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November 30, 2006

ABBA Museum to open in Stockholm

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From Billboard via Brooklyn Vegan

An ABBA museum dedicated to the music, clothing and history of the legendary Swedish pop group and its four members will open in Stockholm in 2008, organizers said today (Nov. 28).

The interactive museum will feature original outfits and instruments used by the group, handwritten song lyrics, a display of different awards and "all other things we can think of and find," said Ulf Westman, an event consultant who is spearheading the project with his wife Ewa Wigenheim-Westman.

The museum will also feature a studio where visitors can record their own ABBA songs, and an interactive experience that "will recreate the feeling of being at Wembley stadium and seeing ABBA live with 50,000 others," Westman said.

Organizers are still searching for a suitable location for the museum, but said it will open somewhere in central Stockholm during 2008.

November 29, 2006

Stream the new Of Montreal record

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The Sunlandic Twins was one of our favorites last year. You can stream Of Montreal's new one, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? here. It's out January 23.

November 28, 2006

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth: Available In Its Entirety

Here's Part 1

You can watch the rest here.

Bush Says U.S. Won't Pull Out of Iraq

Because, evidently, stickin' to your guns is more important than listening to facts. From the AP

President Bush, under pressure to change direction in Iraq, said Tuesday he will not be persuaded by any calls to withdraw American troops before the country is stabilized.

"There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," he said in a speech setting the stage for high-stakes meetings with the Iraqi prime minister later this week. "We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren."

November 26, 2006

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel: Leaving Iraq, Honorably

From Washington Post via Jesus Politics

There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis -- not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.

It may take many years before there is a cohesive political center in Iraq. America's options on this point have always been limited. There will be a new center of gravity in the Middle East that will include Iraq. That process began over the past few days with the Syrians and Iraqis restoring diplomatic relations after 20 years of having no formal communication.

What does this tell us? It tells us that regional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest -- without the United States. This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years. The Middle East is more combustible today than ever before, and until we are able to lead a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, mindless destruction and slaughter will continue in Lebanon, Israel and across the Middle East.

We are a long way from a sustained peaceful resolution to the anarchy in Iraq. But this latest set of events is moving the Middle East in the only direction it can go with any hope of lasting progress and peace. The movement will be imperfect, stuttering and difficult.

America finds itself in a dangerous and isolated position in the world. We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims. Unfortunately, that perception is gaining credibility in the Muslim world and for many years will complicate America's global credibility, purpose and leadership. This debilitating and dangerous perception must be reversed as the world seeks a new geopolitical, trade and economic center that will accommodate the interests of billions of people over the next 25 years. The world will continue to require realistic, clear-headed American leadership -- not an American divine mission.

The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The cost of combat in Iraq in terms of American lives, dollars and world standing has been devastating. We've already spent more than $300 billion there to prosecute an almost four-year-old war and are still spending $8 billion per month. The United States has spent more than $500 billion on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our effort in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, partly because we took our focus off the real terrorist threat, which was there, and not in Iraq.

We are destroying our force structure, which took 30 years to build. We've been funding this war dishonestly, mainly through supplemental appropriations, which minimizes responsible congressional oversight and allows the administration to duck tough questions in defending its policies. Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibility in the past four years.

It is not too late. The United States can still extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq. The Baker-Hamilton commission gives the president a new opportunity to form a bipartisan consensus to get out of Iraq. If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder -- one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead.

To squander this moment would be to squander future possibilities for the Middle East and the world. That is what is at stake over the next few months.

November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

November 21, 2006

Neocon Crazyman Tells LA Times Readers: "We must bomb Iran. "

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Joshua Muravchick

This American Enterprise "scholar" says diplomatic relations have not worked. No matter, we haven't spoken to the Iranians since April 7, 1980.

Here's Muravchick's tirade:

WE MUST bomb Iran.

It has been four years since that country's secret nuclear program was brought to light, and the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.

First, we agreed to our allies' requests that we offer Tehran a string of concessions, which it spurned. Then, Britain, France and Germany wanted to impose a batch of extremely weak sanctions. For instance, Iranians known to be involved in nuclear activities would have been barred from foreign travel — except for humanitarian or religious reasons — and outside countries would have been required to refrain from aiding some, but not all, Iranian nuclear projects.

But even this was too much for the U.N. Security Council. Russia promptly announced that these sanctions were much too strong. "We cannot support measures … aimed at isolating Iran," declared Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov.

