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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hillary's cleavage

I came across this by accident today, since I missed the Sunday morning talk shows this week. IMO, though she's wearing a v-neck, it's hardly revealing enough for comment (this picture is poor and doesn't provide the full effect). It's silly, but also upsetting - it's a Pulitzer Prize winning WOMAN writing about this crap!

Saturday, July 28, 2007
Washington Post
Cleavage & the Clinton Campaign Chest
By Howard Kurtz

A journalistic assessment of Hillary Clinton's cleavage became the most improbable presidential campaign controversy yet as her team yesterday rolled out a fundraising letter calling a Washington Post column on the subject "grossly inappropriate" and "insulting."

One week after the piece, by fashion writer Robin Givhan, took note of the Democratic candidate's relatively low neckline during a speech on the Senate floor, senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis urged donors to "take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture."

Givhan, who won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism last year, said she disagreed "that there was anything in the column that was coarse, insulting or belittling. It was a piece about a public person's appearance on the Senate floor that was surprising because of the location and because of the person. It's disingenuous to think that revealing cleavage, any amount of it, in that kind of situation is a nonissue.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Iraq - getting better or not?

It seems impossible to know, as these contrary stories in the NY Times confirm. This first story made my blood boil - that $5.8 billion that's getting wasted includes my tax dollars that could be better spent on something else!

Saturday, July 28, 2007
As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work

Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The conclusions, detailed in a report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency, include the finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq’s national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.


Monday, July 30, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
A War We Just Might Win

VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.



Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Religion beat became a test of faith"

I heard the tail end of this guy's interview on NPR. His essay is long, but worth reading - it made a big impression on me. Below is a couple of excerpts:

July 21, 2007
LA Times
Religion beat became a test of faith
A reporter looks at how the stories he covered affected him and his spiritual journey.
By William Lobdell

WHEN Times editors assigned me to the religion beat, I believed God had answered my prayers. As a serious Christian, I had cringed at some of the coverage in the mainstream media. Faith frequently was treated like a circus, even a freak show. I wanted to report objectively and respectfully about how belief shapes people's lives. Along the way, I believed, my own faith would grow deeper and sturdier. But during the eight years I covered religion, something very different happened.


IN early 2002, I was assigned to work on the Catholic sex scandal story as it erupted across the nation. . .I couldn't get the victims' stories or the bishops' lies — many of them right there on their own stationery — out of my head. I had been in journalism more than two decades and had dealt with murders, rapes, other violent crimes and tragedies. But this was different — the children were so innocent, their parents so faithful, the priests so sick and bishops so corrupt. . .I understood that I was witnessing the failure of humans, not God. But in a way, that was the point. I didn't see these institutions drenched in God's spirit. Shouldn't religious organizations, if they were God-inspired and -driven, reflect higher standards than government, corporations and other groups in society?



Saturday, July 28, 2007

LA parents angry about pedophile’s blog

Here's a story to start you off on the right foot on a Saturday morning. It's hard to believe that helping other pedophiles find children to molest is not a crime - seems like it should be. This is my favorite paragraph - I can't get my head around this guy's logic - while the internet is a powerful tool, even it would have difficulty accomplishing both these goals at once:

He had been posting nonsexual pictures of children on a Web site intended to promote the acceptance of pedophiles, and to direct other pedophiles to events and places where children tended to gather.


July 28, 2007
NY Times
Parents’ Ire Grows at Pedophile’s Unabashed Blog

LOS ANGELES, July 27 — The search for the self-described pedophile in the large-brimmed black hat commences nearly every day here, with findings posted on chat rooms frequented by mothers.

And yet unlike convicted sex offenders, who are required to stay away from places that cater to children, in this case the police can do next to nothing, because this man, Jack McClellan, who has had Web sites detailing how and where he likes to troll for children, appears to be doing nothing illegal.

But his mere presence in Los Angeles — coupled with Mr. McClellan’s commitment to exhibitionistic blogging about his thoughts on little girls — has set parents on edge. One group of mothers, whose members by and large have never met before, will soon band together in a coffee shop to hammer out plans to push lawmakers in Sacramento to legislate Mr. McClellan out of business.

