Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Limbaugh is right!

For once I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh in his latest shot across Obama's bow says that "...if he [Obama] fails America is saved. Barack Obama's policies and their failure is the ony hope we've got to maintain the America of our founding" That's true. If the nation as it was founded in slavery, a nation in which only propertied white men could vote and participate in its democracy - then it's quite true Obama must fail and the racist, sexist Limbaugh-led Republican Party must succeed.

One other Limbaugh note: He says he is going to sell his New York City apartment (good luck with that) and not come back to New York City again because of new taxes on rich people like him. I can only cheer a Limbaugh-less city.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

N.Y. Post's Mushnick's silly column today

It's becoming ridiculous the extent to which critics of the President are going to indict him for anything they can latch on to. In this weekend's N.Y. Post TV WEEK Phil Mushnick berates the President and the"hard left" media once again for his "horrifying" gaffe two weeks ago on Jay Leno regarding the Special Olympics. Mushnick starts off by establishing his own liberal bona-fides:
As a registered Democrat since the age of 18 and a newspaperman since I was 20, I never wanted to believe, as I suspected, that the news media for the most part leans hard left.  
I dont know exactly what the "hard left" is. Having been on the left most of my political life (unlike Mushnick I have not been a registered Democrat,except in 1984 & '88) I have never known what the O'Reillys, Mushnicks and other hard right "journalists" mean by "hard left."

Although I think the President's remark was ignorant and unfortunate, it's hard to understand how it can be described as "horrifying." I doubt that even the Special Olympians or "an entire population of unfortunates and their loved ones" measured the media's coverage of the President in these terms. I suspect most Special Olympians and "their loved ones" are pulling for the President to succeed, unlike Phil Mushnick. When Mushnick compares how the media treats this presidential gaffe as opposed to how it would have treated it when G.W.Bush was president, he gives away his secret purpose in writing this column. He is interested in showing how the "hard left" media favors Obama over W. If Mushnick or anyone else thinks the "hard left" media needed a remark like this (careless, but hardly "frightening") to "bash [W] for "first degree insensitivity" they are forgetting all the post-Katrina "great job, Mike!" comments to think anyone would need an unfortunate, but hardly "frightening" comment by Obama. This kind of foolishness so characterizes the "hard Right" today that it becomes more-and-more foolish.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March Madness 2009: 3

Contested Terrain Live Blog March Madness 2009

So here's the 2009 Final Four: I'm rooting for a UConn v. No. Carolina  championship game on Monday April 6th. Meanwhile, thy each have to win another game for that to happen.

April 4th  6:07 PM


Mich St

April 4th  40 min. after first game  


No. Carolina

So we now have three out of the final four: UConn will play Michigan State who soundly beat overall tournament #1 Louisville today (64-52) and Villanova (in its first final four since 1985) will face the winner of the Oklahoma/ UNC game, which is being played now.

Oklahoma        60

No. Carolina    72 (final)  

Sorry I missed the first game. We were in the air and as you know they don't let you get on line while the plane is in the air. Anyway we're home afe and sound. 

3/28         4:40PM

Conn 82 (final)

Missouri 75

3/28           7:05

Pittsburgh 76 (final)

Villanova 78


2:20 PM


Mich. St.


No. Carolina


Well, here we are again - March Madness, the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight. I'm going to try to live blog it all, but we're in Lincoln, Neb. today (Thurs) and tomorrow (Fri) and traveling back to New York Saturday (that will be the most difficult) and Sunday at home.

So, three out of my four favorites (Michigan, Texas and Temple) lost last weekend, only UConn survived to fight another day. I'll try to make some better selections this time around.

Here's the Thurs. - Fri. schedule: (if you want info on last week go to:

My choices are marked wih a *

Yesterday (Thurs)

7:07 PM #1 Conn* 72 (final)

#5 Purdue 60

7:27 PM #1 Pitt* 60 (final)

#4 Xavier 55

9:37 PM #3 Missouri *102 (Final)

#2 Memphis 91

9:57 PM #3 Villanova* 77 (tinal)

#2 Duke 46

Well I'm bragging about my four victories last night!
We'll see if I can keep it up tonight

Today (Fri):

7:07 PM #1 Louisville 103 (final)

#12 Arizona* 64

7:27 PM #3 Syracuse* 71

#2 Oklahoma 84 (final)

9:37 PM #3 Kansas 62

#2 Michigan St.* 67 (final)

9:57 PM #1 No. Carolina* 96 (3:00)

#4 Gonzaga 68

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

April 3 & 4: March On Wall street: Bailout People Not Banks

In news from Capitol Hill, [according to today's Democracy Now] independent Senator Bernie Sanders is attempting to block President Obama’s nominee to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs employee. Sanders said Gensler had worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of AIG and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in US history. He also worked to deregulate electronic energy trading, which led to the downfall of Enron. Sanders said, “We need an independent leader who will help create a new culture in the financial marketplace and move us away from the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior which has caused so much harm to our economy.”

