Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging: Lena The Catlike

All week I tried to snap a "cute" picture of my roommate's other cat, Lena. The problem is that Lena is just not photogenic. She has shifty eyes and a tendency to sit somewhat like a kitler.

So this was best I can offer. Lena sleeping.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cheney Loves Fishing To Death

Today’s the last day of the Washington Post’s pretty interesting series on Cheney and this installment is about his hatred of the environment. I really want to be fair and not overstate or oversimplify what I’m sure are complex thoughts about the balance between environmental protectionism and short-term economic gains by corporations, farmers and recreational fishermen, but putting together the anecdotes there is no other way to see it. Cheney looks at nature as unprofitable unless it's being stripmined of its value. I don't mean that as sarcasm. I think if Cheney sees clear skies and blue water he'd think it's a reason to assume pollution controls are, in fact, too tight.

There’s a gorgeous picture of rotting fish inside the Post. It’s a nice little illustration about a trade off between the environment and farmers. (It’s not even a trade off between the environment and business, but between two kinds of businesses, fishing and farming.)
Other people can focus on the methods Cheney used to obtain his goals to water the farmers and kill the salmon in Oregon (short story, he coerced scientists to say removing water from the Klamath River wouldn’t seriously hurt the salmon and sucker fish population, see photo above). Here’s the description.

Months later, the first of an estimated 77,000 dead salmon began washing up on the banks of the warm, slow-moving river. Not only were threatened coho dying -- so were chinook salmon, the staple of commercial fishing in Oregon and Northern California. State and federal biologists soon concluded that the diversion of water to farms was at least partly responsible.

Last summer, the federal government declared a "commercial fishery failure" on the West Coast after several years of poor chinook returns virtually shut down the industry, opening the way for Congress to approve more than $60 million in disaster aid to help fishermen recover their losses. That came on top of the $15 million that the government has paid Klamath farmers since 2002 not to farm, in order to reduce demand.

But I’m less interested in looking at how Cheney did something than why he did it. He protected farmers in Oregon at the expense of other industries. Moreover protecting the fish would have provided other benefits to more than one business interest (tourism) and helped more than one species. While I imagine if I was one of those Oregon farmers I probably couldn’t see past the loss of my personal income. Who cares of fisherman and tourist-industry types get screwed if I’m not able to get by?

But the fact is Dick Cheney isn’t a farmer. He’s a so-called recreational fisherman. Which is why this anecdote and another really makes me wonder if he doubts the concept of extinction all together?

The Post’s article has another story where Cheney directly intervened to make sure that a threatened species of fish would still be on the market.

When the vice president got wind of a petition to list the cutthroat trout in Yellowstone National Park as a protected species, his office turned to one of his former congressional aides.

The aide, Paul Hoffman, landed his job as deputy assistant interior secretary for fish and wildlife after Cheney recommended him. In an interview, Hoffman said the vice president knew that listing the cutthroat trout would harm the recreational fishing industry in his home state of Wyoming and that he "followed the issue closely." In 2001 and again in 2006, Hoffman's agency declined to list the trout as threatened.
So there’s a species of fish, the cutthroat trout, which is rapidly losing numbers (hence the term “endangered”) but Dick Cheney, rather than taking note that the are less fish to go around so maybe it makes sense to cut back on fishing it for a while, needs to make sure that it’s still available for sport fisherman like himself.

And I have to ask, “why?” Why does he take these kinds of actions?

Here’s my best armchair psychology about why Cheney seems to love sport fishing to death. I think he fundamentally distrusts any scientific, environmental evaluation that comes from a non-industry person. You could be “Mr. Button-Down Scientist From The Environmental Protection Agency” and all he sees is a PETA-wannabe with hidden tie-dyed clothing and Birkenstock sandals.

This is Cheney’s reaction (from an aide) about why he took the steps he did against the Klamath River.

Cheney recognized, even before the shut-off and long before others at the White House, that what "at first blush didn't seem like a big deal" had "a lot of political ramifications," said Dylan Glenn, a former aide to President Bush.
“At first blush [it] didn’t seem like a big deal.” I’m sure someone told him that lowering the water levels was going to kill salmon and sucker fish. I’m sure that person probably wore a suit. Cheney just didn’t believe them or didn’t think it was a “big deal.” 77,000 salmon died (estimated), the Chinook industry collapsed and as a result $60 million had to be paid out to fisherman. And that was probably only one aspect of a result of the decision to allow the salmon and sucker fish to die.

