Rush Limbaugh Has A Heart? GET OUT!

The Rush Limbaugh Diet Plan: Illegal in 50 states, but what results!

It’s the last day of the first decade of the new century and America’s favorite hate-monger will greet the new year “resting comfortably” in a hospital bed in Hawaii after suffering chest pains.

I’m trying to squirt a tear or two for Rush Limbaugh, but I seem to coming up dry.  Well, at least I’m not laughing at him the way he did when he mocked actor Michael J. Fox and suggested Fox was “exaggerating” his Parkinson’s Disease symptoms in a campaign ad for a Democratic candidate in 2006.

“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,” Limbaugh told listeners. “He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

Some left-wing, pinko, commie, America hatin’, Obama votin’ traitor might wonder if Boss Limbaugh’s is suffering some side effects due to his well-known addiction to OxyContin?   Well, I guess it’s possible

If I’m being a bastard for my lack of sympathy, Rush was a bigger bastard first.   All the nasty shit you put out in the world has a habit of coming back around and landing smack dab on your feet.   When Limbaugh decided going after a man fighting a chronic, incurable disease would be fun, he went over a line of civility, decency and humanity he should have known better to cross.

I can’t stand the SOB, but I actually hope he gets better. Who knew the bastard had a heart?

One thing I do wonder about. Was Limbaugh in Hawaii at the same time while the president was vacationing there?   Glenn Beck will be demanding to know whether Obama was seen pulling a “Mission Impossible” and climbing the side of the Kahala Hotel and Resort while wearing a black leotard with a syringe clenched between his teeth.

After all the evil shit Rush Limbaugh has said and done over the years, the fact he will spend the last day of the new millennium laid up in a hospital bed should be an opportunity for him to ponder whether someone’s trying to tell him something. Like change your evil ways and stop being such a dick.

From the last time I posted about Limbaugh I know by heart what the flummoxed response by his suck-up supporters will say.  Something along the lines of, “Why do you HATE Rush so much?  He’s just an ENTERTAINER!!

I have to laugh at this “Rush is an entertainer” crap. Anyone who finds Limbaugh’s pomposity, arrogance, privilege, racism, misogyny, homophobia and abject cowardice “entertainment” is someone I am happy not to count as a friend.   As far as the “hate”  goes,  Rush is a much better and far more vicious hater than I ever could be.

Rush has sent so much negativity out into the world. The fact that he’s lying in a bed somewhere with tubes running in and out of his orifices seems nothing less than poetic justice. I said from the jump I can’t stand the SOB and the fact he’s flat on his back won’t make me suddenly start liking him.

If someone wants to tell me despising Rush Limbaugh and everything he stands for means he has some influence over my life, that’s cool. My retort would be he has a lot of control over yours.

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My Stephen King Problem.

Still the champ, but no longer the king?

I used to read a lot of books and now I barely read any books.   It’s not that I have less time to read.   It’s more that there are less books out there I want to read.   For this, I blame Stephen King.

Call him a prolific hack.  Call him the master of modern horror.  Call him the Microsoft of the literary world, but even if you don’t read his books,  you have to go out of your way to not to stumble across a film or television mini-series written by King or a host of wannabees all inspired by him (or just bitin’ off his style).

King is a goofy looking geek  who became The Man.    I would feast  upon a new King book the way a zombie devours some nice juicy brains.   Whenever Big Steve came around with his latest effort in horror, depravity and gore, I was there to get my stuff, scurry on back to my lair, and flop into a chair for several hours for a really good scare.  A really creepy book like Salem’s Lot wasn’t something I wanted as the last thing on my mind before going to sleep.

Lately though, King’s books have become a chore to get through instead of something to look forward to. I’m not sure exactly which book it was that did it, but at a certain point all the weak points of his writing style overwhelmed the virtues.  But that’s King.  He’s a successful writer who knows he’s not a great writer.   King admits it himself when he said,  “I don’t take notes.  I don’t outline.  I don’t do anything like that.  I just flail away at the goddamn thing.  I’m a salami writer.  I try to write good salami, but salami is salami.  You can’t sell it as caviar.”

King is a man uniquely familiar with his weaknesses and limits as a writer.  Never was that better demonstrated than in Dreamcatcher, a truly wretched novel King crapped out after his near-fatal auto accident in 1999.   King had to be high when he came up with this bizarre story of four friends fighting an alien invasion by “ass weasels.”     Yep, these booty snatchers take over their human hosts by going in through the out door while they’re on the crapper.  Priceless.

How can you not like someone who is richer than God and knows what  made him that way is writing books that are the literary equivalent of Big Macs?   King’s utter lack of pretension and awareness that he’s slinging cheeseburgers instead of art for the ages is part of his charm.   King wants so badly to be seen as just an ordinary guy who caught a break that he practically humps your leg to get you to like him.  At least when he’s not trying to scare the hell out of you.

