often in bad taste, ingenious and slap your knees funny. It's narrated by Tom Baker, who still is perhaps the most famous Dr. Who ever (he was the one with curly hair and the long scarf). This season the Little Brits do their show from the U.S. and initial reservations at least partly aside, from this preview clip, they seem not to have suffered comedically a bit. The third bit here, with special guest star Rosie O'Donnell joining the "Fat Fighters" group, makes me definitely want to get this season on DVD as soon as it comes out (since I don't have HBO).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Say Anything

I suppose that's the new motto of the McCain/Palin campaign.

Health Crisis

I had such lovely plans for my half-day off today. I got out of bed early, so that I'd be sufficiently drowsy later tonight so that I could nap before going into work; then I was to go to the gym and try to run at least four miles, then have a leisurely lunch somewhere around the quiet Wrigley Field, maybe do some window shopping on Broadway, read a bit at my favourite Caribou, etc., and watch a dvd when i got home in the late afternoon.

But those plans were led astray by a bit of a medical crisis. I won't get into all the details, but it involved blood, a bit of pain and wondering where the blood had come from and why. I called the doctor, who allayed my fears and told me to make an appointment next week if the symptoms persisted.

Then, like any good 21st century hypochondriac, I looked up some symptoms on the Internets, and what I found shocked and enraged me. I looked at dozens of posts on a couple sites/boards and in at least one-third of them, the person describing their symptoms/asking for advice, also stated he or she did not have insurance or that they did not want to go to the doctor because they couldn't afford it. In one particularly chilling post, on a craigslist board, some guy in Ohio who stated that his wife was a nurse but still, he had no insurance, said that he was actually in an emergency room and a doctor was telling him he was having s stroke, when he pulled the IV out of his arm, leaving blood in his wake, because he didn't want to be admitted because he could not afford a hospital stay! In the same post, the guy also said, "I don't want to die." But he left a hospital, where he was already being treated and diagnosed, because he was more afraid of the hospital bill! Other posts, on that and other boards, stated stories that were not quite as shocking, but terrible just the same. People asking complete strangers who are not doctors, for diagnoses of their medical maladies because they cannot afford to see a doctor or they can't take an unpaid day off work so they can be professionally treated.

This is not Calcutta, this is not Darfur. This, in the United States of America, in the year 2008. So many people, who cannot or will not, because of financial fears, go to a doctor when there is something clearly wrong, won't be seen by a doctor until their pain is so great they wind up in an emergency room, and sometimes, by the time they get there, it's just too late.

And who has a plan to stop this? Who is fighting for the people in this other America -- you know, the poor one? John Edwards is now ridiculed and pushed to the side of the road politically because of some awful decisions he made in his personal life, but what he said about there being Two Americas is absolutely correct. There is the America where people are safe, and content and comfortable, then there's the America where an unplanned medical issue or an automotive problem or a bill that comes due that is greater than what was expected, can spell financial doom for too many people. Meanwhile, all we seem to be hearing about from people who want to "change" things is how upset they are about a comment someone else made or how we need to drill for oil or how Russia better not mess around with some country that no one other than Russians have ever even been to, or how "my opponent" lies or "my opponent" is naive and thinks the American people are stupid, etc., etc., etc.

Enough. Someone needs to come up with some solutions, and quickly, before more people live in pain and die needlessly. The city of Chicago is spending billions of dollars to attract and possibly hold the Olympics in 2016. The city has even targeted hospitals which haven't done a lot of business as places that could be torn down or converted into housing for athletes. The city council bickers about banning and then unbanning certain foods or types of baseball bats, and the county of Cook, mired in political nepotism and cronyism, spends money on promotional magazines that never get distributed and cuts funding of medical facilities, while the county board president keeps adding staff to his PR crew. And hardly anyone ever dares talking about how to fix the health system in this country, lest they be labeled a "socialist" by the Republicans.

Enough. Enough, enough. Won't anyone actually do anything?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yes We Can

Where has Boy George been lately, you ask? Well, we know he hasn't been to America -- some nasty business about a Visa denied, some rumors about a drug offense, maybe a bit of kidnapping, some court-mandated community service picking up garbage -- but he's paid a visit to one place he truly belongs, and that's the recording studio.

Here is his video for "Yes We Can," Boy George's campaign anthem/mantra for Barack Obama. Think of it as the 21st century answer to Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes," which he recorded for the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy.

Like "High Hopes," this is a lovely, peppy, fun, cheery, optimistic, and, well, hopeful song. Too bad Boy George can't get into this country to sing it live. But that's what the Internet is for. Pass it around, tell your friends about it, turn it up and play it loud at home and hopefully we will also hear it many times through the night and into the early morning in November.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Who's the Elitist Cosmopolitan Now?

For all their harping about elitist, latte-sipping, San Francisco values, "cosmopolitan" Democrats who don't understand the common folk, Republicans sure are hypocritical, two-faced liars.