It’s not just that Cheney sides with business over the environment. It’s that Cheney won’t trust anyone, anyone, other than a business to tell him what the impact on the environment a particular policy will have. And he won’t trust anyone other than a business guy because I think he fundamentally feels all environmental life scientists are smelly, dirty, hysterical patchouli wearing hippies.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why The “Cheney’s In Control” Stories Mean Libby Stays In Jail

A week ago a made a $20 bet with my brother that Scooter Libby would get pardoned soon. He might actually spend a little time in jail, but he was going to be pardoned in at least three months. My brother opted for the belief that Libby won’t be pardoned until Bush’s last day.

Then along comes this series by The Washington Post that, in more detail and color than has been collected before in one place, shows how Cheney and his aides run circles around the White House staff. Cheney never loses policy fights because Bush always takes his side. (Talk amongst yourself why that is).

But I’ve been thinking that this new fresh batch of “Cheney’s-the-real-power” stories is not going to sit well amongst those in the White House. There are egos in the White House that don’t like being made fools of.

I wish I could cover my bet with my brother because my new prediction is that Libby wears the orange jumpsuit long enough to show that Bush wants to make it clear that he doesn’t dance to anyone’s tune, even Cheney’s. Bush’s control freak nature is part of his need to assert his identity and prove he’s his own man and not the puppet of his daddy’s friends. He won’t like stories that show, once again, that he’s not the real guy in charge.

I also I bet Libby sits in jail because certain White House aides are going encourage it as payback for all those secret memos and jumps in the chain of command.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging: Take Back America Wrap Up

(This was one of the first good pictures I took of Al the deaf cat. Next Friday I’ll try to post one of his sister Lena who is, how do you say, less photogenic.)

I was trying to think of what else to say about Take Back America 2007. I only attended one panel, and it was the “Mainstream Media: Fair and Balanced?” and I think Rick Perlstein managed to notice something more interesting than what I saw.

I tend to get annoyed at the audience during these kinds of panels because there are always people who stand up and want to give a 10-minute rant to the targets of the “MSM” about “why don’t you guys cover this.” No question, and nothing that the individuals on the panel could actually answer for, just a chance to be yelled at for the collective sins of everyone who ever calls themselves a reporter.

If you want to get angry or ask a question as least ask something that say, Richard Wolffe of Newsweek or David Schuster of MSNBC actually said or did or espoused.

I was going to ask the panel (and Wolffe in particular) why not have a partisan press, along the lines of what exists in the U.K.? (He has sort of dismissed it in his opening remarks). Not a party press...where papers or media outlets are official mouthpieces of a party, but of a partisan—an ideological ideal—nature. This is a crucial distinction. Fox News is a party apparatus. Its ideology essentially shifts to defend Republican party lines. But The Washington Times or the Weekly Standard are conservative media outlets. Sometimes this means they will run in tandem with party ideals but sometimes they will cross.

Because it seems to me the concept of news evaluation, who’s got the best health care proposal, what is the implications of the immigration bill, etc, can only be evaluated if you share a similar outlook from the media outlet. What is “fair” coverage of a policy proposal? There’s no such thing because how one evaluates what’s “fair” means that there is some perfect version of a policy that the outlet looks to for comparison. Horserace coverage of presidential candidates stems from this same issue. Because the non-partisan media cannot use a partisan viewpoint to evaluate candidates they can only use non-partisan methodology which breaks down into categories like who’s got the most money, who’s got the most effective staff, who’s ahead in polling (all of which is ideologically neutral). But a partisan media outlet can actually evaluate a campaign and compare it to its set of ideals (which presumably the reader would align themself).
(Although, I this Slate Chatterbox column on the "health care primary" is a good start I still wonder what criteria Timothy Noah is using to evaluate Obama's plan.)

Talking to Dan Froomkin afterwards, he said “well the blogs are doing that.” And yes they are. But in the meantime everyone is still wondering about the breakdown of even the concept of a non-partisan press (with fewer and fewer people either believing it exists, or willfully misunderstanding the deficiencies).