It is now clear that neither Moscow nor Beijing will ever agree to tough sanctions. What's more, even if they were to do so, it would not stop Iran, which is a country on a mission. As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put it: "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen…. The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes and tyranny and injustice has reached its end…. The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world." There is simply no possibility that Iran's clerical rulers will trade this ecstatic vision for a mess of Western pottage in the form of economic bribes or penalties.

So if sanctions won't work, what's left? The overthrow of the current Iranian regime might offer a silver bullet, but with hard-liners firmly in the saddle in Tehran, any such prospect seems even more remote today than it did a decade ago, when students were demonstrating and reformers were ascendant. Meanwhile, the completion of Iran's bomb grows nearer every day.

Our options therefore are narrowed to two: We can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it. Former ABC newsman Ted Koppel argues for the former, saying that "if Iran is bound and determined to have nuclear weapons, let it." We should rely, he says, on the threat of retaliation to keep Iran from using its bomb. Similarly, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria points out that we have succeeded in deterring other hostile nuclear states, such as the Soviet Union and China.

And in these pages, William Langewiesche summed up the what-me-worry attitude when he wrote that "the spread of nuclear weapons is, and always has been, inevitable," and that the important thing is "learning how to live with it after it occurs."

But that's whistling past the graveyard. The reality is that we cannot live safely with a nuclear-armed Iran. One reason is terrorism, of which Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Now, according to a report last week in London's Daily Telegraph, Iran is trying to take over Al Qaeda by positioning its own man, Saif Adel, to become the successor to the ailing Osama bin Laden. How could we possibly trust Iran not to slip nuclear material to terrorists?

Koppel says that we could prevent this by issuing a blanket warning that if a nuclear device is detonated anywhere in the United States, we will assume Iran is responsible. But would any U.S. president really order a retaliatory nuclear strike based on an assumption?

Another reason is that an Iranian bomb would constitute a dire threat to Israel's 6 million-plus citizens. Sure, Israel could strike back, but Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who was Ahmadinejad's "moderate" electoral opponent, once pointed out smugly that "the use of an atomic bomb against Israel would totally destroy Israel, while [the same] against the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a scenario is not inconceivable." If that is the voice of pragmatism in Iran, would you trust deterrence against the messianic Ahmadinejad?

Even if Iran did not drop a bomb on Israel or hand one to terrorists, its mere possession of such a device would have devastating consequences. Coming on top of North Korea's nuclear test, it would spell finis to the entire nonproliferation system.

And then there is a consequence that seems to have been thought about much less but could be the most harmful of all: Tehran could achieve its goal of regional supremacy. Jordan's King Abdullah II, for instance, has warned of an emerging Shiite "crescent." But Abdullah's comment understates the danger. If Iran's reach were limited to Shiites, it would be constrained by their minority status in the Muslim world as well as by the divisions between Persians and Arabs.

But such ethnic-based analysis fails to take into account Iran's charisma as the archenemy of the United States and Israel and the leverage it achieves as the patron of radicals and rejectionists. Given that, the old assumptions about Shiites and Sunnis may not hold any longer. Iran's closest ally today is Syria, which is mostly Sunni. The link between Tehran and Damascus is ideological, not theological. Similarly, Iran supports the Palestinian groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which are overwhelmingly Sunni (and as a result, Iran has grown popular in the eyes of Palestinians).

During the Lebanon war this summer, we saw how readily Muslims closed ranks across the Sunni-Shiite divide against a common foe (even as the two groups continued killing each other in Iraq). In Sunni Egypt, newborns were named "Hezbollah" after the Lebanese Shiite organization and "Nasrallah" after its leader. As Muslim scholar Vali Nasr put it: "A flurry of anti-Hezbollah [i.e., anti-Shiite] fatwas by radical Sunni clerics have not diverted the admiring gaze of Arabs everywhere toward Hezbollah."

In short, Tehran can build influence on a mix of ethnicity and ideology, underwritten by the region's largest economy. Nuclear weapons would bring regional hegemony within its reach by intimidating neighbors and rivals and stirring the admiration of many other Muslims.

This would thrust us into a new global struggle akin to the one we waged so painfully with the Soviet Union for 40-odd years. It would be the "clash of civilizations" that has been so much talked about but so little defined.

Iran might seem little match for the United States, but that is not how Ahmadinejad sees it. He and his fellow jihadists believe that the Muslim world has already defeated one infidel superpower (the Soviet Union) and will in time defeat the other.

Russia was poor and weak in 1917 when Lenin took power, as was Germany in 1933 when Hitler came in. Neither, in the end, was able to defeat the United States, but each of them unleashed unimaginable suffering before they succumbed. And despite its weakness, Iran commands an asset that neither of them had: a natural advantage in appealing to the world's billion-plus Muslims.