King says he’s thinking about a sequel to 1977’s The Shining focusing on a 40-year-old Danny Torrance and what his life has been like since that very bad winter in the Overlook hotel.   King isn’t entirely certian that’s a story he really wants to tell saying, “Maybe if I keep talking about it I won’t have to write it.”

Keep talking Steve because if  while you’re not sure you want to write it, I’m already sure I don’t want to read it.

When you’re as prolific and popular as King is you’re going to crap out a book or two or three and a bad Stephen King book is a truly painful thing to get through.   The last book of his I completely finished was Cell, which started off scary enough with people driven into homicidal maniacs by a mysterious signal sent through their cell phones and ended up with King ripping off his own  far superior novel about a post-apocalypse journey across America, The Stand and ended with flying zombies and an ending so bad I literally found myself checking the pages to make sure one wasn’t missing.   My next trip to Half Price Books, Cell is going with me as a trade-in toward something else that doesn’t suck as hard.

My Stephen King library is made up of three categories: The ones I’ve read and love (Salem’s Lot, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Night Shift, The Shining)    The ones I’ve read and kept though I didn’t like them much (Rose Madder, It, The Tommyknockers, Christine) and the ones I bought and haven’t read (Hearts of Atlantis, Needful Things, Desperation, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon).    Then there’s books such as Insomnia, Duma Key, and Dreamcatcher, where their flop stench and bad reviews precede them and I don’t want to confirm how hard they blow.

King’s got a new novel, Under the Dome, that’s getting some good reviews, but it’s long and my experience is when King goes long it gets bad.  Here’s a list of his biggest behemoths:

The Stand: 1,153 pages
It: 1,138 pages
Under the Dome: 1,072 pages
Insomnia: 787 pages
Desperation: 690 pages
Needful Things: 690 pages
Dreamcatcher: 620 pages
Duma Key: 607 pages
The Tommyknockers: 558 pages
Bag of Bones: 529 pages

I’ve only read completely three out of the ten books so I’m not encouraged by Under the Dome coming in as the third longest book King has written.   The cost ($35) slows me down, but it’s the sheer size of the bastard that puts me on “pause.”   Any novel that long has got to grab me by the short and curlies and hold my attention from the jump otherwise that’s going to be a pretty expensive doorstop.

The last time I got jazzed for a King novel, he burnt me like toast with Cell.  Dare I give him the chance to break my heart (and bust my wallet) once again?

Hell, can I even attempt to read 1,072 pages without slipping into a coma?

Perhaps I can survive the experience if I follow the advice of another writer whose advice in how to approach Under the Dome was, “read fast and skip every other word.”

Merry Christmas Y’all.

"No, really. Mr. President...we ARE on the guest list."

Merry freaking Christmas from The Domino Theory.

What, you expected something deep, meaningful, insightful and profound?  Fuhgeddaboutit.  It’s Christmas.  Can’t a brutha have a day off?

Go unwrap a present or watch some bad NBA basketball.   Today’s the day Santa chills and so do I.

PEACE!

Serena Wins By A Nose.

She's a winner even if you can't put a saddle on her.

Hey, did you hear Serena Williams was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year?    Way to go, Serena.  After that nasty meltdown at the U.S. Open  and the $82,500 fine you were slammed with, you probably could have used some good news.

Too bad you had to beat out two horses to win.

That’s right.  Horses.   The AP thought it was appropriate to throw a couple of horses on the list of female athletes.   If there was any irony intended you’ll be hard pressed to find it.

Here’s the AP list and the votes each nominee received:


Serena Williams 66
Zenyatta 18
Kim Clijsters 16
Lindsey Vonn 15
Diana Taurasi 14
Maya Moore 13
Rachel Alexandra 10
Bridget Sloan 3
Jiyai Shin 2
Erin Hamlin 1

That is un-freaking-believable.  I don’t know who Bridget Sloan, Jiyal Shin and Erin Hamlin are but they have to be PISSED they lost out to a freaking horse!

Women + horses=nags.   Racism?  Yeah, maybe a little bit.   Sexism?   In spades.    In the comments section of the Globe and Mail one smart-ass quipped, “I would have chosen the horse over the cow.”

"I beat out a horse. A freaking horse. Are you kidding me?"

Haw-haw.  Ain’t demeaning women fun?    When NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson was named Athlete of the Year by the AP, there was no mention where his car placed.

I’m just wondering what idiot could be so clueless to put a horse on a list of the best female athletes of the year.   That takes a special sort of stupidity and a cold callousness I hope I never become familiar with.   Williams deserves the award, but it’s too bad the AP couldn’t have exhibited a bit of class and respect in the process.