Anyway this is a bigger topic than one post. Jay Rosen at Press Think has a curious experiment starting which may change how campaigns are covered. It’s not exactly what I would have envisioned but it’s a start.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Take Back America: Poll Results

Hmmm…the Politico’s poll seems to show that even lefty-progressives don’t really want Kucinich for president. The Take Back America conference-goer is even more to the left of the normal Democratic-primary voter and even in a straw poll Kucinich got only 5 percent. Even when people could “pick two” he still didn’t get many people’s votes.

Kucinich doesn’t even have support amongst those most likely to support him. Can we now stop letting him in the debates? (Yes I’m horribly elitist and undemocratic and this is only a straw poll).

Here's the full results (pdf) for those who are interested. So I see 727 people took the poll, how many attended the conference I wonder? By my calculation that would mean about 37 people voted for Kucinich?

Take Back America Conference Day Three (But Day Two For Me)

I managed to get to the conference early enough to hear Hillary Clinton speak. (Note to Campaign for America’s Future, the coffee was delicious, thanks!)

Hillary's speech was about her running against George Bush. It’s a “front-runner’s” speech. It’s not hard to make a favorable comparison between yourself and Bush but she’s not running against Bush, she’s running against Obama and Edwards and the other people. But that’s a front-runner’s prerogative. Don’t stand out, don’t make comparisons between yourself and other primary candidates because you don’t want to lose your lead.

But the line that caught my ear right away was that Hillary was blaming the Iraqis for the chaos in Iraq. I don’t have the exact transcription yet but you can see the video online yourself. It went something like “we gave them a chance and they didn’t lead, so it’s time for us to go.” Frankly I was surprised to hear her use that line of logic, which is a pretty neocon line of thinking. So she rightly got booed. So of course that *that* becomes the story “Hilary got booed for saying the military succeeded” and progressives have to spend effort defending either the booers, or progressives, or Hillary against the smear…so now we can’t spend time actually focusing on hitting her for using that line. Yes we can walk and chew gum at the same time but there’s only going to be one or two narratives about her speech which is already being formed.

I’m not at all that interested in having Hillary Clinton be the Democratic candidate but if she had decided to use her speech to say something surprising I might have reconsidered. She didn’t surprise me though. She made a speech to compare her future administration against Bush’s and then used a line of neocon logic to explain why we should leave Iraq. It was rather bizarre posturing. Yes she’d be better than Bush but would she be better for the country than Edwards or Obama (or Richardson, or Dodd)? That’s what I would like to hear her explain. But she won’t until she feels she not a front-runner anymore.

More later...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Take Back America Conference Day Two (But Day One For Me)

My organization bought a table at the Campaign For America’s Future “Take Back America” conference and I got roped into going. My only real hesitation about going is that last year I actually worked for Campaign for America’s Future and helped run the communications office at the conference. It’s a little odd to return to the conference and see all my ex-coworkers running around and not be a part of it. Hard not to be a tiny bit nostalgic.

My colleague and I didn’t get to the conference until very late in the day today, so we had already missed both Barrack Obama and John Edwards speak. I asked around and pretty much EVERYONE said Obama was awesome and a few people said Edwards' speech picked up towards the end but clearly Obama's was just better. More interesting to listen to, more energized, more organized in bringing his 10,000 supporters. This is why I’m convinced Obama is going to get the nomination and Edwards isn’t. Because everywhere I go, I see the Obama people. Heck even the Saturday farmer’s market at Courthouse Metro stop always has an Obama supporter’s table and no other candidate has that. Tomorrow my plan is to make sure I get there early to see Hillary speak. She’s got slotted at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. That was her people’s decision.

(None of this should be taken as an endorsement of either candidate, just an observation).

Anyway I was mostly a tourist at the conference but from talking to a few ex-coworkers they said it’s actually been a calmer and smoother than last year. There were some technological upgrades and improvements from last year I could tell (such as nice comfy couches and chairs in the exhibitor’s hall). And I think the Campaign for America’s Future website is actually really nicely integrated into the conference. (Trust me, I wouldn’t praise it if I didn’t mean it....) I haven’t really been in the place to comment on the programming of the conference, just the details of running it.