Vermont Senate votes to legalize same-sex marriage

According to this morning's Democracy Now: Vermont Senate Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
The Vermont Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to legalize same-sex marriage. If the bill becomes law, Vermont will become the first state to legalize same-sex marriage without being forced to do so by the courts. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports several other New England states are moving forward with similar bills. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is set to vote on the issue later this week. Next month a legislative panel in Maine will hold a hearing on a bill to allow gay couples to marry, just as lawmakers did last month in Rhode Island. Same-sex marriage is already legal in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Off with their heads?"

The latest news that 10 out of the 15 top AIG-bonused executives and 9 out of the top 10 have agreed to return their ill-gotten-gains has the anti-bonus crowd in Congress qvelling (gloating) at having tamed these Wall Street-Pompadours. After all didn't these Congress members step into the arena to defeat the failed executives who have gotten bonuses. But the real question is haven't the politicians and the media used the anger against the AIG-rewarded executives directed attention away from the real problem of which AIG is only the symptom? The AIG executives - as incompetent and vaneglorious as they may be - would never have gotten those bonuses if it weren't for the over all Wall Street "let them eat cake" culture. Remember the words of Wall Street's Gordon Gekko: "Greed is good." And that is the essence of Wall Street (maybe capitalism's) culture.

Ann's session

Getting ready to photograph Ann's session ("juggling it All - Small Grantsmakers and Time Management") at the annual Grants Managers conference in Denver.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Madness: live blog

Well once again March Madness is upon us (and I don't mean the AIG bonuses) Here are the teams in as close a version of the brackets that I can come up with. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended) on how it all goes. Tuesday it all started for real. Morehead State (#16) qualified to play Louisville (#1) in the mid-west region on Friday. In the history of the NCAA tournament no #16 team has ever beaten a #1. Last Tuesday Morehead State won the right to face Louisville: Morehead State 58
Alabama State 43.

My favorites are Michigan, Conn., Temple and Texas. Well we'll see.

Opening Round Game
March 17
16Alabama St. 58
16Morehead St. 43

Sorry for the failure to complete the weekend's activity. We were in Boulder, Colo. Saturday/Sunday and didn't have internet access. Yesterday we arrived in Denver (the Grand (sic) Hiatt Hotel) were we found out that we had to pay ($9.99 per day) for internet access. We reluctantly decided to pay, but learned several significant lessons: (1) After I bitched at them about the lousy customer relations this ripoff this charge represented, they decided to give us one day access free (of course it should all be free; (2) We should always ascertain whether a hotel charges for internet access and if it does we should simply stay somewhere else; (3) When I was bitching to the desk-person an about the access charge, he said when other hotels in Denver began charging for access, the Hiatt also did. The Hiatt, if it were really concerned about its patrons, it could have decided to stand up and not charge for access. Wouldn't that have been a great marketing decision. Always acceding to the worst decisions of your business competitors isn't a smart way of doing business. In sum, always bitch, you might get something free and always check on free or pay internet access before choosing a hotel.

Well, anyway, here's the weekend at a glance. I hope to do better next weekend. Thursday & Friday we'll be in Lincoln, Neb. and Saturday (3/28) back to home sweet access.


1 Louisville         74
16Morehead St  54                    Louisville  79

8 Ohio St.    72                           Siena          72      Louisville   
9 Siena         74 (2OT)

5 Utah         71
12 Arizona  84                           Arizona         71     Arizona

4 Wake Forest    69                 Wake Forest  57
13 Cleveland St.  84

6 West Virginia 60
11 Dayton            68                    Dayton    43

3 Kansas             84                    Kansas      60            Kansas
14N. Dakota St.  74

7Boston Coll.       55
10Southern Cal.   72                   Southern Cal.  69     Michigan St.

2Michigan St.       77                  Michigan St.      74
15Robert Morris  62



1 Connecticut       103               
16 Chatanooga       47                Connecticut    92

8 BYU             66                        Texas A&M     66       Connecticut (Thurs. 7:07 PM)
9 Texas A&M 79                        

5 Purdue                61                   
12 Northern Iowa 56                  Purdue         76           Purdue

4 Washington      71                  Washington    74
13 Mississippi St 58

6 Marquette         58       
11 Utah State        57                  Marquette      79

3 Missouri      78                      Missouri           83          Missouri
14 Cornell       59


7 California  71                          
10 Maryland 84                        Maryland       70           Memphis  (Thurs. 9:37 PM)                   

2 Memphis 81                           Memphis        89
15 Calif St Northridge 70



1Pittsburgh    72                         
16E. Tenn. St. 62                         Pittsburgh        84

8Oklahoma St. 77                       Oklahoma St.   76     Pittsburgh (Thurs 7:27 PM)
9Tennessee       75

5Florida St.   59                          
12Wisconsin  61 (OT)                  Wisconsin   49          Xavier                               

4Xavier             77                          Xavier         60
13Portland St.  59  


6UCLA          62                              
11Va Comm 54                                UCLA          69

3Villanova       80
14American     67                           Villanova     89          Villanova (Thurs 9:57PM)