Dear Howard Dean: You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

"You can have something imperfect or you can have perfectly nothing."

Well, if nothing else comes out of the healthcare reform debate, Howard Dean is relevant again.  Too bad it’s for the wrong reasons.  In his desire to “kill the bill” because it doesn’t have a public option, Dean has become the opposition’s favorite Democrat.  Or at least a useful idiot.

The former governor, presidential candidate and chairman of the Democratic National Committee found himself in the uncomfortable position of  winning the praise of Republicans such as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx) who said, “My colleagues and I picked up an unlikely ally in our quest to stop the Reid health care bill. Gov. Howard Dean pleaded for his fellow Democrats to “kill this bill” in a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday morning, saying that it “will do more harm than good to the future of America.”   Rush Limbaugh chortled,   “Well, imagine that, folks, Howard Dean is actually making our case for just blowing up the health care bill.”   Sen. John McCain chimed in,  “If you live long enough, all things can happen. I now find myself in complete agreement with Dr. Howard Dean, who says that we should stop this bill in its tracks…”

It can’t be a good feeling for Dean to know he’s being back-slapped by Boss Limbaugh and McCain, two guys opposed to any kind of healthcare reform.

I’m not any more thrilled about making insurance companies richer than you or the majority of Senate Democrats are, but Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann are both out of their tiny fucking minds if they think Congress can scrap this bill, come back to it next year and a better bill will come out of it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Republicans will become emboldened by a Democratic retreat, fence-sitting senators and representatives facing tough reelection battles will become even more antsy and odds are all you’ll get if you get anything at all is an even more watered down bill.

My bitch with Dean, Olbermann and the “all or nothing at all” camp is they have convinced themselves that half a loaf is worse than no bread at all. That’s not only shortsighted, it ignores the fact that millions of Americans will benefit even from a pared down bill.

The president rightly or wrongly left it up to Congress to craft a bill based upon a vague blueprint the White House provided. When 538 cooks go into the kitchen you’re not going to come up with a pitcher of Kool-Aid everyone agrees upon let alone the biggest overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system since 1965.

Not to mention, just because these folks have a “D” after their name it doesn’t mean they don’t actively dislike some of the guys supposedly on their own side and have some substantial policy and philosophical differences with them. There is a big difference between what a liberal Democratic congressman from a safe district in California wants from a healthcare bill than a moderate Democratic congressman who barely won his seat in a red state like Alabama.

If Howard Dean wants to step up and make a real contribution and he thinks he can do a better job than Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, the incumbent U.S. Senators from Vermont, he can run against them when they’re up for reelection. Either that or move to Maine and try to knock off Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. Barring that he should sit down with a nice big cup of shut the fuck up.

Unfortunately, there is no Senator Dean or Senator Olbermann in the Democratic caucus to cast a “no,” vote. There is a Senator Nelson and Senator Lieberman who do have a vote and winning their support is more important than pleasing Dean and Olbermann.

Something John Kerry understands as he pushes back against Dean’s naive “kill the bill” rhetoric.

I can promise you, if we follow that kind of advice and give up now, just because the bill is not all we want it to be, we surrender the very reforms that people have spent their lives working for, reforms that the Democratic Party has been proposing for decades, reforms that many of us in the Senate today ran on and promised we would work together to achieve.

What we are trying to do here is not easy. It wasn’t easy for Franklin Roosevelt when he tried, it wasn’t easy for Harry Truman when he tried, it wasn’t easy for Bill Clinton when he tried. But you don’t sound the retreat, especially when you are so close to achieving many of your objectives.

Some of our liberal friends have suggested we should kill the health care reform bill because it doesn’t have a public option.
This week, for example, Howard Dean wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that real health care reform needed a public option that would ‘…give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage.’ I was surprised to read that because back in 1993, then-Governor Howard Dean called Medicare ‘…one of the worst federal programs ever and a living advertisement for why the federal government should never administer a national health care program.’

Well, I am a strong supporter of the public option and I’ve fought to see it included. But if it cannot be included, I’m not willing to walk away.

What is clueless is how insistent the Left wing of the Democratic Party is that any bill without the public option is worthless and should be scrapped because it doesn’t pass their purity test. That’s utter nonsense and demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding of how the political process works.

The Left Wing Strikes Back

If Dean, Olbermann, Arianna Huffington and The Nation feel the Senate bill is a sell-out, they’re welcome to their opinion, but it is equally countered by Kerry, Presidents Obama and Clinton, Salon.com and other more pragmatic-minded liberals and progressives who understand perfection should be sought, but the perfect is the enemy of the good.