Anyway, some coolness I got to talk to Jen from Feministing since she used to work with my colleague at my current job. She makes lady number two from Feministing I’ve met in person, the other being Ann Friedman.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Long-Lost Relatives Weekend

There’s won’t be any Friday cat blogging because I’m getting up very early on Friday to spend a weekend at a family reunion. It’s kind of a special family reunion though. A long time ago I wrote (a completely boring) post about how my first cousin was contacted on MySpace by a strange girl with her exact same first and last name…which lead to the discovery of a long lost branch of the family.

So we’re having a big family reunion to meet all these new relatives. So no cats, just relatives.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Your $400 Can Buy You

Katha Pollit started a blog at The Nation and her first post is a corker!

Of Groceries, Abortions, and Nice, Classic Handbags

But a practical instance of what true poverty means was waiting for me in my inbox this morning, in the form of an email from Heather Robertson of the Equal Access Fund of Tennessee, which helps poor women pay for their abortions. Heather writes:
"I just received a very desperate plea from a local clinic for funding for a patient that I will be unable to help. Our fund has assisted 5 women this month and after giving this woman $200, we have depleted our funds without completely helping her at all.

$800 is also about what the Equal Access Fund has to give out each month to women in need-- money raised dollar by dollar through donations, eBay garage sales and fundraisers. Fortunately, as I've been writing this, Heather e mailed me to say that the $400 this woman still needs has been raised thanks to donations that came in through her e mail. But what about the next woman and the ones after that? $800 doesn't go very far -- it won't even let Gabby accessorize her outfit.

Mental note to self: I promised I would donate to the Equal Access Fund after payday. It’s a good clear example of how your dollars go directly to helping individuals in need.

Anyway in addition to wanting to pass along the gripping post by Katha, I’ve been kind of mixing it up in the comments section with another philosophical debate with anti-abortion people. There’s a small portion of posters who want to espouse the “life-is-life-is-life” belief. It’s all life after conception. I know because I read it in the King James bible crowd.

And I’ve been poking at them. No I can’t tell them their source material is doubtful (please, please, please anyone who wants to argue the Bible is the very word of God read Misquoting Jesus which is a basic primer on where the bible comes from. We all know the Bible wasn’t written in English, right? So whatever the origin, it’s been passed through men’s hands first, right? Which means it might not actually be divine, right? At least not every word. Not every passage.) because you can’t convince someone to change their beliefs from one thread discussion with a stranger. But if you want to argue that “the bible tells me so” then I’m still going to poke at that belief.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


As promised here is a drink recipe for Pineappletinis cocktails. I basically “stole” the recipe from a local bar which sells them as a Happy Hour drink. Pineapple rum was a little harder to find than I first thought, I’ve been using Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay.

I have to tell you, this drink is like candy. Super, super sweet. Diabetically sweet. There’s almost no sharp alcoholic flavor from the rum. I’ve been playing around with the proportions, but I find equal parts rum + pineapple juice work best. However I might try two-thirds rum and one-third pineapple juice because the rum is so sweet. Whatever the proportions you like, mix the two together and pour into a cocktail glass. Then pour a tiny amount of grenadine down one side of the glass so it collects on the bottom.

I may start posting periodic cocktail recipes. I also bought a “Drinking Liberally Mixology” book. (They didn’t print my submitted Fishbowl cocktail. Which I found it worked better visually in a cocktail glass than a punchbowl).

Other drinks I’ve written about: Pear Cocktail—although I haven’t actually tried it—and an “improved” Fuzzy Navel that I’m kind of iffy about. Now that I bought Licor 43 to make the above drink I’m trying to figure out what else I can use it for.

I have such an eclectic collection of liquors, here’s what is in my cabinet right now.

Absolut Vanilla
Absolut Peach
Astristocrat Vodka (four years old)
Triple Sec (just a few ounces)
Captain Morgan’s Private Stock (my friend bought that for my 30th and left it here)
Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Pineapple-flavored Rum
Sapphire Gin (but only an ounce and a half)
G.E. Massenez Crème de Peche
Licor 43

Anyone got ideas what I could make with these without buying anything new?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging: Cats and Tivo

Because Cats love Tivo...
Coming up stolen recipe for Pineappletinis. Taken directly from the Eleventh Street Lounge.