If Tehran establishes dominance in the region, then the battlefield might move to Southeast Asia or Africa or even parts of Europe, as the mullahs would try to extend their sway over other Muslim peoples. In the end, we would no doubt win, but how long this contest might last and what toll it might take are anyone's guess.

The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force. Not by invading Iran as we did Iraq, but by an air campaign against Tehran's nuclear facilities. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets. If we hit a large fraction of them in a bombing campaign that might last from a few days to a couple of weeks, we would inflict severe damage. This would not end Iran's weapons program, but it would certainly delay it.

What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy yet would come before Iran will have a bomb in hand (and also before our own presidential campaign). In time, if Tehran persisted, we might have to do it again.

Can President Bush take such action after being humiliated in the congressional elections and with the Iraq war having grown so unpopular? Bush has said that history's judgment on his conduct of the war against terror is more important than the polls. If Ahmadinejad gets his finger on a nuclear trigger, everything Bush has done will be rendered hollow. We will be a lot less safe than we were when Bush took office.

Finally, wouldn't such a U.S. air attack on Iran inflame global anti-Americanism? Wouldn't Iran retaliate in Iraq or by terrorism? Yes, probably. That is the price we would pay. But the alternative is worse.

After the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, a single member of Britain's Cabinet, Winston Churchill, appealed for robust military intervention to crush the new regime. His colleagues weighed the costs -- the loss of soldiers, international derision, revenge by Lenin -- and rejected the idea.

The costs were avoided, and instead the world was subjected to the greatest man-made calamities ever. Communism itself was to claim perhaps 100 million lives, and it also gave rise to fascism and Nazism, leading to World War II. Ahmadinejad wants to be the new Lenin. Force is the only thing that can stop him.

November 20, 2006

McCain Supports Immediate Reversal of Roe v. Wade

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This is one reason why McCain scares us. From Think Progress

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.

MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn’t advanced in the six years he’s been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?

MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should -- could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’d be for that?

MCCAIN: Yes, because I’m a federalist. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states, so do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states. And I don’t believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade.

We have to credit him for his political shrewdness, as callous as it seems. As Frank Rich points out:

His call for more troops even when there are no more troops is about presidential politics, a dodge that allows him to argue in perpetuity that we never would have lost Iraq if only he had been heeded from the start.

November 18, 2006

New Williamsburg Restaurant: Wombat

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Has anyone been? Let us know what you think.

November 17, 2006

David Cross Sings The Bank Of America "One Bank" Song

the original, for those who haven't seen it

the David Cross version

Bush Compares Iraq War To Vietnam War

From AFP

George W. Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the raging violence in Iraq could be compared to the Vietnam War.

ABC News asked Mr. Bush whether he agreed with a New York Times columnist's comparison of the strife in Iraq as the "jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive," which is considered a key turning point in Vietnam.

"He could be right," Mr. Bush said

November 16, 2006

Winterhaven: Quite Possibly The Best Band Ever Assembled

Christian band Winterhaven is simply too rockin' for words. They rock so hard, it's quite possible that they could be the headlining band in Hell. As The Right Reverend Rabbi Judah asks: "ever wondered what might have become of the Partridge Family if they'd had the fear of God put in 'em." Winterhaven, we love you. (We originally intended to just post this on our brother site, evangelicalright.com, but it's too good to not share)

The Devil Is A Liar
(make sure you see the rocking guitar solo)


I Don't Need A Vice

Check out more here.

A big Hat Tip to The Right Reverend Rabbi Judah

November 15, 2006

Music Reviews: D. Moebius & Dynasty Handbag

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D. Moebius
"Nurton" (Blue Pole)
http://rykodistribution.net

Electronic music pioneer and Krautrock godfather Dieter Moebius is back with his first solo recording in over eight years. His new full-length "Nurton" will appeal to followers of modern ambient electronic music as well as those still enamored with the analogue, sequence-based mood enhancement of the Seventies.

In 1971 Moebius and fellow Berliner Hans Joachim Roedelius formed Cluster, an inventive duo whose unique approach to the emerging instrumentation of the time set a new standard for electronic minimalism.

Cluster diverged from the symphonic, epic-length overtures favored by their more popular contemporaries Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Instead, the duo experimented with silence and embraced an intimate sense of space rather than portray interstellar space.
Cluster also playfully injected elements of pop, dub, and classical composition into their music.

On "Nurton" Moebius reveals he hasn't abandoned such clever craftiness. However, modern ears might bristle upon hearing the clunky, rhythmic thump and noodly synthesizer of 'Gängig' or the old-school waveforms of 'Schleudergang'. His new release may be too retro
sounding for some, but Moebius comes by it honestly.

