Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Vast Wasteland" no more

"I like to watch TV." - Chauncey Gardiner (Being There 1979)

I agree. I like to watch TV, too. Probably far too much. I like all kinds of shows. From the brainy "Inside Politics" on CNN, to the mindless "American Idol."

That being said, I'd like to share what I think are the best shows on TV right now:

1. House. Tuesday's at 8PM CST on FOX. The lead, played by Hugh Laurie, is one of the best written characters I've seen in a long time. The show has the great Bryan Singer (Se7en, Fight Club, The Game) as executive director. (Unfortunately, this show competes with The Amazing Race, but that's what a DVR is for.)

2. Carnivàle. HBO. Second season ended last week, but can be seen in repeats or HBO On-Demand. The second season started off slow, but quickly picked up. Excellent good vs evil storytelling. Standouts are Clancy Brown as Father Justin, Nick Stahl as Ben Hawkins, & Michael J. Anderson as Samson.

3. Moving Up. Saturdays at 7PM CST on TLC. I watch a lot of decorating shows, but this is my favorite.
From TLC's website: Have you ever wondered what happens to your home once you move out? When new homeowners move in to your old home, they could love it all or rip it all out without much thought! What would you say if you could actually see what they did to undo the blood, sweat and tears invested in your home?
The best part of this show is when they show the lack of taste some homeowners have. One couple called their newly decorated living room, "modern," but in actuality it looked more like 1985.

4. Boston Legal. Sundays at 9PM CST on ABC. I was a fan of its predecessor, The Practice, but this show is even better. James Spader, William Shatner and Candice Bergen are excellent in this top-notch legal comedy-drama. Creator, David E. Kelley's writing can't be better.

Other reality show favs: The Amazing Race, Survivor, The Apprentice, Intervention, Judge Judy (she reminds me of my late mother)

Other decorating show favs: reDesign, Designers Challenge, Designed to Sell, Sensible Chic

Other dramatic favs: Law & Order (SVU, Trial By Jury, CI), CSI, Medium, Without A Trace, ER, Judging Amy, and of course, Monk

OCD Favorites: See left sidebar ←

Former favorite that has gone downhill: Clean Sweep. Host, Tava Smiley, is so over-the-top that it seems like she's on coke. Organizer, Peter Walsh, has the same problem, plus he tends to talk to homeowners like they're 5 years old. And, designer, Molly Luetkemeyer, doesn't seem to want to be there at all. The shows saving grace is designer, Angelo Surmelis.

This show is rumored to be on the chopping block, which is too bad because it can be saved. Taking a hard look at the cast and retooling the show could do wonders. Suggestion #1: lose the Yard Sale segments, and increase the time spent with the designers.

Wouldn't I make a great Nielsen viewer?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sunday, March 27, 2005

How to Turn Your Red State Blue

I read a great article on Alternet by Christopher Hayes. In it, he explains what the Democratic Party is doing wrong and outlines a plan to "How to Turn Your Red State Blue."

I've copied and pasted some portions of the article here, but I highly recommend that you read the whole thing on the site.

...Then there's the fact that both the government's policies and the electorate's voting behavior have shifted dramatically to the right in the last 30 years. Common sense would suggest that the best explanation for this is that most voters are conservative and the Republicans are the conservative party. If this is true, we cannot continue to imagine there exists a slumbering progressive majority waiting to be awakened with the right trumpet call. We cannot cling to the fiction that conservatives have somehow hypnotized the electorate, hoodwinking them into voting for Republicans and reactionaries while leaving untouched their internal worldviews, which somehow remain fundamentally progressive. It is important that we stare directly into the sun on this point. The right has fundamentally reconstituted the way Americans view government, politics, policy and the public sphere. We need to change it back.

...The lesson is that political parties are empty vessels. A party without a sufficiently militant base will end up standing for very little, and voters would rather vote for something than for nothing. At the same time, however, a party too tightly controlled by its base will likely pull the party toward electoral failure. Only by the productive interchange between activists and the party hierarchy can electoral success and long-term implementation of an ideological vision both be achieved. The challenge is to reach out without selling out. Today, the Democratic Party is failing to do the former while succeeding in the latter. It's the worst of both worlds.