Time For A Beth Ditto/Dan Savage Feud

Dan Savage, who’s column and podcasts I generally enjoy as entertainment, has a bad history however whenever he opens up his mouth to comment about fat girls. But this time I think he might have taken on one “big” girl too many

Confidential to Beth Ditto: In New Musical Express you're quoted as saying, "If there's anyone to blame for size zero, it's not women. Blame gay men who work in the fashion industry who want these women as dolls." That's bullshit. If you want to blame something for size zero, Beth, blame cheap and abundant food. When food was scarce and most poor suckers were starving to death, fat bodies were the beauty ideal and skinny girls were oppressed. Now that food is plentiful and most dumb motherfuckers are eating themselves to death, skinny bodies are the beauty ideal and fat girls are oppressed. File it under "What goes around comes around." But take heart, Beth: Food may soon be scarce again, thanks to climate change, and fat girls will rule the runways.

And, Beth, if gay men had the power to dictate beauty ideals to impressionable straight men, we wouldn't order boys to lust after women—big or small, dieting or diabetic. We'd order them to lust after cock, Beth—big and small, dockable and undockable. (emphasis mine)
I think Ditto’s point has some merit. Designers hate designing for anything other than perfect bodies. Just watch the “everyday women” episode of Project Runway. And there are many different sources which will point out that the way food is sold and packaged in American society is designed to create fat people. We've gotten fatter because our society and culture have colluded together into making people fat, not because we're suddenly less dumb than we used to be.

Also “what goes around comes around?” Isn’t that what you say when someone gets what they deserve? What did fat or skinny women (in the distant past or present) *do* to deserve such treatment? (Gosh Dan, all those 17th Century peasant women are sorry they didn’t realize how they were fucking things up for the 21st century women!)

Normally when Dan makes harsh comments about fat women, it’s attacking the anonymous readers of his column. But this time he’s taking on someone with as much celebrity juice as himself (if not more). Beth, I hate to say it, but you gotta take up this feud for every woman out there who looks like yourself.

(Full disclosure: Over ten years ago I was Dan Savage’s radio intern. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy his column and still find him a bit of a jackass whenever he talks about fat women.)

Tony Perkins Must Be For Religious Discrimination, Right?

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council thinks that because gay men and women can choose their actions, therefore they aren’t like African-Americans who can’t change their skin color.

Unlike ethnicity, homosexual behavior is a choice. A person can choose to either participate in homosexual behavior or not to participate. An African-American cannot choose to participate in having black skin; they are born with it.
Perkins is reacting to New Hampshire’s Govenor John Lynch signing a bill to create civil unions, something which he touted as part of the state’s grand tradition opposing discrimination, dating back to the abolitionist movement. (By the way, yay New Hampshire!)

Of course Perkins is wrong to imply that gay men and women aren’t sometimes born the way they are, but in a tiny way he is right that gays, unlike blacks, can “pass” for straight if they really want to. They can hide their “differences” from sight.

Which makes discrimination based on sexual orientation look a heck of a lot like discrimination based on religious affiliation. No one knows I’m a Jew unless I tell them I am. I don’t have a Jewish last name and I don’t have stereotypical Jewish features. I guess I can hide my religion (in a closet if you will) so that no one will ever know. But let’s say my employer found out that a long time ago I mentioned to a shared colleague I attended a Batz Mitzvah. And because my employer doesn’t agree with the Jewish faith, suddenly he decides to fire me. No I didn’t wear a Star of David to work or try to convert my co-workers. In fact maybe I did everything I could to make sure my employer didn’t know I was Jewish precisely because I knew he would act that way.

But my secret got out anyways and now I’m out a job. Can someone ask Tony Perkins if being fired for being Jewish is any different than being fired for being gay? Sure I can choose not to practice my religion. Maybe I even have the option of converting to Christianity to keep my job. But that doesn’t mean I’m not…well...Christian in the way I think. And since American tradition isn’t to allow discrimination based on beliefs (as long as they don’t impact others), why is a gay person’s internal thoughts + private actions, any different than my internal religious thoughts + private religious practices? I have a “choice” not to be Jewish but that doesn’t mean I can be fired because I have that choice.

Hat tip to Slacktivist who has more to say.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blogging’s Back End

UPDATE: No sooner than I wrote this than I've had one of my most hits ever this week. Tips for new bloggers, posting your about your posts in related comment thread on other blogs seems to work very well to drive traffic. I realized in many ways I've been sitting back and waiting for other people to find my stuff and link to it. But it's not rude to promote yourself in the right places in a polite way. I know I'm simply learning the baby steps that every other blogger has already learned but sometimes you gotta learn the basics on your own.

