Arlen Specter switches parties and gives Dems 60-vote majority.

Laughing all the way to the majority.

Laughing all the way to the majority.

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, facing a tough Republican primary is switching to the Democratic Party.

When Al Franken is seated, he and Specter will give the Dems a 60-vote, filibuster proof majority.

Specter released the following statement:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/28/arlen-specter-switching-p_n_192298.html

This is a deathblow to the Republicans.  With Specter crossing over to the other side the threat of the  filibuster is gone once Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken is seated.  So much for any hope that Norm Coleman gives up his legal appeals.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, there has GOT to be a pissed-off Democrat that was anticipating running against Pat Toomey in the general election in 2010.

This is Specter both recognizing that whle he’s a Republican in name, his party has moved further to the right and largely abandoned the center. He would have lost to Toomey in the primary and paved the way for a Democrat probably selected by Governor Rendell to take the seat away from the Republicans.

Senator Specter was targeted for attack by angry right-wingers.

Senator Specter was targeted for attack by angry right-wingers.

This Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer going to Specter and telling him what he already knew: if you want to stay a Senator switch parties and we’ll smooth the path for you with any Democrat that wants to challenge you. I bet someone still will running to Specter’s left, but if the party establishment lines up behind him, that should be enough.

What was hilarious was the spitting, sputtering anger and ranting that came from the likes of Michael Steele, Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh.

McConnell: “I think the threat to the country presented by this defection really relates to the issue of whether or not in the United States of America our people want the majority to have whatever it wants without restraint, without a check or a balance.”

Steele: “Let’s be honest — Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”

“If Sen. Specter survives in the fall — get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we’re coming after you and taking you out.”

Limbaugh: “A lot of people said, well Specter, take McCain with you, and his daughter. Take McCain and his daughter with you.”

Will the last moderate leaving the Republican Party please turn out the lights?

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“Outrage.” Dragging the conservatives out of the Congressional closet.

Men's Room Larry Craig's mug shot.  Don't ask. He won't tell.

Men's Room Larry Craig's mug shot. Don't ask. He won't tell.

There was a rap song entitled, “Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury” and there’s few worse examples of gross hypocrisy that the number of closeted conservative politicians who privately enjoy the gay lifestyle, but publicly vote against any legislation that is remotely gay-friendly.

Filmmaker Kirby Dick debuted his film Outrage this week  at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival which name checks several current and former political figures whom have actively worked against gay rights.  Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angles Times writes,   “I know what you’re thinking. If you’ve seen the film, spill it already. So who does he out? Dick’s targets include Florida’s current  governor, Charlie Crist, who was viewed for a time as a front-runner to be John McCain’s vice-presidential pick; David Dreier (R-San Dimas), who was once a leading candidate for the House majority leader post when the Republicans still controlled Congress; Ken Mehlman, George Bush’s campaign manager during the 2004 election and former Republican National Committee chairman; former New York City mayor Ed Koch; the now-retired Idaho Sen. Larry Craig; Jim McCrery (R-La.), a ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee who retired last year; Ed Schrock (R-Va.), who retired in 2004; and — gasp — the prominent Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. “

The unfortunately named Dick doesn’t name any down low lesbians (Senator Barbara Mikulski?) at all and only goes hunting for closeted conservative gay men whom he considers traitors for working against other gays. 

Outing someone who hasn’t come out voluntarily is a morally debatable decision.  Nobody should be forced to join another’s crusade, but activists such as Larry Kramer and  Michelangelo Signorile defend the practice.   Both men are interviewed  in Outrage along with former New Jersey governor Jim McGreeveyand  two openly gay members of Congress, Democrats  Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin.  

The movie that send chills down spines in Washington

The movie that send chills down spines in Washington

It’s safe to guess Charlie Crist and the other Republicans named by Dick will dismiss him as a left-wing hitman grinding his axe, but the film also attacks the news media for their own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and how it protects politicians who legislate against a lifestyle they privately participate in.

Strictly speaking, as a practice, outing makes me  uncomfortable.  As a journalist it would be completely unethical to reveal the details of someones private life unless it is somehow relevant to the story.   When someone like Senator Larry Craig gets caught in a compromising position and goes to extraordinary lengths to deny his homosexuality he makes it relevant.   But it’s not the job of reporters to serve as a crusading force against hypocritical politicians indulging in the pleasures privately they rail against publicly.