Ms. Thompson is part of a movement to make it illegal to post images of children of any type on Web sites with sexual content or themes. “It became what I call a minor obsession of mine for the next six weeks,” she said, “to get to know his crowd and the things they talk about.”


Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael Vick and dogfighting

Do I want this to describe me or not:

Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others. --Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

My friend Suzanne sent me this article, which sums up the response to Michael Vick nicely. I found the comments of "Mr Field's" quite illuminating - his rationalization regarding the charges against Vick are distressing to read - he doesn't seem to have any idea the level of depravity we're talking about. It's not just letting dogs follow their natural instinct to fight, which would be unseemly, but not heinous. Instead you have dogs trained in the most disgusting fashion possible and then publically dispatched using the most revolting possible methods. His naivete is problematic to say the least.

Why has the case resonated so strongly with the American public?
By Patrik Jonsson
The Christian Science Monitor

ESPN and the sports pages routinely cover the bad behaviors of athletes, but the dogfighting charges against superstar quarterback Michael Vick have struck a different chord with Americans.

Since a US attorney in Virginia indicted Mr. Vick 10 days ago for conspiring to "pit" dogs against one another, the case has triggered animal rights protests, talk show laments, and kitchen table disgust.

On Monday, the NFL ordered the the fleet-footed and hugely popular Atlanta Falcons franchise man barred from training camp while it conducts its own investigation.

The case, experts say, has forced Americans to confront the history ofdog fighting, their own feelings on the nature of human primacy over animals, and even the covert appeal of blood sport.


Of 622 Atlantans polled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week, 65percent wanted Vick gone. (Meanwhile, 97 percent of people had heard aboutthe case, according to the AJC poll.)


Terry Fields of Atlanta, who considers himself a fan of Vick, says thatdogfighting is a bad idea. On the other hand, he says, "these kinds ofdogs pull on the chain to fight."

But he questions whether the charges are as bad as allegedly beinginvolved in killing a man, which Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis was charged with before pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, or allegedly raping a woman, a charge NBA star Kobe Bryant faced before the alleged victim refused to testify. The NFL and NBA did not take action against theplayers in those cases.

The charges and the punishment against Vick are unjust, Mr. Fields says. "But there's a lot of dog lovers out there."


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Your Friends Are Making You Fat!

As a social scientist, I love this stuff: heard a report on NPR this a.m. about a fascinating new study suggests that social networks are a major influence in obesity (only your spouse is a bigger factor than your friends). But the good news is that the opposite is also true - when your friends lose weight, you do too.

Morning Edition
July 26, 2007
Are Your Friends Making You Fat?
by Allison Aubrey

· A new study suggests that your best friend's weight may be very influential in determining whether you'll gain or lose weight over the years. The research documents the spread of obesity from person to person in a study of more than 12,000 people.



GF dining in NYC

I live 5 hrs from NYC, so it's not like I can just drop into the places mentioned here (though I hope to get there eventually). But what esp interests me about this article is that it's the **#1** emailed article from today's NY Times - tells you something about the prevelance of this condition and people's interest in GF dining.

July 25, 2007
NY Times
For the Gluten-Averse, a Menu That Works


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I seriously thought about getting a gun

Anyone who knows me is well-aware that I'm not easily spooked, but while I watched this horrific story on the news last night I wondered what the average person can do to protect themselves against such an unbearable event. I'm still thinking about it. The case is even more bizarre because the killers, though they both had long rap sheets, had never been involved in violent crime - break-ins, car thefts, drugs, but nothing with weapons. What the hell happened to them? And the father - he survived, but how can he go living after this devastation? I'm against the death penalty in general, but it doesn't seem inappropriate in this situation.


July 24, 2007
Times Online
Murder of doctor's family shocks suburban Connecticut

A prominent American doctor witnessed the murders of his wife and children during a brutal armed robbery at their home in a small affluent suburban town yesterday.

Dr William Petit Jr, a diabetes expert, was the only one of his family to survive the ordeal, which has shocked the residents of Cheshire, near New Haven, Connecticut.

His wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and two daughters, Hayley and Michaela, were killed, and their house set on fire.