Ever since I installed a statcounter on my blog I’ve been kind of fascinated with the information it gives me. I don’t know if other bloggers talk about their visitors rates, maybe it’s like talking about how much money you make or how much sex you have. No matter how many visitors to your blog, you’ll always have both more and less than others. May is the first full month I have with a complete record of my blog’s visitors. I had 455 "first time visitors." I averaged 14.74 visitors a day...but in reality it was more like between 10-15 on days I did nothing and 20-30 on days I blogged. My highest trafficked day was actually April 30 (due to this post) when I had 51 hits. (update, I've now easily broken that by more than 100 hits)

However, one thing I notice, with even a little bit of self-promotion, sometimes as little as just posting on other people's blogs, I can boost my numbers.

Its barely miniscule and yet, the thought that even five people a day are interested in reading something I’ve written makes me happy. And I also realize that its within my power to increase that number.

But here’s something that until I started running my own website I didn’t really pay attention to. Part of what’s fascinating about the backend of a blog is getting to see other people’s google searches. It’s like a tiny snippet into other people’s psyche. One thing I notice about my blog is that, not unexpectedly, I get people searching for West Wing, Aaron Sorkin and feud with bloggers. Adam Corolla and Loveline make my blog pop up a lot because it was the original purpose of my blogging. (Although I don’t listen to Loveline anymore, not even old episodes).
But it’s the google searches of a few words that pique my interest the most. I’m very curious what the seeker was looking for. Anyway I'm not sure if I'm violating a professional code of ethics showing this (it does seem like an invasion of privacy in a way) but here’s a few that lead to my blog.

“does eating blueberry induce spontaneous abortion?”
From someone in India, which leads to this page.

“real scenes of glamorous people”
From someone in Pakistan which lead to this page.

“calories in outback mashed potatoes”
From America which lead to the last of my non-scrubbed weight watchers pages

From America because apparently I have a soft spot for the word phenomenon

Other searches which turn up NewsCat.

“all women nuclear bunker movie”

“adam carolla rant on stamps”

Monday, June 04, 2007

Anti-Abortion Groups Infighting

I guess the anti-abortion groups are going through their own bit of in-fighting. Basically it comes down the purists who want abortion banned entirely right now and the slightly more realistic types like James Dobson, who understand movements aren’t won in a day. However, even the purists seem to understand you can’t always trust your allies on an issue. “Wow, you mean you’ve been using partial-birth abortion as a wedge to raise money for Republicans? We’re shocked!”

In [Brian Rohrbough, president of Colorado Right to Life]’s view, partisan politics is also involved.

"What happened in the abortion world is that groups like National Right to Life, they're really a wing of the Republican Party, and they're not geared to push for personhood for an unborn child -- they're geared to getting Republicans elected," he said. "So we're seeing these ridiculous laws like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban put forward, and then we're deceived about what they really do."
Purists exist in all movements but I don’t really think this is going to deeply fracture the anti-abortion movement when they realize what the term realpolitik means.

However even I was shocked when I read this quote from Focus on the Family vice president Tom Minnery.

Doctors adopted the late-term procedure "out of convenience," Minnery added. "The old procedure, which is still legal, involves using forceps to pull the baby apart in utero, which means there is greater legal liability and danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus. So we firmly believe there will be fewer later-term abortions as a result of this ruling."

So let me get this straight, Minnery, and by extension Focus on the Family, is gleeful because they managed to make sure that more women will likely be in danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus? I don't think I've ever read a quote from a so-called Christian group that is so openly happy about someone else's pain and suffering (which they'd hoped they caused). I wish Anthony Kennedy would read Minnery’s quote so he knows where the motivation for all those amicus briefs from anti-abortion groups stem from.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Collection Of Studio 60 Media Moments

Sometimes I think I am that apocryphal internet “hater” who just wants to see Sorkin fail. Oh wait, using the term apocryphal means I’m not exactly that type of internet hater. However considering I just watched an episode of Entourage that, if anything, was even more casually hateful towards women, one would think I need to spend time spreading my angry feminist writings on other TV writers.

That said I’ve been wanting to pull together some of the Best Moments In Studio 60 TV Public Relations for some a time.