Still as a firm believer in “speaking truth to power” there’s few things as satisfying in catching a politician in a lie and closeted conservatives who wage war against others who share their sexual orientation are big liars. 

I’m repulsed by self-hating Negroes such as Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, or Ward Connerly who casually throw African-Americans under the bus if it pleases the White conservatives who pay their speaking fees, buy their books and underwrite their political ambitions.    I do get it that Dick thinks closeted conservatives are enemies of gay rights too  and deserve to be pitched under a rolling bus.

Outragegoes into wider distribution after it premiere at Tribeca.   It doesn’t sound like the type of film that is designed to draw in big crowds looking for a little escapist entertainment.    It does sound like the type of movie that could make all the right people extremely uncomfortable. 

You don’t have to be gay to enjoy the thought of right-wing hypocrites squirming like a kid with a weak bladder.

Bill Hicks, the late comedian once mused,  “Speaking of Satan, I was watching Rush Limbaugh the other day. Doesn’t Rush Limbaugh remind you of one of those gay guys who likes to lay in a tub while other men pee on him?” 

Gee, he does like sucking on big brown cigars and while sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes it’s not… 

Hey Kids! Sex, violence and comic books!

What sells in today’s $2.99 and $3.99 comic books?

Not Batman or Spider-Man beating the snot out of a costumed criminal.   That’s sooooo back in the day.

It’s the same thing that always sells.

Sex…

thunderbolts128

 

…and violence…

…and more sex…

I’m too old and read too many comic books to be bothered much by sophomoric sexy art or cruel and sadistically over the top violence.     The comic book genre is no worse than torture porn flicks like Hostel and the Saw series or video games like Grand Theft Auto.

The thing is comics have to depend on cheap titillation because they’re in competition with and losing ground to video games.   I’m really bothered more by the bad art, lazy writing, general contempt for the fans by the publishers,  and high prices of today’s comic books  than the occasionally objectionable content. 

Things ain’t what they used to be, but were they ever?

Built for the Future?: Thinking a few thoughts before NFL draft day.

The way they were is the way they will be.

The way they were is the way they will be.

Sometimes I blog about things that are important to a lot of people and sometimes I blog about things that are only important to me.

This entry falls in the latter category.

It’s not easy being the fan of a West Coast sports franchise in the land-locked Midwest.  This is my cross to bear as a San Francisco 49ers fan.

In the 90’s the 49ers were the gold standard for NFL teams.  They had superstars on the field (Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice), on the sidelines (Bill Walsh and a string of assistants that became head coaches)  in the office (Carmen Policy) and a owner who would do what it takes to make the team successful (Eddie DeBartolo).

The Niners won five Super Bowls with the last coming in 1994 as Young finally got to get out from under Montana’s long shadow.

But that was 15 years ago.

My Niners have fallen upon lean times since then.   They haven’t had a winning season since 2002 and finished 7-9 in 2008.  The only hopeful sign came in the firing of the hopelessly over his head Mike Nolan and the promotion of Mike Singletary as the interim coach.  Singletary did well enough to have the “interim” removed from the head coach title.   This Saturday, Singletary will preside over his first NFL draft.

Mock drafts have the Niners taking a offensive tackle or pass-rushing lineman.  Earlier drafts speculated the team might go after USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, but I found that unlikely.   Sanchez only started one season for the Trojans.  He’s not ready to come in to a team as talent-deprived as the Niners are and start winning immediately.   When the team threw former Number One pick Alex Smith in before he was ready he was putrid and never established himself as a NFL starting quarterback.

The way they are.

The way they are.

While it’s true that any team starting Shaun Hill as it’s qb isn’t seriously challenging for a championship, the 49ers aren’t a Super Bowl contender.   First they need to win more games than they lose.   Only then can they start thinking about returning to the playoffs.

The cupboard isn’t entirely empty for Singletary.  He has Patrick Willis as his starting middle linebacker and the kid is a tackling machine.   Like Singletary, Willis hits everything that moves and is the type of stud you can build around.   There are some other players on the defensive side of  the ball brimming with potential and Singletary is the type of coach who can bring that potential to fruition.

With the exception of running back Frank Gore,  there isn’t as much good news on offense.  It won’t excite the fan base if the Niners take a offensive tackle in the first round, but in football you have to build the offensive and defensive lines before you go after the sexy picks (wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs).