While "Nurton" has a kind of time capsule quality to it, what's old is made new again. Much of the music here, as on 'Anfahrt' and 'Opaque', is as comparable to that of new minimal electronic standard bearers To Rococo Rot as it is to any Cluster classic.

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Dynasty Handbag
"Foo Foo Yik Yik" (Lovepump United)
http://www.lpurecords.com/

"In my dreams / Anxiety, paranoia, nervousness / I can't get what I want / I can't get there". Such is also the strange waking state of affairs of Dynasty Handbag, a.k.a. Jibz Cameron.

Having first collaborated with rockers Dynasty and The Roofies and shared stages with other fellow West Coast compatriots Xiu Xiu, Numbers, and Erase Errata, Cameron eventually moved to New York to focus on her own music.

On her first Dynasty Handbag full-length, Cameron sounds emotionally acclimated to Gotham's urgent, erratic energies. A mix of poetic angst, spare electronics, and Patti Smith styled grunginess; "Foo Foo Yik Yik" captures an artist mesmerized by her new surroundings but swirling inwardly with turmoil.

Cameron's vocals are the thing. Sampled, pitched, and shrieked, her voice is flexed and contorted but it rarely illicits emotions beyond those associated with fear or despair.

I never thought I'd ever find myself comparing an artist to Thick Pigeon singer Stanton Miranda, but Dynasty Handbag sounds a lot like the old singer; and her music has a similar Eighties weirdness about it too.

While Miranda's U.K. Factory label mates New Order and Section 25 were just beginning to make waves throughout the underground, New York band Thick Pigeon already had one foot in the closet of soon-to-be-forgotten new wave acts. They were just too weird and tuneless for their own good.

If the Dynasty Handbag follow up to "Foo Foo Yik Yik" fails to deliver something more substantial than this collection of twitchy, nervous electro-wheeze; she likely faces a similar fate.

John Rickman

November 14, 2006

Leaked! Spiderman 3 Trailer

Twisted Sister Christmas

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We know it's way too early for this, but we wanted to post this while it's still available. Twisted Sister is set to release an all-new Christmas record. You can stream the whole thing here. MySpace has some clips too.

And here's members Eddie and Jay Jay rehearsing "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

[Hat Tip BrooklynVegan]

November 13, 2006

A $1.5 Billion Vision For Coney Island

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The NY Sun has an article on the planned "reinvigoration" of Coney Island. Let the sparring begin, [Via Gothamist]

New designs drawn up by the architectural firm Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn depict Thor's futuristic vision. A new roller coaster would dart in and out of new buildings along Stillwell Avenue, the first roller coaster in New York City since the Cyclone opened in 1927, according to the developer. Opposite the subway station, Thor is planning a vertical ride to the top of a 150-foot-high water tower that would be decorated with flickering holograms of whales and mermaids.

Where Stillwell Avenue meets the boardwalk, the developer wants to build a giant indoor water park and a three-story, glass-enclosed carousel. All the rides would be winterized. They would also be integrated with a movie theater, arcades, retail stores, and with existing attractions, like the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, and the Parachute Drop. Thor Equities would lease out the rides or find an operating partner to run the amusements.

The plan has a catch. Thor says it needs the city to enact a zoning change to allow residential and hotel development in the amusement district. Thor wants to build as many as four towers on its site, comprising two hotels, a time-share, and an apartment building that could rise up to 40 stories....

While some critics have said Thor's designs are too glitzy, Mr. Zigun envisions something like Las Vegas, Miami Beach, Orlando, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., jazzy, modern, and fantastical, as opposed to a "suburban glass façade," or an area dominated by mall-like retail stores. Thor changed earlier plans for a mall after residents and city officials complained.

The project architect, Stanton Eckstut, said the design would not be a replica of old-fashioned Coney Island style.

"We don't want to do something based on a frozen moment in time," he said. "We want to make it feel like part of the evolution of Coney's past, but we are not doing a historic reproduction."