Before committing their murders, two armed robbers were believed to have subjected the family to a reign of terror lasting hours which included one intruder taking Mrs Petit to a bank and ordering her to withdraw some money.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

African oil production

This was an incredibly frustrating story. The oil companies in Nigeria burn off the natural gas (which is a by-product) b/c it's not as profitable as the crude they're producing. Meanwhile, the people of this country desperately need the energy being wasted, and the pollution is harming the local population and contributing to global warming. Stupid!!!


Morning Edition
July 24, 2007
Gas Flaring Disrupts Life in Oil-Producing Niger Delta
by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Every year, millions of dollars are literally going up in smoke in Nigeria, Africa's top crude oil-exporting nation, as companies burn off unwanted natural gas released during oil production.
This flaring and venting produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than any other single source in Africa south of the Sahara, and many who live in Nigeria's oil-producing communities complain of chronic health and environmental problems associated with the gas flares.


Monday, July 23, 2007

"I'm not going"

Excellent commentary on NPR this morning by journalist Leroy Sievers, who blogs regularly about his colon cancer (the movie reference that he makes in this entry is just a bonus for me).

Morning Edition
July 23, 2007
Reflections on Cancer
by Leroy Sievers

“You only have a few seconds to process the doctor's words, and then, whether you want to or not, you're going into Cancer World. ”


If you want to read his commentary instead of listening:



Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Water Debate: Bottled vs. Tap

I've been hearing about this issue quite a bit lately. As someone who drinks a lot of bottled water, I've especially interested in the topic, and concerned that I'm contributing to a wasteful practice. The basic argument is that there's no good reason to drink bottled water (which creates a huge "carbon footprint" during shipping, especially if it comes from overseas) especially since the standards for bottled water are much lower and less enforced than the standards for tap water, so in general, tap water is actually cleaner. My dilemma in Syracuse - the water tastes like chlorine and I don't like it. My justification for continuing to drink bottled water includes that I always recycle the containers. However, I'm going to invest in some reusable Nalgene bottles (available in outdoor gear stores like REI or LL Bean for $7 - $9) so I can avoid buying water in individual bottles:


It's an issue I continue to think about. This discussion on NPR covers the issue well:

The Water Debate Continues: Bottled vs. Tap
Talk of the Nation
July 23, 2007

Last year, Americans bought more than 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles. Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson explains why some city leaders are encouraging their citizens to start turning to the tap. Other guests:

Bill Marsh, author of "A Battle Between the Bottle and the Faucet,"
published in The New York Times

Joseph Doss, president and CEO of the International Bottled Water Association


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Photoshopping Faith

My friend Terri sent me this link to jezebel.com - the website had a contest to show the best touched-up photo used by a magazine, and the winner was Redbook's cover photo of Faith Hill. Their website shows the original photo of FH and then the final product used on the cover - taking off at least 10 years and 30 pounds (b/c FH is such a dog!) Follow links at the site to their commentary on the process and other media comments as well - all very interesting. Personally, I never read "women's" magazines b/c they don't contain anything I want to know more about, but this was fun. Among other things, I found myself wondering why they put FH in such an awkward pose - some of the Photoshopping would have been unnecessary if she'd been sitting in a more natural position (it's all unnecessary, but even they might have thought it was unnecessary).


It very much put me in mind of the Dove (soap) "Evolution" ad. I don't recall seeing it on TV, but I watched it on the web:


The makeover, though elaborate, was what you would expect, but what's really creepy is that, with a few clicks of the mouse, they slim her neck and enlarge her eyes. As jezebel says: even Faith isn't really Faith.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The case of jailed Border Agents Ramos and Compean

Lou Dobbs (who I can only take in very small doses) talks about this case endlessly on his nightly CNN program. Recently Glenn Beck, in his typically holier-than-thou fashion, very aggressively questioned the prosecutor in the case, but the basic facts are not in dispute: these guys shot an unarmed man and then tried to cover it up; they received a jury trial and were convicted (and the jury knew the victim/witness was a scumbag). The case has developed into a cause celebre only b/c it's all tangled up with the very strong emotions that prevail in the immigration debate, leading to (among other travesties) the surreal spectacle of usually law-and-order obsessed Republican leaders accusing a U.S Attorney (in Texas of all places - that model of liberal jurisprudence) of prosecutorial over-reach. The greatest irony of the case is that it's a strong argument against the stupid practice of mandatory sentencing (and we all know whose brilliant idea that is).