From the Wonk Room there is an analysis of the reasons why not to kill the bill, but use it as the foundation upon which to create the reform the dissenters on the Left are demanding.
Fixing something that’s broken is better than not having anything to fix. Buying a fixer-up home is more appealing than remaining homeless for the next 10 to 20 years. In time, you’ll be able afford to change the tile in the bathroom or fix the leaky roof patch, but for the time being you’ll have a place to sleep, eat, and keep warm. A newer house would have caused less problems, but it — like the Senate health care bill — was simply out of reach.

The top 10 list isn’t reason to kill the bill, it’s reason to improve it in the years to come. After all, the choice isn’t between passing this bill or a better bill — it’s between passing this bill or nothing at all. Seen in this context, the Senate health care bill provides an adequate foundation for transforming the system in the years to come.


With the Republicans having abdicated any responsible role in the debate what we are witnessing now is an internecine battle between two very different groups of Democrats:  the ones that want things done and the ones that have to get things done.   To bring about change you need the activists and agitators that force us to see what they already know is wrong.   That is only half the process.  It still takes someone to sit down and do the dirty, tedious and unappreciated work of crafting the policy, crunching the numbers and cutting the deals to get something done.

Going back to the drawing board isn’t going to work when all the Republicans are doing is hiding the board and breaking all the chalk. One of the reasons they’re fighting this bill so hard isn’t simply because they think it won’t work. They’re deathly afraid it will.

Dean, Olbermann, Huffington and all the other Lefties trying to kill this bill should wise up.  They’re not going to get a better bill.   It’s better to take what’s flawed and try to make it better and get some more progressive Democratic senators elected than it is to pout, piss and moan and undermine the President and deny millions of Americans relief.   It’s Christmas, Dr. Dean.   Don’t you know by now you can’t always get what you want?

Tiger Woods: Great Athlete. Lousy Role Model.

Even before he was outed as a sex-crazed, horndog I was never a fan of Tiger Woods.  It’s not so much that his total lack of political consciousness or his arrogant disdain of the press bugs me  (though it does a little since I mentioned it).  No, why I don’t give a crap about Tiger Woods is because I don’t give a crap about golf.     It’s a boring pasttime engaged in by middle aged White guys dressed in pimp colors. 

That is why it grinds my gears a bit when the Associated Press named Woods the Athlete of the Decade.  Really?  For being able to knock a little ball into a hole in the ground better than anyone else?   It must have been one lousy decade.

It’s not as if I had a rooting interest for the other guys Woods got the nod over (Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer,  Tom Brady and Lance Armstrong) , though it does make one ask, where ‘da women at?     Then again, call me cynical, but I suspect why Tiger won has least to do with his excellence at his “sport” and more about the fact that he has raised its profile and made a lot of people besides himself very wealthy.

Few other athletes have changed their sport quite like Woods. His influence has been so powerful that TV ratings soared whenever he played, even more when he has been in contention. Prize money has quadrupled since he joined the PGA Tour because of his broad appeal.

Kind of cuts to the chase as to why Tiger was named Cash Cow of the Decade.   He not only brings a little Calabasian color to a previously White-dominated game, he puts money in the pockets of  other golfers,  sponsors, advertisers and corporations.   That makes one high value House Negro even if he does like chasin’ White tail too much. 

With his current state of affairs, and I mean that in every sense of the word, Tiger’s “broad appeal” (or is that appeal to broads?) is likely not to be so much when he returns to competition—whenever that might be.     Tiger won’t have to worry about me thinking any less of him.   I never thought much of him before his life blew up messily and publicly. 

"I don't think a presidential pardon will help, Tiger."

When it comes to withering contempt for golf,  I place somewhere between Mark Twain’s dismissal of golf as “a good walk spoiled” and George Carlin’s scorched earth disdain for it.

. Golf is an arrogant, elitist game and it takes up entirely too much room in this country…It is an arrogant game on its very design alone. Just the design of the game speaks of arrogance. Think of how big a golf course is. The ball is that fucking big! What do these pinheaded pricks need with all that land? There are over 17,000 golf courses in America. They average over 150 acres apiece. That’s 3 million plus acres, 4,820 square miles. You could build two Rhode Islands and a Delaware for the homeless, on the land currently being wasted on this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist – there’s another thing: the only blacks you’ll find in country clubs are carrying trays – and a boring game. Boring game for boring people. Have you ever watched golf on television? It’s like watching flies fuck…Now I know there are some people who play golf who don’t consider themselves rich. Fuck ’em! And shame on them for engaging in an arrogant, elitist pastime.

Tiger isn’t anything special to me.  I can’t even bring myself to think of golf as a genuine sport.   However, I know there are plenty of Black people who love to watch him play and cheer him on.   They are simply a bit more willing than I am to ignore Tiger’s lack of social consciousness  and unwillingness to be identified as a Black man than I am.  