November 10, 2006

To Do: Crispin Glover Premiere, Califone, Bar/None, And The House Show

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ON FRIDAY:

The king of bizarre, Crispin Glover, presents his new film "What Is It?"
WHEN: At 7, also Saturday and Sunday at 7,
WHERE: Anthology Film Archives , 32 2nd Ave New York, NY 10003
PRICE: $18

From the Anthology website: Crispin Hellion Glover presents his feature film entitled WHAT IS IT? Mr. Glover has been working on WHAT IS IT? for many years and is now proud to present it in a fine 35mm print. Most of the actors in the film have Down's Syndrome, but the film is not about Down's Syndrome. Mr. Glover explains: "Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home, as tormented by a hubristic racist inner psyche." Each evening will begin with Crispin Hellion Glover's BIG SLIDE SHOW, an hour-long live dramatic narration of eight stories taken from Victorian-era books, with slides of the books themselves as illustrated by Mr. Glover. He has been performing this show for thirteen years but this is the debut performance in New York City. Following the slide show the film will be presented, after which Mr. Glover will be available for a Q&A and a book signing. No one under eighteen years of age will be allowed to attend the screenings. MORE INFO HERE

Plus, Califone is playing Southpaw

AND ON SATURDAY

House Show
WHERE: Secret Project Robot / Monster Island
210 Kent Ave, (corner of Metropolitan), Williamsburg
WHEN: 7-10pm
PRICE: Free and byob

FROM MYOPENBAR: A large-scale (we presume) art show near the East River in a Williamsburg loft. At The House Show, the audience is encouraged to make themselves feel "at home:" "All aspects of the 'house' are artist-made and you, as the resident are free to discover what lays hidden under the bed, or what's in the medicine cabinet." Let's hope she's got some unbleached tampons au naturel up in there -- cause I'm on the rag, bitch, and the white ones cause cancer!

Also: BAR/NONE 20TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY AT SUPREME TRADING

FROM PAPER: Indie label Bar/None has turned 20. It‚ll be celebrating in style with friends both new and old, including Freedy Johnston, Mosquitos, and They Might Be Giants, the original (and certainly best) nerd rock band. Bar/None may not be old enough, but buy it a pint anyway: Any indie label that survives this long deserves a drink. Supreme Trading, 213 N. 8th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (718) 599-4224. 6 p.m. $10.

November 09, 2006

Bill Maher outs GOP party chair Ken Mehlman

November 08, 2006

The Loathsome Right Wingers At Little Green Footballs Are Losing Their Shit

From Little Green Footballs Via Jesus General

#5 mbpaul 11/7/2006 09:25PM PST

I quite. I not going to vote again. It's time I gave up on this political bullshit. I just hope the nuke attack comes soon. Let it be on the East Coast where it belongs.

#11 Tairos 11/7/2006 09:27PM PST

I think this demostrates pretty clearly that voting should be a privilege, NOT a right.

#28 Adrenalyn 11/7/2006 09:33PM PST

can I be the first to say it on LGF?

Impeach Bush and Cheney

throw them out and hope Hastert has the balls to fight back

#69 Bill Amos 11/7/2006 09:42PM PST

Even if the senate goes democratic thank god Lieberman is there to switch and protect us from extremists !

#82 mbpaul 11/7/2006 09:45PM PST

Maybe a divided government is not a bad thing. They can't do anything to screw us up anymore than we already are. We just need to weather the nuclear attack when it happens and we will be okay. Let the military take over. I advocate a military coup.

#88 semadar 11/7/2006 09:46PM PST

OMG, my southern neighbors, why are the Dems winning, get ready for happy terrorist parades.

#272 Greg 11/7/2006 10:43PM PST

Bush is losing precisely because he has took the high road after 9/11 instead of Zyclon B-ing most of the muslim world after attacking our shores as they have been doing to our shipping since 1800.

This is a world war and not a tea party for the Yale/Harvard clique...

Islam must have a boot smashing into its face forever until it becomes a grown up religion not bent on murdering everyone on the planet...

Bush cannot comprehend this or the Donks even less...they do not have the intestinal fortitude for it...

November 07, 2006

Go Vote!

And It Begins....

Election Fraud Suspected In Utah... Four Times The Population Registered To Vote...

From CNN

Voting appears to be very popular in Daggett County, Utah. Daggett County has registered 947 voters for Tuesday's election. According to the most recent Census figures, that's four more than the county's population in 2005.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says complaints of vote-stuffing in the county are being investigated. Democrats suspect County Clerk Vickie McKee is letting outsiders swell the Daggett County registration rolls to give Republicans an advantage. The Democrats also say the father of a Republican deputy running for sheriff has 14 adults registered at his household. McKee hasn't responded to messages from The Associated Press.



Just In
: Voting Machines Woes Cause Early Delays

November 06, 2006

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines: Rumsfeld Must Go

It's unanimous. Read the story here.

November 05, 2006

The November 2006 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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As the Oscar race heats up, I have to admit that I'm more interested in Borat and Bond (though one of those might actually be a contender).

NOVEMBER 3

THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Tim Allen vs. Martin Short. Whoever wins, we lose.