After Bush commuted Libby's sentence, there's been a new push to pardon these guys, since Bush justified his action by saying that Libby's sentence was "excessive" and that's what the agents' supporters are claiming regarding them. Bush's silence on the issue continues to be deafening. I say: protect good cops, not bad cops. I don't pity the drug dealer they shot, but I think they belong exactly where they are - prison.

Here's the prosecutor, Johnny Sutton, on the issue: http://www.aztlan.net/myths_ramos_compean_case.htm

Here's Lou Dobbs' commentary on the case: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/07/17/Dobbs.July18/index.html

Here's a pro-agent blog by the Chairman of the non-profit agency, U.S. Border Control:


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Hott 4 Hillary"

I first heard about this video "parody" on Chris Matthews (Hardball). He questioned the woman who made the video -Taryn Southern - pretty aggressively. She was a former contestant on American Idol and he was convinced she did it for the publicity. I would have to agree, especially since she claims to have no strong political motivation.

The rhyming scheme is pretty clever, but I thought the video was kind of icky - I don't object to the sexual innuendo, but I think it was a very odd choice to set the video in a classroom of young kids and to have them singing along. Watch for yourself:



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Showing up is the first step in fighting poverty"

I thought this was a wonderful commentary, but you should listen rather than read it, since it's better with his voice. The take-away quote:

"People will tell you government doesn't work. But I've seen it work. It starts with somebody showing up and making an effort. I have also seen it fail. Mostly that happens when no one's paying attention."


NPR - Morning Edition
July 17, 2007
In Rural Poverty Fight, Showing Up Is a First Step
by Dee Davis
· As part of his eight-state tour focusing on poverty, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is scheduled to stop in rural Kentucky, where writer and rural advocate Dee Davis has witnessed the visits of politicians in the past.


Monday, July 16, 2007

"How the Democrats Got Religion"

I heard this Time Magazine article discussed on one of the political talk shows. The whole process interests me of course, especially because, as I've said many times before, I'm sick and tired of the right portraying liberals as having no values. However, I think it's incredibly significant that in a multiple-page cover story in Time Magazine on religion and politics there is not one mention of Jews or Judaism. This is exactly why I'm skeptical of a Democratic appeal to "religion" - because "religion" in America so often means exclusively Christian. I'm not secular and I'm not a religious Jew, but I am Jewish, and it makes me incredibly nervous when people talk about America as a Christian nation - that kind of marginality has historically been shown to be quite hazardous to one's health.

Here's a link to the story, and the first paragraph:


Thursday, July 12, 2007
Time Magazine Cover Story
How the Democrats Got Religion

A President has to be a preacher of sorts, instructing, consoling, summoning citizens to sacrifice for some common good. But candidates are competitors, which means they seldom manage to talk about faith in a way that doesn't disturb people, doesn't divide them, doesn't nail campaign posters on the gates of heaven. Republicans have been charged with exploiting religious voters, Democrats with ignoring them . . .


Sunday, July 15, 2007


I almost didn't see this film, figuring that I was pretty familiar with the topic. But I'm very glad I did - Michael Moore did a great job of highlighting some important issues, and using a lighter touch than some of his earlier movies had. You can quibble about facts and figures and exaggerations (especially since Michael Moore is the ONLY one out there presenting information in a particular way to make a point). But after a tour of other countries' health systems (Canada, England, France), and seeing how poorly served many Americans are by our current system, you can't deny that there is clearly a better way. And my question is the same as his: why are we satisfied with this? Why do we buy these hysterical arguments about how catastrophic it would be to have a single payer system? The assertions make no sense - that our healthcare will be rationed, that someone else will make the decisions. These things are already happening, but instead of a benign government system doing the deciding, you have profit-driven corporations who don't hide that their goal is to make money INSTEAD OF serving patients. When you consider how many people have no healthcare coverage at all, and then add in the many people who end up with huge bills that they did not expect to pay (because their coverage is limited or their policies are cancelled), and THEN consider the IMMENSE amount of money that we all pay for this flawed and patchwork system, you really can't help wondering why we're tolerating it. I saw a comment on the ideas in the movie, saying in essence, why should I pay for others? That's part of the absurdity of it all - if you have coverage, you already ARE paying for others - the cost of the uninsured is passed along to each of us in various ways. It seems so unsophisticated to continue to believe that covering everyone in a sane and systematic way will somehow cost more than the insanity we have now. If there are problems with the British or Canadian systems, they can be addressed when we design our own - we can learn from their mistakes and create something better. But to continue along the current path, where we pay a fortune with poor outcomes, is really beyond comprehension.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