Vanity Fair reports that Cindy McCain's convention outfit -- the saffron shirt dress with the popped collar, diamond earrings, four-strand pearl necklace, white Chanel watch and strappy shoes -- cost an estimated $313,000.

According to Vanity Fair, the Senator's wife is known to favor Escada, Michael Kors and Carolina Herrera and was recently seen shopping at Oscar de la Renta's New York -- as in big Liberal New York City -- showroom.

And people got all worked up over John Edwards' haircuts? But I suppose if the people supporting your husband for president are apt to break out in cheers of "Drill, Baby, Drill!" it doesn't much matter that what you spent on one outfit could have bought houses for two middle-class American families. And for a couple who don't really know how many homes they own, the price tags don't much matter, do they?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Touch Me

How do I know I'm a geek? I get excited when I hear the words "external volume controls." That is one of the features that supposedly will be a part of the new ipod touch when it is introduced next week.

My plan this summer was to use my tax rebate to buy an ipod touch, but then I started to hear whispers of a new version to be introduced soon. Even as prices fell and I could have found one very cheaply off craigslist from a college student who got a free one with their purchase of a mac this summer, I held out, until i heard more about the new ones. Apple itself finally confirmed, in a way, the rumors in the past few days by announcing an event for next week (like apple though, the company did not release any specifics).

Well, it appears my patience has paid off. Today on ilounge, dimensional drawings for what very well may be the new nano and touch are pictured. The new touch has external volume controls, something that was missing on the current versions -- without the external volume controls, people listening to a touch would have to touch around the screen to bring up the volume control, instead of just being able to control the volume by reaching to the touch, whether it was on your hip, in your hand or in a bag.

Also, according to the ilounge, the new touch has a tapered design, making it similar to the iphone, and appears to be thicker.

I can hardly wait for them to be released.

Liars' Club

According to the AP, some of the fiery claims made by Republicans at their convention this week have been "less than truthful." A few of them:

* Former Arkansas Gov. Mick Huckabee said Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for President of the United States."

* The truth is that Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's race and 909 votes in her 1999 re-election campaign, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

* Palin said Obama plans to raise income taxes, payroll taxes, investment income taxes, the "death tax," and "increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of millions of dollars." This includes higher tax credits for larger families -- like yours, Sarah. He WOULD raise income and payroll taxes, on those people making more than $250,000 a year.

* Sarah, you ignorant slut. Obama's plan is to provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly.

* McCain said Palin was in charge of the Alaska National Guard and "she has been in charge and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities."

* What a stretch. While governors are in charge of their state guard units, the AP says, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for instance, they assume those duties under federal status, which means they report to the Defense Department, not their own governors. By the way, Alaska's National Guard has 4,200 personnel, one of the smallest in the nation. John McCain knows this, and he lied about this.

* Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney said, ,"we need change, all right, change from a Liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! Throw out the Big Government Liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin!"

* Where has he been for the past eight years? George W. Bush, a supposedly conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years and until last year, the Republicans controlled Congress, as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Republicans Pale in Comparison

I have a friend who is a Republican and has bought into the whole "Country First," "Obama is a Terrorist" line of thought hook, line and sinker. For some strange reason, maybe because I don't hate the police and am generally cynical and suspect of those who are liberal, even though I am proudly progressive, she still talks to me and I still communicate with her.

She's working hard for McCain, and today I got an e-mail from her, which detailed a trip she took down to St. Louis this past weekend to see the senator from Arizona and his Vice Presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, at a campaign rally.

Following is an excerpt from her e-mail.

"Once we got there they [McCain's people] gave us 'Dem McCrats for McCain' t-shirts. Not too many people on the bus were willing to wear the t-shirts, but I DID -- with Hillary stickers and all!!!!

"At the end I went up to (okay, I pushed my way through) to the Senator and he saw my t-shirt and reached out for my hand. He pulled me through the people and said, 'Thank you very much for wearing that t-shirt. Thank you."

My friend also says that she, in her "Dem McCrats for McCain" t-shirt with Hillary stickers on it, was interviewed by a Chicago TV station, had her picture on Fox News, and had a photo of her and McCain taken by an AP photographer.

So, two things from this. First, Republicans, especially those associated with the McCain campaign, are a bunch of lying, deceitful bastards who will try to manipulate the media and the electorate into thinking Hillary Clinton supporters are actually flocking to McCain/Palin. Secondly, when McCain tells her "Thank you very much for wearing that t-shirt," does that mean that the senator knew about his campaign's efforts in manufacturing fake Hillary supporters and Democrats who now are supporting him?

It's one thing to win a race or try to win a race by debating your merits and your running mate's. It's one thing to lay out your plan for how you will make people's lives better when you are president. It's one thing to suggest that people are switching parties and allegiances to vote for you because they believe in you and your candidacy. It's another matter altogether to lie and to create a movement with lies and deceit and manipulation. The pathetic, desperate bastards.