WILL IT SUCK?
Well, only as much as The Santa Clause 2 or The Wild. Same writers. The director is a holdover from Clause 2 as well. Normally, I'd be pretty psyched for a film that starred Kevin Pollack as Cupid, but somehow that isn't happening here.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Flushed Away will be an issue, but there's a lot of Tim Allen love out there. $72mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
No. But if this movie were coming out in March for some reason, you can bet Allen and Short would present.

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BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Sacha Baron Cohen pisses off an entire country.

WILL IT SUCK?
Critics say that this may be the best (and most offensive) comedy of the year. Larry Charles directs, which is a master stroke given the vein of comedy being mined here.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Picked probably the most family-friendly weekend of the season to release, thus guaranteeing no competition. And the government of Kazakhstan is providing the best marketing a $7,800 per capita income can buy. $67mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Cohen is on the short list for Best Actor. I shit you not.

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FLUSHED AWAY

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
A posh rat gets flushed down the toilet by an uncouth rat. Moist culture clash ensues.

WILL IT SUCK?
This is from Aardman studios, who have gone from making claymation to making computer generated animation that looks like claymation. Hugh Jackman, in line to win this year's Jude Law Ubiquity Award, voices the lead. Early buzz is good, in spite of a very mixed bag of writers, only one of whom had anything to do with a previous Aardman film - Chicken Run.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I think more people know about The Santa Clause 3 at this point. $57mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Good for an animated nod, though probably not a win like last year's Aardman entry.

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VOLVER

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Pedro Almodovar and Penepole Cruz reunite.

WILL IT SUCK?
Though American critics fawn over Almodovar, he is often a prophet without honor in his own country -- except this time. So when Spanish critics, American critics and Cannes (who bestowed three major awards on the film) all agree, something must be up. Never mind the fact that Almodovar almost never sucks.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Almodovar can do decent box office, and the Almodovar WOW! tour currently going on won't hurt. $6mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Spain certainly hopes so. It's their submission for a Foreign Film Oscar. I'd say keep an eye on Cruz as well for Best Actress. Her performance is getting mad buzz.

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November 10
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STRANGER THAN FICTION

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Guy (Will Ferrell) hears narration in his head. Turns out it's coming from the woman (Emma Thompson) who's literally writing his life.

WILL IT SUCK?
Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) lost a little cred with Stay, but I like the fact that he keeps trying new genres. Early buzz is mixed, but generally good. Still, this is the sort of plot I'd love to see come from the pen of Charlie Kaufman. We'll have to see if newbie Zach Helm is up to the task.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
A little competition from the second frame of Borat and the following week Casino Royale will suck up a lot of oxygen leaving little for this and Tenacious D, however, none of those films have Will Ferrell. $61mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Maybe screenplay. Maybe even Ferrell?

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THE RETURN

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
The Grudge, Too, As Well

WILL IT SUCK?
You could probably do worse than acclaimed director Asif Kapadia (The Warrior) at the helm. And then you've got a guy who wrote an episode of Night Stalker doing the screenplay. But whether either of these guys can make hay of what appears to be yet another vengeful spirit story with the exact same star of the most successful vengeful spirit story ever is anybody's guess.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Not a lot of horror competition, but that may be because horror films aren't usually trotted out after Halloween. $25mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Best Film Not Based On a Japanese Film Even Though It Seems Like It Must Be Based On a Japanese Film. It's a new category.

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A GOOD YEAR

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
How Russell Got His Groove Back

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed, which is too bad since Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are usually The Men. This may be tempered, however, by the writer of Serendipity.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Ironically, Stranger Than Fiction might be the more successful date movie. $33mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Russell's usually good for a nod, but not this time.

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HARSH TIMES

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
American Psycho N the Hood

WILL IT SUCK?
This is from David Ayer, the guy who wrote Training Day, Dark Blue, S.W.A.T., The Fast and the Furious and U-571. Furious and the last twenty minutes of Dark Blue notwithstanding, the guy's sharp and has a facility for L.A. corruption. This is his directorial debut, for which I have been waiting for quite some time. Only making the pot sweeter are Christian Bale and Freddie Rodriguez as the leads. Early buzz is good.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
This isn't exactly a popular genre. Training Day did well but had, you know, Denzel Washington. $47mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Nods for Bale or Rodriguez (who might finally have a breakout role here) aren't out of the question.

----------------------------------------

FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
What do you want? It's the most self-explanatory title since Snakes on a Plane.