Even before his world turned into a treasure trove of tabloid headlines and porn skanks, Tiger fit right in with the arrogant elitism of golf.   If he feels he has no reason to champion anyone else’s cause I respect his right not to do so.   But is it asking too much to expect Tiger to be a champion of bringing more color into the game?

Eddie Payton, the brother of Walter and the golf coach at Jackson State University looks at the Athlete of the Decade and shakes his head in disappointment.  “For the first time in memory, there is not one African-American high school golfer in America that will be an impact player that can change the fortunes of our program,” he says.

Payton believes Woods could do more to help aspiring Black golfers.

Woods is more than just the best golfer.  He’s the only African-American golfer on the tour.  So much for the idea that all those kids saying, “I am Tiger Woods” in the commercial would end up following in his footsteps on the golf course.  Tiger, like his good buddy Charles Barkley, never claimed to be a role model.  Unlike Barkley though, being very good at what he does and being the only Black man doing it makes him a role model whether he wants to be or not.

“It’s a shame that the person who can do the most to bridge the gap says, ‘I made it. Now you make it,'” Payton says. “Instead he could say, ‘Well this is what my daddy taught me. These are the drills.’  

“There are people that can be motivated to be Tiger Woods with a little help and encouragement from him. The people you idolize and emulate can have the greatest influence on what you’re doing.  “I can’t make him do what I feel I would do, but at some point he’ll look and see no other blacks out there.”

I’m sure Tiger has noticed there’s no other blacks out there with him playing professional golf.  He just doesn’t care.

To paraphrase Public Enemy, Tiger was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me. 

There are many whom have admired Tiger Woods in the past whom in the wake of the revelations and allegations of his sexual affairs are now feeling disappointment in him.   They’re only arriving where some of us have already been.

Joe the D.I.N.O.S.A.U.R.

Joe Lieberman

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. My name is Joe Lieberman.

Once when asked why he had not fired FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Lyndon B. Johnson replied, “I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.”

But LBJ never had to deal with Senator Joe Lieberman.  Supposedly, Lieberman is inside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tent of disgruntled Democrats who making up the 60 vote majority that will pass healthcare reform legislation.   It would seem Lieberman is inside the tent pissing on everyone.

How do you solve a problem like Joe?   It was bad enough when he sided with George W. Bush throughout the war in Iraq.  It was worse after he lost a primary challenge to Ned Lamont, a liberal challenger who won the party’s nomination and then turned around to run and win as an independent.  It was insulting when he supported John McCain over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, going so far as to address the Republican National Convention.

None of that was as intolerable as his petulant and petty blockage of national healthcare reform as Lieberman, delighting in the unrestrained joy of being the buzzkill of the Democratic hopes to pass healthcare reform this year, shifts and changes his reasons for opposing the legislation.   It’s obvious that Lieberman is tormenting Reid and President Obama personally and if people die in the process of his game-playing, well, that’s just tough.

As recently as three months ago, Lieberman publicly proclaimed his support for the sort of expansion of Medicare buy-in program that he now says he won’t support.   So why is he singing a different tune now?   Apparently, because the buy-in proposal made liberals happy and making liberals happy isn’t something Joe is about.

…Mr. Lieberman said that he grew apprehensive when a formal proposal began to take shape. He said he worried that the program would lead to financial trouble and contribute to the instability of the existing Medicare program.

And he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system.

“Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare-buy in is better than a public option, it’s the beginning of a road to single-payer,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Jacob Hacker, who’s a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, ‘This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.’”

That was all it took for Lieberman to be against an idea he was originally in favor of.    Of course, being Joe Lieberman he expressed utter shock and awe anyone might accuse him of shifting his position in order to torpedo healthcare reform and trying to stick it to his colleagues.

“I knew some of them were upset about positions I’d taken,” Lieberman said. “But like each of them, I didn’t get elected by telling my voters in Connecticut that I would follow the majority of my caucus even if I thought on some things they were wrong. We each have to do what we think is right.”

"Oops. I did it again."

“I’ve done what I thought was right, but it’s no fun to have your colleagues be angry at you,” Lieberman said. “It’s no fun to have your wife attacked. But, you know, you got to do what you think is right.”

That’s Killer Joe for you.  Three times he says he was only doing what is right.  Not once does he acknowledge how much he receives in campaign contributions from Connecticut-based insurance companies.  He whines that his wife is being “attacked” when questions are raised how much does her former employment for a pharmaceutical company influence his vote now?

Which is why you have Howard Dean suggesting “kill this bill” because real reform has been gutted from it by the double-dealing of Lieberman and his unscrupulous ilk.   I don’t doubt Dean’s sincerity, but I’m wondering where’s his political common sense.
The perfect is the enemy of the good. With all due props to Howard Dean, he’s not a senator, he’s not a governor and he’s not even the head of the DNC anymore. He’s just another guy with an opinion. I respect Dr. Dean, but he’s got about as much juice in the Senate as I do.