I try to be optimistic but always realistic.  This is not a team that is going to make a sudden turnaround the way the Falcons and Dolphins did last season.   The problem the Niners have had for years is a front office brain trust that has too often made brain dead decisions.   There are no quick fixes in the NFL, but no situation is so dire it can’t be rectified.

Well, maybe the Detroit Lions.  They’re pretty hopeless.

But just like the Lions, there have been more dumb moves made than smart moves.    There have been too many free agents who made little to no impact.  There have been too many rookies such as Vernon Davis,  Alex Smith or Manny Lawson that haven’t panned out or busted out.   There have been too many coaches who were bad fits such as Dennis Erickson or were overrated ( Nolan, Steve Mariucci).

Waiting (and waiting) for Number Six.

Waiting (and waiting) for Number Six.

The draft is held during the spring for a reason.  It signals the infusion of fresh young talent and hopefully generates new hope for downtrodden teams such as the 49ers.

It’s not going to take a miracle to return the 49ers to the gold standard franchise they once were, but they do have to be smart and not shy away from making bold moves.

There’s always next season, right?

Memories of Marilyn Chambers

Good girl gone very bad.

Good girl gone very bad.

Jump into the way-back machine.  The year is 1976.

I was sitting in the apartment of the woman who would one day become my wife chatting with and her girlfriend and the conversation came around to X-rated movies and had they seen any.

“Sure,” Sherry replied.  “I’ve seen Emmanuelle.”  Sherry was both shorter than Vanessa and supposedly more world-wise.   For a grizzled, old porn movie pro like me though she might as well have said a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I sneered, “Emmanuelle?  That’s softcore shit.  C’mon.  I’m going to take you to a real skin flick.”

Off of the campus of Ohio State University there was a second-run movie house that had given up midnight showings of Eraserhead in favor of XXX-rated movies.  Usually you didn’t find a lot of couples in these joints, but that was beginning to change with the advent of “classsier” porn like Deep Throat and The Devil In Miss Jones.  These movies made the attempt to throw the bare bones of a plot and some production into the hardcore screwing.

To watch those movies now is to underwhelmed all over again by the non-acting of Linda Lovelace  and the over-the-top babbling of Miss Jones’ Georgina Spelvin.   This may have been the Golden Age of Porn, but it wasn’t because the movies were very good.  These flicks put the “X” is “sex” but they starred some really unattractive people.

Chambers brought clean, fresh looks to a dirty business.

Chambers brought clean, fresh looks to a dirty business.

Linda Lovelace was nothing special and she not only looked used up and beat up, she was beat up by her boyfriend/manager/pimp Chuck Traynor.   Look at Deep Throat and you can see some obvious bruises from ass-kickings by Traynor.  Georgina Spelvin was just plain as  hell with an ugly body.   Spelvin had more acting chops than Lovelace who could barely deliver a line, but her near hysterical moans and yelps during the sex scenes makes watching  The Devil In Miss Jones tough going without muting the sound.

That’s why Marilyn Chambers was different.  She was not only a very attractive woman, she had a presence on the screen that made her one of the few porn stars to get a shot at a mainstream movie, Canadian director David Cronenberg’s 1977  horror flick, Rabid.

But we weren’t going to The World thinking about Chambers’ post-porn future.  We were going for a double feature of  The Resurrection of Eve and Behind the Green Door.

My experience with women is under the right circumstances they are just as up for trying something new as any guy and sometimes even more than any guy.    And porn flicks definitely qualify.

I didn’t watch the movies.  I watched Vanessa and Sherry.  They were way more interesting (besides I had already seen the movies).

There’s nothing like watching girls who think they’ve seen sex in a movie see some real raw and up in your mug hardcore sex and while I don’t remember Resurrection of Eve very well, I do remember Behind the Green Door and it was totally off the chain.   I won’t bore you with a synopsis but think of a sex club and a camera and almost no dialogue and that’s about all there is to it.

You don’t need much more.   I do recall Vanessa and Sherry leaning forward and gripping the seats in front of them during the scene where Chambers gets nailed by Johnny Keyes in what was one of the first interracial sex scenes filmed.   It’s a really off-the-wall flick that goes places today’s porn lacks the imagination to go.