Sorkin’s Interview with 25 TV writers where he once and for all nails his own coffin shut.
Here is the transcript but you can also, thanks to TV Barn, hear the exact tone of voice Sorkin uses to go after the LA Times. I swear I’ve heard Josh Lyman give a similar kind of speech on the West Wing.

Employee of the Month strikes back
Part of the fall out from Sorkin’s interview. Count me as one who really wished I could have seen Employee of the Month’s show on Studio 60. It sounded hilarious.

Here is their official response, which I love that their webpage says “once visited by Aaron Sorkin.” In addition to the official response a few of the EoTM cast has posted in various places about the diss. Here is Megan Lynn, here is Paul Ryan and here is Wayne Ford.

Also here is Kevin Levine who was quoted in the original LA Times article by Deborah Netburn about Employee of the Month’s show that got Sorkin so angry.

Personally I think it was the Pahrump, Nevada episodes that put the show horribly overbudget and really were the point of no-return. He had a shiny-new set and seven episodes into his new series he couldn't wait to go location? What hubris.

The Rise And Fail Of Studio 60 And Aaron Sorkin

With NBC burning off the last remaining episode of Studio 60, my Monday Thursday nights are back to a favorite pastime, exploring Aaron Sorkin’s id and super-ego. My roommate has asked me why this show of all the bad shows in existence makes my fists clench and blood boil, and if so, why am I committed to watching it? Readers of my blog know that in fact I think the TV show 24 might be responsible for an even more horrible fact, making torture seem necessary and acceptable to the general public. Whereas Studio 60’s biggest crime against humanity is espousing misogyny and probably racism (with the Simon/Darren plotline), of which there’s already plenty of that in the world. I doubt Sorkin’s little show is actually going to make the world a worse place with his art. (Compare that to 24 from which actual presidential candidates say things like “That’s when I call Jack Bauer” ... to do some torturing...)

I tried several times to write a post about Sorkin’s show. But I can’t. There’s just too much to talk about. Sorkin, more than any other TV show runner I know talks back to the audience with his art. But unlike say Carlton Cruse and J.J. Abrams, when he talks back to his audience its to hurl insults at those who are paying attention. (Although sometimes I wonder if he thinks he’s being too clever by half and getting those insults under the radar?)

So in the end my only response is to repost this brilliant and downright scathing scene from The Soup. It says much of what I would want to say, only better and funnier.

Edited to add another video clip because you never say "Aaron Sorkin writes pretentiously" too much.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging With Links!

I know I've been remiss in posting. Actually I have not one, not two, but three half-written posts that I've never been quite happy enough to put up. So in lew of finishing them here are some thought-provoking links.

*Washington Post story highlights a teenage track-star's photos being splashed everywhere without her consent. Basically the internet allows everyone to feel free to make her into into a sex object which they are okay to comment on. I was going to write that this is like hearing the public's id. We don't really want walk around hearing everyone's most base thoughts about us.

*AddieStan asks, quite rightly, if we do leave Iraq like some people want (to save American lives) then what can we expect will happen in Iraq? It's not about staying and winning or leaving and losing, but that doesn't mean leaving won't change things for Iraqis, and neither side is honestly talking about that. The answer might not preclude pulling out of Iraq, even if it means the situations gets worse for Iraqis, but for god's sake let's at least acknowledge that leaving will have an effect. (I'm agnostic on the pull-out question, something my post was going to grapple with).

*Ann at Feministing busts some bullshit on the Judicial Watch's recent press release on the dangers of the HPV vaccine. I was going to ask exactly how cynical is Judicial Watch? Do they honestly believe HPV vaccine doesn't work or are they afraid it does work and then will lead to more sex (which they want to prevent)? Have they asked themselves what their true goal is in putting out that press release? Does Judicial Watch think the risks of HPV (cancer) are lower than the risks of taking the HPV vaccine? Have they asked themselves whether the vaccine, which might carry some risk as do all vaccines, is a better risk to take than the risk of getting cervical and throat cancer? Have they even thought about this or are they like a morally-inert controversy-seeking missile, indifferent to the ethical quandry of the implications of their arguments. What would Judicial Watch do if an HIV vaccine was developed that might lead to more sex, of both the straight and gay kind? Would they work to depromote it based on sheer principle that STDs are morally useful diseases?