Kill the bill and all that’s accomplished is—well–NOTHING.  You won’t get shit out of a Congress running for reelection in 2010.

I’d rather have a flawed bill that can be modified, added to and fixed than scrap it all, start all over in 2010 and hope that the Republicans aren’t more recalcitrant, moderate Democrats aren’t even more timid and cowardly, the insurance company lobbyists don’t dump even more money into killing any sort of reform and Joe Lieberman doesn’t twist the knife any deeper.

Trying to figure out “What Joe wants?” is a easy question to answer. To screw Harry Reid, President Obama and everyone in the Democratic caucus and screw them hard. His “I was for it before I was against it” stance is contemptible and disgusting. Lieberman is willing to let people die to settle political scores. The same guy who bopped Silvio Berlosconi should drop by and say “Hiya” to Lieberman.

Lieberman isn’t the only DINO (Democrat in Name Only) who could gum up the works and kill healthcare reform.  Senators Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), and Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas) either represent conservative states or face tough reelection challenges next fall.   They’re nervous—and scared—of backing any bill that smacks of containing a public option.

But it’s only Lieberman who is threatening to withhold his vote and join Republicans in a filibuster of healthcare reform.
Instead of playing Lieberman’s sick and stupid game, Reid should grow a pair and take the bill to the floor. If Lieberman wants to allow the Republicans to filibuster health care reform, go ahead. I’m weary of all these vague threats to filibuster. Let’s see if Mitch McConnell and the boys have the gonads to actually DO it.

I want to see Lieberman, Charles Grassley, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, and John McCain and all those other Republican senators who enjoy free healthcare coverage to stand up in the well and tell the rest of the nation, “I got mine. Too bad about yours.”

The Republicans seem to think killing healthcare is the path that leads them back to power in 2010. It’s time to test that theory. The tea party types are loud, but they’re still the minority. I wouldn’t mind losing some Blue Dog Dems in the process if it meant the end of the games and the whole country sees who’s for healthcare reform and who’s against it.

Traitor Joe the D.I.N.O.S.A.U.R.

Calling Lieberman’s bluff and forcing the Republicans to filibuster might be the smartest and certainly the balliest play Obama and Reid could make.

I just doubt they will.

To add insult to injury Lieberman says when he runs for reelection in 2012, he won’t rule out running as a Republican.   I hope he does.  I’d appreciate him finally coming out of the closet and admitting he’s a renegade, a traitor and a man of low morals and  no ethics.    It’s quite an accomplishment in a chamber populated with perverts (David Vitter), neanderthals (James Imhofe), chickenhawk cowards (Saxby Chambliss) and batshit crazy mofos (Jim Bunning) to be the most loathsome and swinish United States Senator, but hands down, Lieberman not only earned the title, he revels in it.

Google the phrase, “Bush’s favorite Democrat” and one name pops up.  Traitor Joe.  One disgusting waste of skin.

Personal Best II: The Top Ten

 

 

"We made Jeff's top 10!" "Group hug, everyone!"

 

 

(Sorry for the delay.  Mandatory H1N1 vaccines and the following symptoms don’t give a damn about deadlines.)

10. The Incredibles (2004): It was this or Kill Bill Vol. 1, with the animated superheroes edging  out the blond ninja in a blood-splattered tracksuit (Sorry Uma and Quentin!) .   Pixar only singlehandely reinvented how animated films should be done and this one continues their winning streak.  I wasn’t as charmed by Cars and Ratatouille and I haven’t seen Up!, so maybe I’m wrong about the winning streak, but everything works with The Incredibles.   It’s not solely a kid’s flick as there is more violence and death than one would expect.  But it’s all handled gracefully and works within the content of the story and what a story it is!  There’s still a few hold-outs who haven’t see The Incredibles, but have seen the two awful Fantastic Four flicks which makes no damn sense to me.  This is the movie the Fantastic Four wishes it was.   And remember: NO CAPES!

9. The Prestige (2006) The initial word-of-mouth when it was learned Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale were cast as two rival magicians was this was the closest we would ever get to Wolverine vs. Batman.   That lasted right up until the time you sat down to watch The Prestige, then you realized Christopher Nolan’s tale of two adepts with decidedly different approaches to making magic required your full attention.   After all, magic only works if you believe it and misdirection is a central tenet of the Art.   One of those rare films that not only doesn’t insult your intelligence, it rewards it.

8.  Sicko (2007) : This decade was a very good one for Michael Moore.   Bowling for Columbine won the Academy Award for Best Documentary and Fahrenheit 9/11 should have.  But while Moore always makes me think while he’s entertaining me, Sicko made me both depressed and mad as the shit-disturbing director took on the healthcare in the U.S. and depicted in heartbreaking detail how good people get ground up like greasy hamburger by a broken system that serves to maximize profits, not wellness,   Only a insurance company or a Republican Senator could watch Sicko and not be moved by it.  This is Moore’s best movie and I think it’s underrated and unappreciated.