"The Left: The New Racist Right"

I know what this guy is saying, I really do, but he seems to be really over-sensitive. His comments remind me of myself, complaining about things from a feminist perspective - most people think my remarks are so nitpicky, when I think I'm stating the extremely obvious. His most recent post is about Newsweek's Obama profile, but I think this earlier post captures his perspective more clearly (I included an excerpt below). I really object to him lumping liberals together (he calls it the Liberal Plantation) just because a high profile person like Biden makes an ill-considered statement about how articulate and clean Obama is, and his white friend comes back from vacation and compares his tan to Ridley's skin. Insensitivity is not racism. And acting like the faux paus of well-meaning people who sincerely desire to be blind to race is in any way equivelent to genuinely negative feelings about non-white people is foolish and insulting and extremely short-sighted and self-defeating. Just my two cents.


John Ridley
The Left: The New Racist Right (Part II)
February 9, 2007

On the eve of Barack Obama announcing his official run for the white house, I was lamenting to some of my liberal friends - as opposed to my friends who are conservative of which I have none - about the surreptitious bigotry being displayed by liberals for Obama. As opposed to the overt racism being displayed by some conservatives - hello, John Gibson you racist jerk!

I'm talking to my liberal friends about some subtle bigotry and one of them says, "You people think everything is about race."

"You people." Actually said it.

Okay. I give up. I'm throwing in the towel. Drinking the Kool-Aid. Announcing to the world that as an authentic black man I really love the way America has openly embraced Barack Obama's run for the white house. Not a hint of latent liberal bigotry to be found anywhere.

I mean, sure, you have the occasional Bidenism about an "articulate, clean" black. But I now blame Biden's comment more on the likes of Alan Keyes and Carol Mosley Braun not being more obviously articulate and bathed than on Joe Biden having spent the last twenty years living under a rock.

Fortunately the media's all over a clearly racist comment like that.

Unfortunately the media occasionally displays its own white bias by throwing up undue fascination with the fact that, according to research polls, Obama's going to have to earn the black vote...just like every other candidate's going to have to earn their votes.

Still waiting for the New York Times piece announcing Vilsack is going to have to earn the white, mid-western vote.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Musings on troop pull-out

Why do Americans seem to accept the logic that once we elect the President, he's allowed to do any damn thing he wants as Commander in Chief? When it comes to military action, we have no say? I just don't understand that way of thinking. Bush endlessly uses the rhetoric of democracy, but why doesn't the "Will of the People" apply in this situation?


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chertoff's "gut"

I'm bewildered and upset by Chertoff getting everyone worked up with his oh-so-casual remarks today. It's like when Greenspan scolded the market for its "irrational exurberance" - what these guys say has a lot of influence over a lot of people. They need to be careful, they need to think twice, three times, before speaking. What is the point of frightening an entire country? It doesn't seem to be "political," but I wouldn't put it past the Bush administration.


Chinese Official Executed

I can't get this story out of my head. Executed for taking bribes worth less than a million dollars (and which he reimbursed). And his sentence was carried out (probably by lethal injection) less than 2 months after he got it (his appeal was denied). Yikes. Can you imagine if corrupt government officials were treated thus in America - immediately summarily executed? The mind boggles.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2054413.eceFormer Chinese Top

Drug Official Executed (RTTNews) - Zheng Xiaoyu, the former Chinese top drug and food safety official, was executed on Tuesday after being found guilty of corruption and dereliction of duty and sentenced in May for taking bribes worth some 6.5 million yuan or $850,000 from eight companies.

Zheng, the head of SFDA from 1998 to 2005, was also accused and found guilty of ignoring malpractices by relatives and subordinate officials, and approving substandard medicines in return for kickbacks, including one antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths within China.