When Chambers died at the age of 56, I didn’t experience a wave of nostalgia for our misspent youth.   Vanessa and I have seen more than our share of skin flicks, but that’s just another memory of a time past.  The thrill is gone.  We aren’t what we used to be and sex flicks aren’t either.

You can get out of porn, but youre in it forever.

You can get out of porn, but you're in it forever.

Chambers never was able to leave her porn star past behind her and break into mainstream Hollywood movies.  She stopped making X-rated flicks and appeared in B-movie softcore crap that occasionally pops up on Cinemax in the wee hours.

In 2004,  Chambers gave an interview to The Montreal Gazette and said,  “I would have loved to move on.  I’ve been stigmatized, and it’s something that’s very difficult to get out of.”

Really though, what did Chambers expect?  Get naked in front of a camera and be filmed having sex with multiple variations of men and women, Black and White, hardcore and explicit and that’s going to go away?  For better or worse, she was always going to be the Girl from the Ivory Soap box that made skin flicks.

It’s not a glamorous way to make history, but Marilyn Chambers gave a lot of folks a good time.  Most of the time in the nude and doing things in front of a camera a lot of people wouldn’t dare to do behind closed doors.

I feel a little bad for her that she never could quite get out of the biz.  At the time of her death she had signed on to star  off-Broadway in , “Deep Throat–the Play”  (if you can believe it).

She had also finished a movie with Ron Jeremy (ugh!) called, “Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie.”   Fortunately the aging porn stars had no sex scenes together as they were providing the voice overs for the dogs being used in the the live-action film.

Porn never forgets.

American Idiots

Somebody slap this fool--HARD!

Idiocy is colorblind. We have overcome.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

“` Green Day/”American Idiot”

 

April 15  is typically the last day you can file your taxes without incurring the wrath of the IRS.

Thanks to the GOP, Faux News, right-wing radio and assholes like Michelle Malkin, April 15 became the launching of the Tax Day Tea Party protests.

Or as it should  have been called “Angry White People Who Don’t Like Obama Day.”  

Faux Noise Network  dropped its pretense of being “fair and balanced” as it went from reporting the news to promoting and cheerleading the events,  

One of the Fauxtards, Megan Kelly interviewed right-wing blowhard L. Brent (Bozo) Bozell as he complained about the lack of coverage by genuine mainstream media outlets and Kelly stupidly admitted her network’s overt bias.

“You know Brent, it’s been interesting because Fox News covered these Tea Parties, and we were one of the only organizations to give it any publicity or p.r. prior to the fact that it happened, and it was so under-covered by virtually every news organization.”    Megyn Kelly

“Publicity or p.r. (public relations)?”   Perhaps  Miss Kelly and the rest of her fellow Faux cheerleaders should read up on the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics.

— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

Faux News: We distort. You can’t decide.    

Megyn Kelly: a proud American idiot.

Megyn Kelly: a proud American idiot.

We can now sit back with a nice cold glass of…beer, and reflect upon what the protests actually accomplished.

In the short term? Not a damn thing. A lot of people got to walk in the sun and get a early start working on their tans because from the tv footage I saw, it was Whiter than a Osmond family reunion.

I guess if was a good day to be a Angry White Man. Most of the protestors were out to wave signs and hear speeches about how politicians don’t listen and spending is out of control and government is growing too large.

Of course, all that was true this same time last year, but  there was a Republican in the White House, so nobody said squat.

I don’t begrudge our conservative colleagues their mass therapy session. They needed something to show they weren’t totally disenfranchiesed by the rout of the Republicans in 2006 and 2008.

Let the born-again budget hawks, conspiracy theorists, Obama-bashers and other fringe groups that glommed onto the demonstrations have their day in the sun. We will wait and see if the protest leads to anything meaningful and enduring or not.

Americans exercising their God-given right to be total idiots.

Americans exercising their God-given right to be total idiots.

Saving Captain Phillips, Testing President Obama.

The final score of the first serious test of President Obama as Commander-in-Chief is Obama: 3,  Pirates: 0

The four day  drama of Captain Richard Phillips’s capture by four Somali pirates ended Sunday when Navy Seals and snipers shot and killed three of the pirates.   Phillips was freed unharmed and the fourth pirate was arrested.   President Obama gave the Navy authorization to use lethal force if Phillips’s life were at risk.