7. Spider-Man 2 (2004): What, another comic book movie.  When it’s as good as Spider-Man 2 ,  why not?  Sam Raimi, unlike so many other directors of these type of films, doesn’t feel like he has to “improve” on the original source material it.  He not only respects what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created with a nerdy loser who gets super-powers, he admires it and expands  upon it.  S-M2 proves my belief that sequels can be better than originals because the need to spend time establishing how the hero got that way is gone and you can get right to the meat and potatoes–ACTION! Raimi gets almost everything right here and Albert Molina’s Dr. Octopus is both tragic and terrifying (the scene where he slaughters the operating room team reminds you Raimi started out making the Evil Dead movies).  I say, “almost” because Raimi likes the miscast Kirsten Dunst a helluva lot more than I do and he’d take that to extremes in the mess that was Spider-Man 3, but I’ve convinced myself that movie never happened.  Spider-Man 2 is the only superhero film to see when you want the same rush that comes from a good issue of the comic book.

6. The Bourne Trilogy (The Bourne Identity/The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatium) 2002, 2004, 2007: This trilogy of thrillers featuring Robert Ludlum’s amenisac spy, Jason Bourne started a new film franchise and jump-started a second.   Bourne, as played by Matt Damon, is a man of few words and a lot of action as he drives faster, kicks more ass and blows up stuff in ways that increasingly creaky other spy with the same initials hadn’t done in decades.   The kinetic style of the three Bourne films satisfied audiences  that James Bond had left bored by his cliched gimmicks, villians and bed partners.  Bourne rarely stands still long enough to kiss a woman let alone have sex.   Bourne’s success forced the Bond producers to fire Pierce Brosnan, hire the rougher-around-the edges Daniel Craig and pump up the action in Casino Royale.    Bourne’s only flaw is he is such a one-dimensional character he’s more like an action figure  come to life instead of a fully fleshed our hero that can carry a franchise.  There might not be a fourth Bourne and that  might not be all bad.   Better for Bourne to burn out than start squeezing into tuxedos and driving around in invisible cars.

5.  Children of Men (2006): You want a dystopian future?  I got your dystopian future right here.  The future’s so dark there’s no need for sunglasses in Alfonso Curaon’s bleak, depressing and brilliant film about a world sliding into anarchy and oblivion after humans can no longer procreate and the world’s  youngest person has been assassinated.    Clive Owen is the reluctant bodyguard of a woman whom is miraculously eight months pregnant and he tries to get her to a group of scientists before the government or other malevolent forces can seize her.   A tremendously powerful and moving experience, Children of Men is one of the best movies of the past ten years many people have never seen despite the presence of Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiorfor and Michael Caine.   This relentlessly downbeat film was released three days before Christmas Day  in the U.S. and a staggered opening to make it eligible for the  Academy Awards, but was only nominated in two technical categories.  But nevermind, this isn’t a list of the Best Oscar-winning films or The Departed would be on my list and it isn’t.   I firmly believe  Children of Men is one of the few films of the decade that will hold up over the passage of time and now I want to watch it again.

4. Collateral (2004): If you’re surprised to see this film in my Top Five, believe me I’m surprised too.  I blow hot and cold on Michael Mann.  When he’s on (Thief, Heat) he’s up there with Spielberg and Scorcese in delivering the goods.   When he’s off (The Last of the Mohicans, Ali), he’s clueless. Then there’s the Mann movies I admire (The Insider, Miami Vice), but are too problematic for me to fully embrace.  The Insider is  good, but goes on longer than needed to tell the story.  Miami Vice has nothing in common with the television show its based on even though you’re supposed to think it does.  Collateral works because Mann tells a fairly straightforward story of two protagonists; a cab driver with plans he never will act upon (Jaime Foxx) and his passenger, a relentless hit man (played by Tom Cruise going against type) with no plans, just targets to eliminate during one long, dark night in L.A.   I’ve never been to Los Angeles, but Mann and cinematographers Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron use high-definition cameras make the City of Angels positively sparkle in the night scenes.  Cruise is exceptional as Vincent, a prematurely graying assassin whom is utterly remorseless and relentless in his mission.   Foxx earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role that Cuba Gooding Jr., Adam Sandler and Robert DeNiro were considered for and between this and the showier lead role of Ray!, Foxx is better here (though his switch into Rambo mode has a high “Oh, come on!”  factor).   Collateral is a brisk, exciting and fun ride and is Mann’s most complete, compact film.