WILL IT SUCK?
Given that the writing/directing team behind Secretary is all up in this along with Nicole Kidman as Arbus and Robert Downey, Jr. as Cousin It, you'd expect better than mediocre buzz.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I think limited release is a smart move here. It makes this a big fish in a little pond -- until next week when all indie hell breaks loose. $10mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I'd say look for Kidman and Downey, but I'm not sure the buzz will sustain that kind of prediction.

----------------------------------------

FUCK

WHAT'S THE FUCKIN' PITCH?
Doc about the word "Fuck."

WILL IT FUCK?
One of the best flicks I've seen all year. See me wax about free speech on it here and an interview with the director here.

HOW FUCKTASTICALLY WELL WILL IT DO?
It's kind of hard to get the word out about a movie that, as the tag line says, dare not speak its name, but that won't stop us from trying. $4mil.

WILL THOSE FUCKWADS AT THE ACADEMY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I'll be impressed if this and/or This Film Is Not Yet Rated even make it onto the eligible list.

----------------------------------------
November 17
----------------------------------------

CASINO ROYALE

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Bond Begins

WILL IT SUCK?
If you have any doubts about Daniel Craig's ability to portray Bond, watch Layer Cake. Your fears will be allayed. If that doesn't work, watch the kick-ass trailers that suggest a return to a more brutal Bond. I can take or leave Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) at the helm and the writers of the last two Bonds reprising screenplay duty, but I'm very curious to see what happens when you throw Paul Haggis in the mix.
Oh, and parkour, baby! Parkour!

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
It's Bond. There is no competition. $140mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I don't know that there's ever been an Oscar-worthy performance in a Bond film. You?

----------------------------------------

HAPPY FEET

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Dancing penguins. Animated dancing penguins.

WILL IT SUCK?
Interesting pedigree here. Let's take a moment to reflect upon the versatility of George Miller. He wrote and directed the Mad Max trilogy, Lorenzo's Oil and Babe: Pig in the City, one of the most clandestinely awesome kid's films of all time. Here he's joined by co-writers from those films and Master and Commander. In spite of my aversion to the glut of talking animals this year and my inability to find one trailer for this film that I like, I have to say I'm impressed. Also, early buzz is surprisingly good.
And chalk up another 2006 role for Hugh Jackman - his second talking animal this month.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Some minor competition from Deck the Halls the following week, but holidays + kid's flick is usually a no-brainer. $110mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Seems a good bet for a Best Animated nod.

----------------------------------------

LET'S GO TO PRISON

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Dax Shepard and Will Arnett go to jail.

WILL IT SUCK?
Normally the pairing of Arnett and director Bob Odenkirk would be enough, but the presence of writers from Taxi, Herbie: Fully Loaded and The Pacifier gives me pause.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
How many people, really, have heard of Mr. Show? And if Arnett had the following that could open a movie, Arrested Development would still be on the air (sniff). And people can get their cult comedy on the following week with Tenacious D. $21mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
No, but can we give Arrested Development an Oscar for being awesome? Even though it's not, you know, a movie?

----------------------------------------

ffn.jpg

FAST FOOD NATION

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Foodiana

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is just not that good. Which is too bad since (a) I love me some Linklater, (b) the source material is so strong and (c) the cast is one of the best, if eclectic, of the fall, with Catalina Sandino Moreno, Esai Morales (remember him?), Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Greg Kinnear and Bruce Willis.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Pretty serious competition, but this is in good shape. Bad reviews will not keep away the first wave of fans. After that, though... $20mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
This is the sort of thing that would get a screenplay nod...if it got good reviews.

----------------------------------------

THE AURA

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Taxidermist kills a guy, plans the perfect crime.

WILL IT SUCK?
Sadly, writer/director Fabian Bielinsky died in June of a heart attack at the age of 47. It looks like his last film, though, is living up to the promise of his first one, the outstanding Nine Queens. It nearly swept the Argentinian Film Critics Association Awards and has done well at numerous fests.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Pretty serious competition and nobody really knows about this flick. $1mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
In spite of all those wins, Argentina has decided to back another horse for its Best Foreign Film submission - Daniel Burman's Family Law.

----------------------------------------

CANDY

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish - lovin' each other, lovin' heroin, 24-7.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed. Ledger and Cornish are supposed to be fantastic, however.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Druggie movies tend to need hellabuzz (like Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream buzz) before audiences are willing to commit to the downward spiral. $1mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
With maybe ten times the box office, Ledger and Cornish get some love.