And this adds another twist: this article in the current Newsweek suggests that rampant CAPITALISM is the basic cause of all the defective products from (and moe widely in) China. Deep.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"History of the CIA"

Heard about this timely book on NPR this morning - Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA


Monday, July 09, 2007

"Why Mommy is a Democrat"

As with almost everything cool that I find on the Internet, I came across this children's book while looking for something else. I get so sick of the right wing implying that they're the only ones with "values" and they're the only ones that care about "families" - I thought this was a breath of fresh air. Buy 4 copies ($10 each, which includes shipping) and get a 5th copy free.


NEW Wonders of the World

The results are in and after millions of votes, the New "7 Wonders of the World" have been chosen. Here's a story about the process:


or just go to the source for the complete list:



Sunday, July 08, 2007

Movie thoughts


I wanted to like this movie, I really did. Chock full of three generations of terrific actors, including favs like Meryl Streep and Toni Collette (though they both had very small roles), and based on a novel, which automatically biases me in favor of it. However, the movie lacked some subtle factor that would have really involved me in the characters, though I can't put my finger on what it was. And I was seriously distracted by the way most of these wonderful women looked. Case in point - how insanely skinny they all are. Some are naturally thin, including Vanessa Redgrave, but others looked like they crash dieted prior to filming, including Toni Collette and Claire Danes. And, except for Vanessa Redgrave as a notable example of someone who actually looked her age, their faces are all grossly taut and in some cases quite unnatural looking, especially Natasha Richardson, who looks like she either had bad plastic surgery or way too much Botox (or both). This is a movie made for women - who else is going to see it? So why is this weird, emaciated and excessively youthful brand of American beauty so prominently on display? If a movie made for me - a woman in my 40s who cares not one whit about how young and thin everyone should be - is suffused with this silliness, what hope is there for any return to a sane and realistic portrayal of women?

Oceans 13

Not a bad movie. Not as fresh and charming as the original, but I laughed quite a bit and enjoyed it for the most part. However, I have a major objection to the way that Ellen Barkin was portrayed. Her character is smart and hard-working and of course beautiful, as is she. But towards the end of the movie she's seduced by Matt Damon's character, though he's inexplicably disguised with slicked back hair and a large, hooked nose. The entire scene is played for laughs - Damon's character is using a love potion called The Gilroy to overwhelm Barkin's character with lust. What I don't understand is why they decided to go this way. Both Barkin and Damon are gorgeous and sexy, and a genuine seduction scene between them would have been smokin' hot. Instead Barkin acts drunk and Damon acts inept, and it's all rather insulting and painful to watch. And to take this amazing woman, who's been a force in cinema for 3 decades, and make her the butt of a really juvenile joke, well, it dimishes the whole enterprise. Shame on them.


This was a really great movie in many ways, though the title is stupid and misleading. Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman are wonderful, and the male lead is yummy and a good actor - he holds his own with these two major female talents. It was better than I expected, since the previews made it look like a dopey comedy, but in reality it's quite a heartfelt study of love and family relationships (my favorite kind of movie). But ultimately, it wasn't a very satisfying film experience. For one thing, you get all caught up in this couple and their ups and downs, and then the ending is rather flat. And the filmmakers don't seem to really know what they want to say about love, despite it being the topic of the entire film. I wish they had gotten themselves sorted out, but in the end, I'm glad I saw their movie.

Note on Bryan Greenberg: I hope he finds some good projects in the future. He was showcased in a midseason TV series on ABC called October Road, which I watched an episode or two of, but couldn't get into. I may give it another try, however, since it's been picked up for the fall, and now I have new motivation, being utterly in love with this lovely jailbait actor (he's really 30 y.o., but still too young to be an object of lust for a middle-age broad like me).


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bill Clinton Criticizes Bush on Libby Move

My friend Russ sent me this article. I agree with Clinton that Bush and his admin think they're above the law, but I also think Clinton doesn't have much credibility criticizing them (with his, "it depends on what you mean by the word 'is'"). My frustration is with the people that were apoplectic over Clinton's crime (lying under oath), but are equally apoplectic about someone on their side being punished for the same thing. I wish I had a dollar for every time a politician or pundit said (while defending Libby), "there's no underlying crime here" - like getting a blow job was a serious threat to America? Below is the link and an excerpt of the article on Clinton.