The longer the United States and other governments ignored the problem and allowed the shipping companies to pay the pirates the tribute they demanded, they emboldened them. When will we learn that appeasement doesn’t work, won’t work and never works?

Captain Phillips, freed at last.

Captain Phillips, freed at last.

Do I blame the Somali pirates? For being thugs, I do, but since nobody took them seriously before, why all the flexing and saber-rattling now? Oh, that’s right. NOW they finally have our attention.

It’s a shame Somalia has no functioning government.  Warlords and gangs run the country, but poverty is not an excuse for holding people at gunpoint. 

In a purely cost/benefit analysis, it’s been cheaper to pay the pirates than it is to fight them.  The problem is as anyone could see is paying millions of dollars to the pirates only encourages them to seize more ships and demand ever greater ransoms.

“All the world’s naval forces do not have enough available ships to protect the 20,000 vessels that pass through the Gulf of Aden annually and the wider 2.5 million square miles of ocean where Somali pirate attacks occurred in recent years,” said U.S. Horn of Africa scholar David Shinn in a recent paper.

No one questions the might of the U.S. Navy, but in a situation such as this, it’s like bringing an tank to a knife fight. Sure, we can flex our pecs and show a bunch of raggedy-ass pirates how much death we can rain down on them, but this is a hostage negotiation, not a military situation, hence the presence of the FBI in this situation.

It’s a frustrating situation and to be sure two issues must be addressed in the wake of this particular incident. The U.S. and other nations have to stop messing around and get serious about piracy before more innocent people are killed. The pirates are getting bolder and more brazen and before too long there will be a major loss of life.  That is when some nation is going to get tired of this b.s. and turn the pirate enclaves into a greasy, smoking hole.

Next, the United Nations and the  African Union must step up and try and restore some semblance of governance to Somalia. Failed nation-states are breeding grounds for this type of criminality and anarchy. We may want to forget about Somalia, but they aren’t as willing to be ignored.

This may not have been the international incident the Obama Administration thought they would be tested by, but it was big enough, simple enough and important enough to have major ramifications had Captain Phillips been killed.

Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told The Associated Press from one of Somalia’s piracy hubs, Eyl, that, “our friends should have done more to kill the captain before they were killed. This will be a good lesson for us.”

“From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages),” he said.

Not exactly a pirate of the Caribbean.

Not exactly a pirate of the Caribbean.

And then Mr. Habeb, commit your maggot-filled soul to the devil in hell if he’ll have your mangy ass.

The “good lesson” here for these thieving idiots is how long did they think they were going to be able to screw around with the nations of the world until they got screwed back?

If they really think they are swinging a big enough stick to beat down the terrible fury and pain the United States and other nations can unleash, they’ve been chewing too much khat.

You can only negotiate with thieves for so long and then you have to respond with something they understand: massive and punishing force.

Or as Jimmy Malone from The Untouchables  might say, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”

There are a few beneficiaries from this sorry situation.  The first naturally enough is Captain Phillips.  He escaped a terrifying situation without a scratch.  When he gets back home besides a grateful family waiting for him will be the now obligatory book and movie offers, a seat next to Letterman and Leno and a whole lot of damn silly questions.

The second is President Obama whom faced his first big test of how he would employ the nation’s military might and he showed the right stuff. 

 He avoided making any public statements and allowed the military and FBI take the lead.   They deserve the credit for successfully executing the rescue, but had something gone wrong, it would have been  Obama whom would have taken all the blame. 

There will be other crises and other opportunities for the enemies and critics of the president to test his will.   But this was Obama’s first test and by any measure it is one he passed with flying colors. 

Every president has to prove themselves sooner or later.

Every president has to prove themselves sooner or later.

Yo, it’s Bo, the First Puppy.

Our long national nightmare is over! Malia and Sasha finally got their puppy.

Apparently, the Kennedys gave the Obamas a Portugese water dog. The girls have named it “Bo.”

The little guy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to the Obama girls as a gift by that Portuguese water dog-lovin’ senator himself, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The girls named it Bo — and let it be noted that you learned that here first. Malia and Sasha chose the name, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because first lady Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley, a source said. (Get it? Bo . . . Diddley?)

Bo’s a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he’s got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30173033//

How much do you wanna bet “Portuguese water dog” will be one of the top searches on Google and Yahoo in a matter of hours?

No word yet if Bo has any unresolved tax issues.