----------------------------------------

BOBBY

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Huge cast. Oh, and I think there's something about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in there somewhere.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good, especially considering early warning sirens coming out of Toronto. Contrast that with a seven minute standing O at its Venice premiere. The real story here, though, is the unbelievably huge cast which is easier to link to, but more fun to list:

Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez (who write and directs for the first time since Men at Work, but we'll let that go), Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Shia LeBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Freddy Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood and David Krumholtz.
And somehow Hugh Jackman didn't make it in.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Pretty serious contender. May win this crowded indie weekend, and perhaps the indie month. $30mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I think this will build momentum and become a serious contender there, too.

----------------------------------------

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
The Best in Show crowd take on the Oscars.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good, but not as good as any of the other Christopher Guest masterpieces. Still, it'll be pretty hard to keep me from seeing what happens when you add Ricky Gervais to that mix.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Needs more publicity. All the following in the world won't do much good if the Guest fan base doesn't know it's coming out. $18mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
That irony would be too rich. So, no.

----------------------------------------
11/22
----------------------------------------

DEJA VU

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
A-List Timecop

WILL IT SUCK?
They've taken one of the writers of Shrek and The Pirates of the Caribbean series and teamed him with a guy who used to write for Courage the Cowardly Dog (which, if you've never watched it, is a funny fuckin' show). That gives me hope. I lost all faith in director Tony Scott, however, after Domino, but maybe Denzel will tip the scale in the other direction.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Casino Royale's second frame is a bit of an issue, but this will open. $68mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Best Cheap Gimmick at the Beginning of a Trailer.

----------------------------------------

THE FOUNTAIN

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Darren Aronofsky follows two lovers (Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz) through three different epochs as one tries to save the other's life.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed with audiences taking to it more than critics. However, everyone seems to agree that this is an awesome flick to get baked to.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
People have been waiting for this for a long time. $34mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
The stoner vote doesn't usually carry much weight in the Academy. Technical awards aren't out of the question, though.

----------------------------------------

TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
It's Tenacious D. Who cares what they're doing? It'll be funny.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz, what little of it there is, is good. They've chosen perennial D director Liam Lynch to helm this one (he has a kick-ass vlog, btw) and written the material themselves so, if you like Tenacious D (and why shouldn't you?), you'll probably like this.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I think this will be the surprise hit of the fall. $72mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
No, but I hope they present.

----------------------------------------

DECK THE HALLS

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito compete over who has the best Christmas decorations. Seriously, that's it.

WILL IT SUCK?
From the director of Big Momma's House 2...okay, I'm just going to stop right there.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Could end up being this Christmas' Surviving Christmas. $22mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
No, but Jorge Garcia and Alia Shawkat should get to present to make up for having to be in this thing.

----------------------------------------

THE HISTORY BOYS

WHAT’S THE PITCH?
The Tony Award-winning Dead Poets Society

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. They've kept the same director, same writer and most of the same cast as the stage play. By the way, the last time this particular writing/directing team got together, the result was The Madness of King George.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Coming out of a busy indie weekend, but the bigger issue is I'm not even sure that fans of play know this is coming out, much less newbies. $5mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Did I mention that The Madness of King George got four nods and one win?

Next Month: Eddie Murphy goes into the "WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?" section.

November 02, 2006

The Campaign To Defend the Constitution: Live Chat With A Sinner

defcon-chat.jpg

Our favorite political action group, The Campaign To Defend the Constitution (DefCon), has been kind enough to invite Robert Lanham to participate in a "live chat" today, Thursday November 2 at 2pm.

You can sign up and listen here.

If you're not familiar with DefCon, you should be. The organization has much in common People for the American Way, only with a special emphasis on keeping the Evangelical Right in check. Rapture-Ready Fundamentalists take note: both aforementioned organizations are run by secular humanists propagating the agenda of the Beast.

Lanham will be discussing his new book, The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, theocracy, the Rapture, megachurches, the evangelical Vatican and, if there's time, the health benefits of semi-solid fermented milk products.

About DefCon:

The Campaign To Defend the Constitution is an online grassroots movement combating the growing power of the religious right. We will fight to uphold the First Amendment's guarantee of separation of church and state and will oppose efforts to control and distort religion, education, science and culture in ways that ultimately threaten the health and well-being of American society.

Here's what DefCon had to say about our book: "This book is hilarious... [Lanham] didn't skimp on his research. The book provides a telling overview of the religious right's leadership, the beliefs they espouse, and just how incredibly absurd and hypocritical they are."

You can pick up a copy of The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right here

November 01, 2006

George "Macaca" Allen: "Things like that happen."

From Think Progress

Blogger Mike Stark was assualted by supporters of Sen. George Allen (R-VA). One of CNN’s affiliates asked Allen for comment on the incident, and CNN reported that he responded, "Things like that happen."

tackle.jpg
Watch the video here

At least there's hope. He's down in the polls.

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