I hope my friend, Wendy, reads this next part:
Consider a baby born in 2005 to a conservative family anywhere in America – that is anywhere outside of a major city where the very particles in the air are liberal. How might this child become a progressive? Her first possible exposure to a progressive worldview would be through children's media: books, videos and television shows. Conservatives patrol this border vigorously. Every several months or so, it seems James Dobson or Jerry Falwell is in high dudgeon railing against the perversions of some innocuous children's television character, from Bert and Ernie to SpongeBob SquarePants.

Next, the child will likely attend public school, an institution conservatives have sought to control by taking over local school boards in order to introduce creationist textbooks, establish abstinence-only sex education and excise any lesson plans tolerant of homosexuality. And while activists seek to influence local curricula, right-wing think tanks advocate fully dismantling public education through vouchers and other ruses.

If our hypothetical student goes to college she will finally, for the first time, come face to face with a progressive worldview. Higher education stands as the only institution in American life today with a significant progressive presence. In classes, in clubs and in dorms, students are exposed to progressives and their views. Not surprisingly, Kerry won college-educated women by nine points, and all voters with post-graduate degrees by 11 points. And while he lost college-educated men, the trend lines are promising. He managed to do four points better than Gore.

Since college enrollment continues to climb, and the economy increasingly puts a premium on post-graduate degrees, this bodes well for Democrats. Conservatives realize this chink in their armor, which explains why their attacks on higher education are so ardent. David Horowitz's latest anti-university gimmick is Students for Academic Freedom, a web site where disgruntled conservative undergrads can post complaints, like this one, about unfair treatment from liberal faculty: On the last [paper], I wrote about how family values in the books weve [sic] read aren't good. I know the paper was pretty much great [sic] because I spell checked it and proofred [sic] it twice. I got an [sic] D- just because the professor hates families and thinks its [sic] okay to be gay.

...In fact, when you survey the trend lines in the Democratic coalition, you see an odd but altogether predictable trend. College-educated voters are increasingly moving to the left while working class voters are moving to the right. A host of ideas have been put forward to explain this, but the erosion of labor unions and the progressive character of the academy accounts for much of it.

Outside of school, work and friends, the only other real entry point for our hypothetical subject is the Internet and blogosphere. And while these are invaluable resources for people who have no other access to progressive ideas, they don't ring your doorbell or leaflet your local supermarket. High-profile groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Sierra Club and People for the American Way don't help much either. Though they fight tooth and nail for progressive causes, they are essentially self-contained, devoting little energy toward recruiting non-progressives. Organizations like MoveOn and Democracy For America have revived grassroots, meeting-based membership organizations, but they serve chiefly as a means of coordinating existing progressives rather than pulling new people into the fold. How would moderates, conservatives or those with little in the way of fixed politics ever find themselves interfacing with MoveOn other than a TV ad?

He goes on to give a plan...

In order to grow, progressives need to systematically expand the universe of access points to the progressive worldview and actively recruit people into the fold. There are three main ways this can be achieved: the development of a vibrant progressive mass media, a revived labor movement, and the organizing of large-scale grassroots social movements in regions and among constituencies that are currently estranged from progressivism. Many astute commentators have written extensively about the first two, so it seems wise to focus here on why the third part of this strategy is important, and what it might entail.

His idea isn't sexy, but it's great none-the-less. Click here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Disconnect

Bush stated last Monday regarding Terri Schiavo: " is always wise to err on the side of life."