July 4, 2007
NY Times

Bill Clinton Criticizes Bush on Libby Move

DAVENPORT, Iowa - In Iowa to promote the presidential candidacy of his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Mr. Clinton was asked by a radio host, David Yepsen, “You had some controversial pardons during your presidency; what’s your reaction to what President Bush did?”

“Yeah, but I think the facts were different,” Mr. Clinton said. “I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted. You’ve got to understand, this is consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle.”


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Doctors and "Londonistan"

After listening to the incredibly sobering events unfolding in Britain (where almost a dozen medical professionals were arrested for terrorism attempts), I read an article from June's Vanity Fair, written by Christopher Hitchens, about the dramatic change in his old neighborhood, which has changed from blue-collar Britons to ex-pat fundamentalist Muslims in just a generation. What's interesting to him, and to me, is the virulent anti-Western sentiment of the younger generation, who were born in Britain, but apparently, feeling guilty about living in the relative comfort of Western society, has sworn to destroy it (the last line, a quote from an angry young Muslim, is utterly chilling: "Who says you own Britain anyway?"). Bizarre. And now this latest twist (which arose after Hitchens' article was published): much-needed medical professionals emigrating from war-torn nations like Afganistan and Iraq are engaging in suicide bombings of their adopted countries. The mind boggles at the wretched implications for both Britain's medical and national security systems. Here's the link to Hitchens' fine article:



Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The media and the "alpha girls"

This is a rather old article (2002) but, except for the last couple of paragraphs, is compellingly current. I was alerted to this b/c the author died today and this article won a pretigious blogging award. You might want to skim the lengthy early section (though very well-written), discussing high school cliques, and get to the sizzling political commentary/media critique. A brief excerpt appears below.


Monday, November 25, 2002
James Martin Cappazzola
The Enduring Power of Cliques in a Post-High-School World

Not long ago a newly found colleague, if I may call him that, lamented the harsh tone adopted by many webloggers. (He did not put this comment directly to me, but we both knew he well could have.) My response was that webloggers, some of whom I find smarter, more eloquent, and more perceptive than a sizable portion of their professional counterparts, do not share the punditburo’s status anxiety and do not join with the punditboro in enthusiastically casting aside whatever principles they might have in a craven effort to curry favor with their colleagues.

The media’s Betas, in their quest for higher professional status and a more public personal profile, fear nothing more than alienating the industry’s powerful Alphas. And for this reason, Betas hold back, mute their voices, temper their criticisms. Regularly. Consistently. Shamelessly. The Betas know who the gatekeepers are. They know that arguing too strongly against eliminating the estate tax would hurt their chances of appearing in The Wall Street Journal. They know that any hint of recognition that the Palestinians are human beings and not animals will result in their being permanently blackballed by the New Republic. And they know that expressing opposition to school vouchers or the privatization of Social Security will keep them from securing a plumb appointment in the Bush administration. The media consumer is poorly served by this rampant but well hidden journalistic deceit.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Libby gets out of jail free

One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
-May Sarton, poet and novelist (1912-1995)

I don't know why I was surprised, but I was. My theory is that Bush's much-vaunted "political capital" has so eroded, especially after the demise of the immigration bill, that he figures, "what the hell?" Libby's sentence was commuted - he wasn't pardoned, but that's cold comfort. I don't really care, though - why should Libby sit in jail while Gonzales, Cheney, and especially Karl Rove, keep their jobs?


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thoughts on actress Jane Alexander

I saw a preview for a movie called Feast of Love (which looks great) and it shows Morgan Freeman kissing Jane Alexander, which is significant for a couple of reasons. One is that you hardly ever see older couples kissing and you never see mixed race older couples kissing. But more significantly, I heard MF interviewed around the time that Nurse Betty came out, and he said that the kiss (on the cheek) that he gave Renee Zellweger at the end of that movie was the only screen kiss he had ever had. So how pleased are we that he finally has a romantic kiss in a movie?

But what really got me thinking was that my husband had no idea who Jane Alexander was and when I went to look at her filmography, I was kind of surprised at how sparse it was. Hubby said, "Oh she's a character actress," and while I suppose that's true, it doesn't seem right somehow - I remember really loving her and I think of her as being in lots of great movies (though Kramer v Kramer and Brubaker were pretty great movies to be in, even if they're the only ones!)