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Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

New McCain Ad Portays Obama as Top Celeb

In Barack Obama, Election 2008, John McCain, Politics on July 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Flashing images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the new campaign ad from John McCain calls Obama “the biggest celebrity in the world,” then goes on to point out that Obama is for “raising taxes” and against “offshore drilling.”

Putting Spears and Paris at the beginning of this ad just made the credibility factor drop for McCain, not Obama. How petty. Is this what his campaign is resorting to? Sheesh.

Here’s the ad:

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Willy Wonka v. The Pawtucket Patriot Beer Room

In Humor, Movies, Television on July 27, 2008 at 12:57 pm

While channel surfing this morning, I stumbled upon the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought about how much that movie scared me as a kid.

Now that I’m all grown up (ha!), I’d rather think of this version of the magical factory:

Willy Wonka just kinda freaks me out a bit. 😦

Newspaper Bias or is McCain Just A Bad Writer?

In Election 2008, GOP, John McCain, Media, Politics on July 22, 2008 at 6:24 am

An essay piece written for the New York Times by John McCain has been rejected by the newspaper. The piece, about his policy on the war in Iraq, was written by Sen. McCain in response to an op-ed piece that the NyTimes published last week by Sen. Barack Obama. Is this media bias (the NY Times is widely known as being a liberal paper) or does McCain just need help with his writing?

From CNN.com:

In an e-mail to the McCain campaign, Opinion Page Editor David Shipley said he could not accept the piece as written, but would be “pleased, though, to look at another draft.”

“Let me suggest an approach,” he wrote Friday. “The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans. It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece.”

In a statement released Monday, The New York Times said it is “standard procedure on our Op-Ed page, and that of other newspapers, to go back and forth with an author on his or her submission.”

“We look forward to publishing Senator McCain’s views in our paper just as we have in the past. We have published at least seven Op-Ed pieces by Senator McCain since 1996. The New York Times endorsed Senator McCain as the Republican candidate in the presidential primaries. We take his views very seriously,” the statement said.

McCain’s rejected op-ed was a lengthy critique of Obama’s positions on Iraq policy, particularly his view of the surge.

“Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history,” wrote McCain, criticizing Obama’s call for an early withdrawal timeline. “I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner prematurely.”

Obama’s July 14 essay had taken shots at McCain for not further encouraging the Iraqi government to take control of the country.

“Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government,” Obama wrote in his op-ed.

The article goes on to say that McCain will not change his essay or policy on Iraq to meet the demands of the NY Times. Guess he’ll just have to submit it to Guns And Ammo for now. 😉

Read McCain’s rejected piece

Read Obama’s essay

Read the rest of the story here.

John McJoker’s New Campaign Ad: Why So Serious?

In Barack Obama, Democracy, Election 2008, Foreign Policy, John McCain, Political Humor, Politics on July 20, 2008 at 10:20 pm

John McCain has a new ad that criticizes Barack Obama for his lack of foreign policy experience and his irregularities when it comes to key issues including the war in Iraq.

Some of the attacks in the ad are: “Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan,” “He hasn’t been to Iraq in years,” and “He voted against funding out troops.”

According to the voice in the ad, those “positions” helped Obama secure the Democratic party’s nomination, but “now Obama is changing to help himself become president.”

Of course the ad concludes by noting that McCain “has always supported our troops” and the surge in Iraq. “McCain: Country first.”

I personally like this ad better:

The Dark Knight Has Arrived – What a K’night’ Indeed

In Entertainment, Fun Stuff, Movies, The Dark Knight on July 18, 2008 at 1:05 pm

“A little fight in ya. I like that.” – The Joker to Rachel Dawes

I can gladly say that my sleepiness and stiff neck this am is attributed to the long anticipated The Dark Knight.

As I purchased our tickets early yesterday morning, I was mesmerized to hear the ticket clerk ask me exactly which midnight showing I wanted to see. It appears that the movie theater we were at had the film showing on 7 of its 17 screens. Hearing the clerk rattle off show times such as 12:01, 12:05, 12:10, 12:15, and so on, I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me? Are that many people going to show up at these ungodly hours?” The answer: YES. I overheard a couple of young men next me who wanted to buy tickets for Friday’s ‘official’ premiere, but were turned down by the clerk stating that all shows for Friday had already been sold out.

We arrived to theater about 40 minutes before the film began with our prepurchased tickets in hand, but only to find out that the entire theater had already been seated. We were left to find seats in the third row. There were a few people who were channeling the Joker’s spirit by walking around in face paint along with quite a few who were wearing Batman shirts. One guy, riddled with tattoos, was wearing what looked like a 6 year old’s Batman mask and cape. Good for them. 🙂 It took all I had to throw on sweats and sneakers to make it to the showing that was well past my bedtime.