List of prisoners exonerated after being sent to death row:

1. David Keaton FL
2. Samuel A. Poole NC
3. Wilbert Lee FL
4. Freddie Pitts FL
5. James Creamer GA
6. Christopher Spicer NC
7. Thomas Gladish NM
8. Richard Greer NM
9. Ronald Keine NM
10. Clarence Smith NM
11. Delbert Tibbs FL
12. Earl Charles GA
13. Jonathan Treadway AZ
14. Gary Beeman OH
15. Jerry Banks GA
16. Larry Hicks IN
17. Charles Ray Giddens OK
18. Michael Linder SC
19. Johnny Ross LA
20. Ernest (Shuhaa) Graham CA
21. Annibal Jaramillo FL
22. Lawyer Johnson MA
23. Anthony Brown FL
24. Neil Ferber PA
25. Clifford Henry Bowen OK
26. Joseph Green Brown FL
27. Perry Cobb IL
28. Darby (Williams) Tillis IL
29. Vernon McManus TX
30. Anthony Ray Peek FL
31. Juan Ramos FL
32.Robert Wallace GA
33. Richard Neal Jones OK
34. Willie Brown FL
35. Larry Troy FL
36. Randall Dale Adams TX
37. Robert Cox FL
38. Timothy Hennis NC
39. James Richardson FL
40. Clarence Brandley TX
41. John C. Skelton TX
42. Dale Johnston OH
43. Jimmy Lee Mathers AZ
44. Gary Nelson GA
45. Bradley P. Scott FL
46. Charles Smith IN
47. Jay C. Smith PA
48. Kirk Bloodsworth MD
49. Federico M. Macias TX
50. Walter McMillian AL
51. Gregory R. Wilhoit OK
52. James Robison AZ
53. Muneer Deeb TX
54. Andrew Golden FL
55. Joseph Burrows IL
56. Adolph Munson OK
57. Robert Charles Cruz AZ
58. Rolando Cruz IL
59. Alejandro Hernandez IL
60. Sabrina Butler MS
61. Verneal Jimerson IL
62. Dennis Williams IL
63. Roberto Miranda NV
64. Gary Gauger IL
65. Troy Lee Jones CA
66. Carl Lawson IL
67. David Wayne Grannis AZ
68. Ricardo Aldape Guerra TX
69. Benjamin Harris WA
70. Robert Hayes FL
71. Randall Padgett AL
72. James Bo Cochran AL
73. Robert Lee Miller, Jr. OK
74. Curtis Kyles LA
75. Shareef Cousin LA
76. Anthony Porter IL
77. Steven Smith IL
78. Ronald Williamson OK
79. Ronald Jones IL
80. Clarence Dexter, Jr. MO
81. Warren Douglas Manning SC
82. Alfred Rivera NC
83. Steve Manning IL
84. Eric Clemmons MO
85. Joseph Nahume Green FL
86. Earl Washington VA
87. William Nieves PA
88. Frank Lee Smith FL
89. Michael Graham LA
90. Albert Burrell LA
91. Oscar Lee Morris CA
92. Peter Limone MA
93. Gary Drinkard AL
94. Joaquin Jose Martinez FL
95. Jeremy Sheets NE
96. Charles Fain ID
97. Juan Roberto Melendez FL
98. Ray Krone AZ
99. Thomas Kimbell, Jr. PA
100. Larry Osborne KY
101. Aaron Patterson IL
102. Madison Hobley IL
103. Leroy Orange IL
104. Stanley Howard IL
105. Rudolph Holton FL
106. Lemuel Prion AZ
107. Wesley Quick AL
108. John Thompson LA
109. Timothy Howard OH
110. Gary Lamar James OH
111. Joseph Amrine MO
112. Nicholas Yarris PA
113. Alan Gell NC
114. Gordon Steidl IL
115. Laurence Adams MA
116 .Dan L. Bright LA
117. Ryan Matthews LA
118. Ernest Ray Willis TX
119. Derrick Jamison OH
(should be on the list: Damien Echols)

List of executions while Bush was governor of Texas:

1. Clifton Russell
2. Willie Ray Williams
3. Jeffrey Motley
4. Billy Conn Gardner
5. Samuel Hawkins
6. Noble Mays
7. Fletcher Thomas Mann
8. Ronald Allridge
9. John Fearance Jr.
10. Karl Hammond
11. Vernon Satterwhite
12. Carl Johnson Jr.
13. Harold Joe Lane
14. Bernard Amos
15. Hai Hai Vuong
16. Esequel Banda
17. James Briddle
18. Leo Jenkins
19. Kenneth Granviel
20. Joe Gonzales
21. Richard Brimage Jr.
22. John Barefield
23. David Lee Herman
24. David Spence
25. Billy Woods
26. Kenneth Gentry
27. Benjamin Boyle
28. Ernest Orville Baldree
29. Terry Washington
30. Anthony Ray Westley
31. Clifton Belyeu
32. Richard Drinkard
33. Clarence Lackey
34. Bruce Callins
35. Larry Wayne White
36. Robert Madden
37. Patrick Roberts
38. Kenneth Harris
39. Davis Losada
40. Dorsie Johnson
41. Earl Behringer
42. David Stoker
43. Eddie James Johnson
44. Irineo Montoya
45. Robert West Jr.
46. James Carl Lee Davis
47. Jessel Turner
48. Benjamin Stone
49. John Cockrum
50. Dwight Adanandus
51. Ricky Lee Green
52. Kenneth Ransom
53. Aua Lauti
54. Aaron Lee Fuller
55. Michael Sharp
56. Charlie Lee Livingston
57. Michael Lockhart
58. Karla Faye Tucker
59. Steven Renfro
60. Jerry Lee Hogue
61. Joseph Cannon
62. Lesley Gosch
63. Frank McFarland
64. Robert A. Carter
65. Pedro Cruz Muniz
66. Clifford Boggs
67. Johnny Pyles
68. Leopoldo Narvaiz
69. Genaro Ruiz Camacho
70. Delbert Teague
71. David Castillo
72. Javier Cruz
73. Jonathan Nobles
74. Kenneth McDuff
75. Daniel Lee Corwin
76. Jeff Emery
77. James Meanes
78. John Glenn Moody
79. Troy Farris
80. Martin Vega
81. Jorge Cordova
82. Danny Lee Barber
83. Andrew Cantu
84. Norman Green
85. Charles Rector
86. Robert Excell White
87. Aaron C. Foust
88. Jose De La Cruz
89. Clydell Coleman
90. William Little
91. Joseph Stanley Faulder
92. Charles Daniel Tuttle
93. Tyrone Fuller
94. Ricky Blackmon
95. Charles Anthony Boyd
96. Kenneth Dunn
97. James Earhart
98. Joe Trevino
99. Raymond James Jones
100. Willis Barnes
101. William Price Davis
102. Richard Wayne Smith
103. Alvin Wayne Crane
104. Jerry McFadden
105. Domingo Cantu
106. Desmond Jennings
107. John Michael Lamb
108. Jose Gutierrez
109. David Long
110. James Beathard
111. Robert Atworth
112. Sammie Felder Jr.
113. Earl Heiselbetz, Jr.
114. Spencer Goodman
115. David Hicks
116. Larry Robison
117. Billy Hughes, Jr.
118. Glen McGinnis
119. James Moreland
120. Cornelius Goss
121. Betty Lou Beets
122. Odell Barnes Jr.
123. Ponchai Wilkerson
124. Timothy Gribble
125. Tommy Ray Jackson
126. William Kitchens
127. Michael McBride
128. James Richardson
129. Richard Foster
130. James Clayton
131. Robert Carter
132. Thomas Mason
133. John Burks
134. Paul Nuncio
135. Gary Graham
136. Jessy San Miguel
137. Orien Joiner
138. Juan Soria
139. Brian Roberson
140. Oliver Cruz
141. John Satterwhite
142. Richard Jones
143. David Gibbs
144. Jeff Caldwell
145. Ricky McGinn
146. Jeffrey Dillingham
147. Miguel Flores
148. Stacey Lawton
149. Tony Chambers
150. Garry Miller
151. Daniel Hittle
152. Claude Jones

It had to be said.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Think about it...