3.  The Dark Knight (2008): Wikipedia categories this film as a “superhero crime thriller” which is right enough, but doesn’t begin to capture the scope of director Christopher Nolan’s moody masterpiece.    This is a superhero crime thriller that emphasizes characterization over action and a relatively obvious morality play between one very good man (Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent) and one very bad man (Heath Ledger’s Joker).   I give major props to Christian Bale for not melting down when he found out he had top billing, but his role was essentially supporting Ledger and Eckhart.   Ledger’s bravura performance gets all the raves and deservedly so.  Bale and Eckhart are more workmanlike, but hold the film together in the stretches where The Joker isn’t on-screen.   This isn’t superheroes as non-think entertainment.   The Dark Knight proves how damned good a movie with men in rubber suits and capes can be when it plays for keeps.   I’m not certain what the overarching message of  the movie is.  In some ways it’s just as chaotic and bleak as Children of Men as The Joker isn’t a criminal, but an anarchist.   There aren’t enough superlatives for how great The Dark Knight is.  Having grossed over $1 billion worldwide, the vast majority of viewers agree it doesn’t just meet and exceed expectations for the genre,  Nolan has created all-new ones that future films will have to strive to meet.

Requiem For A Dream

2. Requiem For A Dream (2000): I wouldn’t recommend a double feature of this harrowing depiction of drug addiction and Children of Men because it might bring  on terminal depression.   Director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriter/author Hubert Selby Jr., construct a slow ride into hell that drags a mother (Ellen Burtsyn) hooked on diet pills as she tries to fit into her favorite red dress, her son (Jared Leto), his girlfriend (Jennifer Connely) and his friend (Marlon Wayans) whose drug of choice is cocaine and heroin.   Selby Jr., was addicted to heroin himself and is best known for his two books of sordid losers, Requiem For A Dream and Last Exit to Brooklyn, which was also made into a movie.  This is a harrowing journey through the tragic and dismal fates of four people who aren’t bad, just guilty of taking shortcuts and making crappy choices.   All the performances are dead on, but especially Ellen Burtsyn who was nominated for Best Actresss only to lose to Julia Roberts for Erin Brokovich.   Roberts was fine, but she gave a performance.   Burtsyn acts.   There is a big difference between the two and seeing Requiem makes clear what it is.   Aronofsky makes some interesting choices in how he films Selby’s book.  He  employs extensive usage of split-screen,  tight close-ups, time lapse photography, tracking shots and over 2,000 cuts (the average 100-minute film has 600 to 700 cuts) and at times the viewer feels as if they are on a  chemically induced high.   Requiem is equal parts stylish and unsettling.   This is not a film that easily falls under the category of “entertainment” and once you’ve seen it, it may be a while before you feel the urge to see it again.   But this is a rchly rewarding and deeply affecting experience that stays in your mind long after the credits rolls.

1. City of  God (2002):   It occupies a spot on Time magazine’s “ALL-TIME 100 Best Movies” and third on the list of the 50 Films to See Before You Die and you probably don’t know a thing about it because it was made by two Brazilian directors with mostly non-actors and it’s subtitled, you lazy American slob.    Directors Fernando Meirelles and Kaita Lund take a cast of first-timers who learned how to move and react in front of the camera from acting workshops and set them loose depicting the fast times and quick deaths of warring drug gangs in the Rio De Janiero slum of Cidade de Deus (City of God).   The story is familiar, but you’ve never seen it told quite this way.   Back in 2004, I asked about City of God and my friend Bill Wertz, who passed away this year responded.

Jeff: I’m thinking about checking out the Brazilian film, City of God this weekend.  Anybody seen it?

Bill:  I have – and thought it was quite gripping. For me, the black market culture of suburban Rio was startlingly reminiscent of Dublin’s inner city (which I got to know quite well) and the film struck me as being extremely authentic – and more than a little harrowing. I know those kids – hell, I fostered one of them – and I’ve seen few films which give their lives any kind of public airing. For all of its grittiness and stark realism, it also manages to be quite entertaining. It’s pretty well constructed, with some decent acting from the young performers as well. I would definitely recommend it.

My response after viewing the DVD:   It thoroughly shocked, repelled and chilled me. I loved it! It’s easily the best movie I’ve seen and probably will see this year. We Americans seem to think we perfected graphic violence in our films, but we’re just flashy amateurs. The violence of “City of God” is relentless, unrelentingly brutal and just bludgeons you into submission and surrender.  The fact that the story is based on a true story only makes it more disturbing.  “City of God” will not leave you in a warm and fuzzy mood, but it does go a long way in clearing up fuzzy thinking.  Thanks for the recommendation,  Bill. It was everything you said it was and far, far, more.

Bill forgot more about movies than I know and he never recommended crap.  I’m sure his top 20 films of the decade would be very different from mine.   I’m only sorry we can’t debate the issue.