Now I generally hate going to movies when they premiere because of how packed the house usually is and the immaturity of the audience with their talking, whooping, and personal sound effects (not to mention the constant illumination coming from their cell phones as they’re texting during the movie). This was the first instance EVER where as soon as the first titles came up, in this case the DC Comics logo, the audience went silent. Then when the first scenes of tall buildings in Gotham City appeared, I realized that I could hear my own heart pounding. The audience was so quiet that I swear I could hear the person breathing next to me. Throughout the movie, we seemed to share in laughter, jolts, and gasping all at the same moments. Everyone was truly respectful to one another.

A little over two and half hours later, the film ended in applause and many stood up and gave an extra nod when Heath Ledger’s name came up. Was the film worth all the hype? Did Ledger’s performance truly withstand all the anticipation that has led up to this moment? Does he steal the show? I would say yes to all and even more so than I had imagined. It was a nice change to have more focus on the villains and other characters in the movie other than Batman himself. Don’t get me wrong, I think Christian Bale does an excellent job reprising his role as the Dark Knight; however, the spotlight goes to The Joker and Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent.

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” -Harvey Dent

The Joker’s character is not the same one from the cartoons, the old t.v. series, or Jack Nicholson’s creation. This one is far more sinister and for the most part, shockingly violent. Every time he would hold his knife up to someone’s face or his own, I would quickly put my hand over my mouth and hold my breath. Most frightening, his only motive is to create chaos because he can. He’s not interested in money, fame, or even killing ‘The Batman.’

“Introduce a little anarchy… Upset the established order… Well then everyone loses their minds!” – The Joker

Batman: “Why do you want to kill me?” The Joker: “I don’t want to kill you. What would I do without you?”

How can we like a villain that is so evil? I think the answer needs to be credited to Ledger’s performance. His mannerisms and nonchalant sayings make you squirm and laugh at the same time.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We’re tonight’s entertainment.” – The Joker as he crashes Bruce Wayne’s party for Harvey Dent.

Unlike Batman Begins (during which I managed to fall asleep not once, but twice), The Dark Knight left me on the edge of my seat, hoping that it wouldn’t end. Speaking of the end, much remains open except for the fact that we know that we won’t be seeing Ledger’s Joker again. Do be careful though about taking young children to this one. For a Batman film, The Dark Knight is by far the most violent and scary for those under the age of 8.

Bad guys in clown masks, mob guys, rottweilers, and politicians who are turned into talking, rotting skulls of peeling flesh are just a few of the contemporary changes to this comic book film. Even the Scarecrow makes a brief appearance almost as an ordinary criminal. Gotham City is much brighter (except at the end when ‘the night is darkest just before the dawn’) and resembles present day instead of some ghastly, dark introverted society.

Alongside the main cast, look for some other familiar faces including Anthony Michael Hall as a reporter (yes- Farmer Ted from Sixteen Candles) and Eric Roberts as a slimy but suave mob boss.

So, plan on getting your tickets well ahead of time, arrive at least 45 minutes early, use the restroom facilities, and settle in for 2 hours and 32 minutes of thrilling, sinister, and explosive entertainment.

And by the way, I only have two words for you: Joker and Nurse 😉

The Cast (from IMDB.com):

Christian Bale Bruce Wayne / Batman
Heath Ledger The Joker
Aaron Eckhart Harvey Dent / Two-Face
Michael Caine Alfred Pennyworth
Maggie Gyllenhaal Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman Lt. James Gordon
Morgan Freeman Lucius Fox
Eric Roberts Salvatore Maroni
Anthony Michael Hall Mike Engel
William Fichtner Bank Manager

Also check out Manhola Dargis’ exceptional review from the NYTimes.

Posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger’s Joker Performance?

Read the story from Wired.com.

Two-Face and the Dark Knight Mania

In Entertainment, Movies, MTV, The Dark Knight on July 16, 2008 at 3:40 pm

The Dark Knight mania is all over the Web and not soon to be slowed down. My own blog has been getting close to 2,000 over 3200 6,150 7,600 hits a day for a post I did back in March about the movie. — Not that my biggest post has ANYTHING to do real politics – see where society’s priorities are? 😉

We have all seen what the Joker looks like, but until recently, Two-Face’s image has been under close wraps. Warner Bros. has done their best to keep the grotesque Harvey Dent/Two-Face image out of site.

Far from Tommy Lee Jones’ campy version in 1995’s Batman Forever, Aaron Eckhart’s rendition goes beyond just superficial facial scaring. In May, Eckhart told the Los Angeles Times that his Two-Face should make you “get sick to your stomach…like you would feel if you met someone whose face had pretty much been ripped off or burned off with acid.”

By the way, be sure to check out MTV.com’s ‘Dark Knight’ Dogma: Everything We Need To Know We Can Learn From Batman. Then read their take on Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent:

What if Barack Obama were killing off bad guys in his spare time, all in the name of “change we can believe in”? What if we discovered that Mahatma Gandhi had inspired all those movements for civil rights by secretly doing away with those who opposed him? What if a crusading attorney general for a city known as Gotham was exposed as breaking the very laws he claimed to enforce, revealing a dark side that lusted for … $1,000-an-hour call girls?