I was walking my dogs today and came across this great bumper sticker on a parked car.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Red Lake tragedy

The tragedy on the Red Lake Reservation happened here in my home state, so I've been trying to think of something profound to say about it, but I can't come up with anything. I could go into a rant about guns or the like, but it doesn't fit here.

The kid's friends should have said something when Weise was making threats, but they didn't. Hindsight is always 20/20.

In the end, it comes down to a horrible tragedy perpetrated by a troubled, stupid kid.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Pull the damn plug

I've said this to my fiance, my sister, and now everyone out there in blog-land: If I am ever rendered a vegetable, pull the damn plug.

I wrote this on J's blog:
I wonder how these people pick & choose which lives are "precious." Why is Schiavo's life worthy of saving, yet thousands of soldiers dying over a lie is not. What about the innocent on death row? If they want to fight for someone, fight for them.

Politically Incorrect Comment Alert:
This all started for Terri Schiavo because of complications from bulimia. Of all people, a bulimic would not want to be kept alive by a feeding tube!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Hello problem

I've been trying to post a picture with Hello/Picasa 2 for a couple of days now, but something must be wrong with their servers. What do you use to post pictures to your blog?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Boycott Canadian Seafood

Back in 9th grade, I saw a film in science class that showed baby seals being clubbed to death - in front of their mothers. It forever changed me. From that moment on, I was an animal rights activist (before they were even called that.) That was 26 years ago.

While I'm sure many of the people reading this do not agree with some aspects of the animal rights movement, I'm sure we can all agree on this issue.

Please read and sign this pledge. Thank you.

The Humane Society of the United States Protect Seals campaign

STOP Canada's Massive Seal Hunt

The 2005 Seal Hunt:

We're There to Stop It. The largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals on the planet will begin in late March. By the end of this year's hunt, more than 300,000 baby seals will have been brutally killed—many, incredibly, as young as 12 days old. The Humane Society of the United States will be on the front lines in Canada, reporting and videotaping events as they unfold and fighting to halt this atrocity. Stand with us today and stop the seal hunt forever.

Don't Buy While Seals Die:

Boycott Canadian Seafood. Help save the seals by signing the pledge below to boycott Canadian seafood. (Don't worry, once you've signed we'll tell you how to spot Canadian seafood.) We'll deliver your pledge to Canada's government so the politicians will know you've joined our international "Protect Seals" team to end this awful hunt."I pledge not to buy Canadian seafood products such as snow crabs, cod, scallops, and shrimp until Canada ends its commercial seal hunt for good."

Click here to sign The HSUS Pledge to Protect Seals

Please sign ASAP!

From John Kerry:

We are hours away from the vote to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the heat is on thanks to your efforts over the last 24 hours. A vote is expected around 1:00 PM EST and floor debate begins at 10:15 AM EST. Tune in and watch live on C-SPAN2.

In the last 24 hours we have seen an amazing display of our community's ability to quickly mobilize - and a passionate outpouring of commitment to the Arctic Refuge. And you got the attention of the Republicans too. In fact late last night Republican leaders came to the floor of the Senate to complain directly about our Citizens' Roll Call to stop this special interest giveaway.

So far, a quarter of a million citizens - more than 260,000 people, have signed our Citizens' Roll Call in support of the Cantwell-Kerry Amendment to prevent the oil drills from invading one of our greatest natural treasures. With the roll call vote in the Senate fast approaching TODAY, we must keep the pressure on - and our Citizens' Roll Call growing.

Sign the Citizens' Roll Call today:

With support from grassroots activists across the nation, we are running an online advertising campaign in six critical states that are home to the Republican senators who now hold the future of the Arctic Refuge in their hands.

If you haven't acted yet, please take ONE minute now to sign the roll call and, if you've already signed, use that minute to forward this message to friends and colleagues.The vote that could decide the future of the Arctic Refuge is going down to the wire. Let's keep working until we win. Your actions today are making a critical difference.


John Kerry

Monday, March 14, 2005

We the People...

While the right-wing Repubs continue to outrage & disgust me, the (we) Democrats/Greens aren't doing enough to get our messages across. Sure, it's great that Dubya's Social Security "plan" is going over like a lead balloon, but it's not enough...not nearly enough.

We need to do more. Anti-Bush t-shirts & bumper-stickers are all well & good, but it's not enough. Blogging is great, but it's not enough. Signing petitions, donating money & listening to Air America is great, but it's not enough.

Most of us, including myself, have never been an official volunteer for a political cause and I think that's part of the problem. It's time to do something and I'm not talking about knocking on doors and pestering people on the phone, because I know how much that bothers me.

I keep waiting for something or someone to rise up out of this and truly take the lead. Howard Dean outlined a plan, but is he out there promoting it? Not really.

We are the people. We need to take this country back from the greedy incompetent criminals that they are. How do we begin? Any ideas? (Just be careful about what you say, remember - they are here among us.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Cherished comments

I've decided to stick with commenting through Blogger, instead of using HaloScan. I noticed that after installing HaloScan, all of everyone's excellent comments disappeared. There is a way to manually retrieve them, but I wasn't up for the task. And, for now, it seems that Blogger's commenting system is working again.

I will post a regular blog entry soon. I'm taking a mini-break. Check back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Technical or worse...

Being that Blogger is having issues, it can only mean one of two things, either Blogger is having technical problems, or worse. Is it possible that they have penetrated our universe, and is trying to f*ck with us?

Comment problems

Is anyone else having problems posting comments on your own and/or other people's blogs? When I click "Post Comment," nothing happens. I've tried it on 2 different PCs.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

This pic always reminds me of the popular saying: "Snug as a Frenchie on a leather couch."

Friday, March 04, 2005

I stole the original cartoon from Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index , and changed it slightly.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

It's up to us

Here he is! Jeff Gannon's advertisement for sex.

From AMERICAblog: Comparing bloggers to Hunter S. Thompson by John in DC - 3/3/2005

Again, wow. I have to admit, I've never read his stuff. I really need to.

Several obits of the late Hunter S. Thompson described him as a precursor of today's bloggers. As The New York Times viewed it "his early work presaged some of the fundamental changes that have rocked journalism today. Mr. Thompson's approach in many ways mirrors the style of modern-day bloggers, those self-styled social commentators who blend news, opinion and personal experience on Internet postings. Like bloggers, Mr. Thompson built his case for the state of America around the framework of his personal views and opinions.

"Having spent the better part of the past two weeks in the blogosphere working on a column on Jeff Gannon and Talon "News," the comparison leaped out at me. Although many of the stories about Thompson described his behavior as outmoded and stuck in the '60s and '70s while Aspen and the rest of the world had moved on, he in fact made the conversion to the Web quite well. He wrote a column for and in 2002, Shift, a Canadian digital-culture magazine, named him, along with Matt Drudge, two of the top 25 Web personalities....

There is information on the blogs that is extremely helpful to advancing a story and journalists who ignore blogs are overlooking a huge resource. Media Matters, Americablog, Kos and their contributors plucked information about Gannon, Eberle, Rove, et al, quickly and disseminated it before Talon News and GOPUSA decided to remove it from their sites. The guerilla warfare continued last week when a conservative site, The American Spectator, put up a controversial ad attacking the AARP, which was then captured and circulated on the liberal sites, eventually making it to the MSM. By the time the MSM discovered the story, the Spectator had taken down the ad.

But, as Rosen says, bloggers are more than information providers. Their anger toward and distrust of the traditional media and the political establishment are palpable. After the Gannon column ran, I received hundreds of e-mails demanding to know why the msm was ignoring the story. One of the ways the mainstream has dissed the blogs has been to label them as having agendas and not being "objective." But that doesn't make their information wrong or their points of view irrelevant. Many bloggers are people who care passionately about public issues and who are frustrated that their viewpoints aren't expressed in public debate. The frustration became so great on the right that The Washington Times and Fox News were created and found a readymade audience.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005