So is this the real thing? Guess we’ll just have to wait one more day to find out. Midnight showing, here I come 🙂

Jack Reed Does Not Want to be Democratic VP

In Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2008, Politics on July 15, 2008 at 10:01 am

Not that many even know his name, but Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Islands says that he is not interested in becoming Barack Obama’s Vice President.

The AP reports that Reed described the vice presidential spot as a “position which I have no interest in,” adding he has not been asked by Obama’s campaign to provide information that could be used to scrutinize running mates.

“There are people that are spending a lot of time, one, looking for candidates, and … trying to promote themselves as candidates,” Reed said. “And I’m in neither category.”

Reed said he was focused on winning a third term in the Senate and doesn’t take seriously much of the discussion surrounding him as a possible vice presidential candidate.

Some information about his bio:

After graduating from West Point and receiving an active duty commission in the United States Army, Reed attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a Masters of Public Policy. Reed, an Army Ranger and a paratrooper, served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer. He returned to West Point in 1978 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences.

Reed resigned from the Army as a Captain in 1979 and enrolled at Harvard Law School. In 1982, he graduated from Harvard and served a year as an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan. In 1983, he returned to Rhode Island and joined the Providence law firm of Edwards and Angell.

Reed was elected to the Rhode Island State Senate in 1984 and served for three terms.

Reed is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and a former Army Ranger. Prior to serving in the Senate, Reed was a three-term Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.

 

After reviewing the list of Obama’s possible V.P. choices, I never really considered Reed to be in the top picks. I wonder who will be next to distant themselves from the Obama campaign?

Self-defense Unbreakable Umbrella Right Out of Get Smart

In Technology on July 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

A gadget that Maxwell Smart might use? Too good to be true? Wired.com shows us Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s secret weapon:

From Real-Self-Defense.com:

The Unbreakable Umbrella from Real-Self-Defense.com works just as well as a walking stick or cane but does not make you look funny or feel awkward. Whacks just as strong as a steel pipe but it weighs only 1 lb. and 9 oz. (710 g). And yes, this umbrella resists the wind and will keep you dry in rain just like the best umbrella should. www.UnbreakableUmbrella.com

This ain’t your Mary Poppins’ style of umbrella. I have to get one of these 😉

Houston’s Dr. Michael DeBakey Dies at 99

In Health, Houston, news on July 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

Dr. Michael DeBakey has been considered by many one of the parents of cardiovascular surgery thanks to his discoveries and inventions in the domain. The famous surgeon died Friday night of natural causes in the hospital where he worked most of his life, the Methodist Hospital in Houston. He was 99.

Watch the video about Dr. DeBakey’s life here from Houston’s ABC Channel 13.

His many innovations (including medical instruments), procedures, and causes made him truly an angel.

Remains of 2 Missing Soldiers Recovered

In Military, news, War in Iraq on July 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez (left) and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty (right).

 

Last May, I posted on a story about 3 missing U.S. soldiers. At the time, only the body of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. had been found while his 2 commrades remained missing. All 3 had been kidnapped in Iraq.

Now, over a year later, the bodies of Specialist Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich. are back on U.S. soil.

From CNN:

The military has not yet issued a public confirmation, but Ramon “Andy” Jimenez said in a broadcast interview that officers visited his Lawrence, Massachusetts, home to tell him the body of his son, Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, was found.

The officers told Ramon “Andy” Jimenez that information from an informant led investigators to the remains of his son and those of Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Michigan, on Wednesday, Jimenez family friend Sandy Almonte said.

The senior Jimenez, a native of the Dominican Republic, said the military told him the soldiers’ remains were identified in the U.S. by their dental records.

The father said his son died for a cause he cared about.

“He decided since he was young to join the Army,” he said. “I’m very proud of my son.”

The military did not give the family any other details, such as where the bodies were found, Almonte said.

Gordon Dibler spoke of waiting for news of his stepson Army Pvt. Fouty after military officials came to his home, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

“Every day that he’s been missing has been a day of `what could have been’ … but after hearing the news … I’m still in shock,” Dibler said.

Major Dan Elliott with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division confirmed to CNN that human remains were found in the division’s area of operation in Iraq. He said the remains were sent to the United States for positive identification.

The body of a third soldier who was kidnapped in the May 12 ambush — Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance, California — was pulled from the Euphrates River in Babil province 11 days after the attack near Mahmoudiya, which is south of Baghdad.

Four American troops and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in the ambush, which happened in a section of Iraq that was known as the Triangle of Death.

Black ribbons of mourning replaced the yellow ribbons around the Jimenez home Thursday afternoon.

A POW/MIA flag that had been hanging from the home for more than a year was also immediately replaced by a U.S. flag.

Wendy Luzon, another Jimenez family friend who was with the father when the military officers read the official notification to the family, said “It brings closure to the whole deal.”

Pictured above is Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr.

This has become an all too sad and familiar scenario for military families around the world.

Be sure to visit the Iraq Page Website which is dedicated to the servicemen and women who have lost their lives during the Iraq War.