7Texas 76                                        
10Minnesota 62                              Texas  69                    Duke

2Duke 86                                         Duke    74
15Binghamton 54



1North Carolina 101                      
16Radford 58                            No. Carolina   84      No. Carolina

8LSU 75                                     LSU                  70
9Butler 71

5Illinois            72                                                   
12Western Ky. 76                           Western Ky.      81        Gonzaga

4Gonzaga 77                                    Gonzaga             83
13Akron 64


6Arizona St. 66                                 
11Temple       57                                 Arizona St.   67

3Syracuse                   59                   Syracuse        78      Syracuse
14Steph.  F. Austin   44


7Clemson 59
10Michigan 62                                 Michigan        63        Oklahaoma

2Oklahoma 82                                Oklahoma        73
15Morgan St 54.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Watchmen: A review

Well Andrew and I saw Watchmen and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

First of all it confirms a long-held belief of mine that not everything has to be made into a film. But if you are going to make a well-beloved classic into a film, the film should do more than the original does. Watchmen doesn't. But I am really glad we saw it. It is one of the most visually extraordinary films I have seen. It is also, unfortunately, one of the most violent. It's actually two separate films (as is the book, two separate books). One, which is a parody of superheroes, which was perhaps more relevant in 1985 than it is today, the other is a philosophical dissertation on nuclear war. The first is what makes Watchmen fun; the second is sophomoric.

The Watchmen are a group of mostly-retired masked crime fighters. In Nixon's fifth term masks were made illegal. The story is set off by the murder of one of the group - Edward Blake "The Comedian" (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) - the murder is discovered by the other psychotic of the group - "Rorschach"/Walter Kovacks (Jackie Earl Haley). Rorschach's mask is an ever-changing ink blot. (I think his mask is my favorite part of the movie.) Rorschach visits each of the others to tell them about The Comedian's murder and to warn them about a list which may be targeting them. As Rorschach travels from one to the other, we meet the other Watchmen: "Ozymandias," the only one who's identity has been made publicly known as Adrien Veidt (Matthew Goode), known as the smartest man in the world (also one of the richest) and "Dr. Manhattan"/Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup) - the only genuine super-hero in the lot due to a nuclear accident which has left him with superpowers. When Rorschach visits Manhattan second generation Watchmen, Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II (Malin Ackerman) is with him. Her mother Silk Spectre/Sally Jupiter (Carla Gugino) was part of the original group of masked crime fighters. And lastly, the other second-generation masked crime fighter Nite Owl II/Dan Dreiberg (Patrick Wilson).

So the mystery of Watchmen is who killed The Comedian and why. If you've read the book, you already know the answer. If you haven't, you will find out what is really going on. For a while Rorschack focuses on a suspect, Moloch (Matt Frewer), one of their old enemies. But it's all more complicated than that. A secondary story revolves around the love triangle: Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl II and who ends up with who. When Manhattan and Silk Spectre II break up, he goes off to Mars to find himself.

Remember, Watchmen is at its heart a send-up of superheroes. For example, when Laurie and Dan are together and they try to have sex, Dan (Nite Owl II) can't get it up - but wait. They put on their superhero costumes, get in his plane and save a bunch of people from a fire. When they get back to his house, they have hot sex to the tune of Leonard Cohen's great "Hallelujah." Amazing what you can do with the right costume. And don't forget perhaps the most commented on part of the film, the big blue guy's (Manhattan) nudity and ample endowment.

But all that aside, the main message of Watchmen is that we can control nuclear devastation by finding an enemy that both the U.S and the Soviet Union (remember it's the 80s) can join together and target instead of each other. The death of thousands of New Yorkers is an acceptable loss. Sounds like the justification for Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it's not acceptable.

Well what to say: one of the most talked about films of the year isn't doing very well at the box office. Last week it sold $85.9 million. This week it was down to $18 million. That's quite a drop.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On some early Watchmen reviews

I haven't seen Watchmen yet, but I have read the review by J. Hoberman in this week's Village Voice. It's at best a mixed review. Hoberman says: "Watchmen is neither desecratory disaster nor total triumph." "... director Zack Snyder has managed to address the cult while pandering to the masses." After noting that Snyder and his writers "slightly" changed the ending, he says: "Watchmen doesn't lack for self-confidence or even entertainment value. Its failure is one of imagination ... the filmmakers are unable to teleport themselves to the level of the original concept." He concludes in much the same vein: "For all its superficial fidelity, Snyder's movie stands Moore's novel on its head, trying to reconstruct a conventional blockbuster out of those empty capes and scattered shards."

Not promising but we'll see for ourselves.

A quite different review from Harry Knowles on his Ain't it Cool News site says:
I WATCHED THE FUCKING WATCHMEN AND FUCKING LOVED IT! It isn’t the perfect 5 hour wet dream that I always dreamt of, but I love it. I can’t wait to see the dialogue you all have with this film, with each other and with us here at AICN. This was fucking awesome!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Jimmy Fallon's first late-night TV show

OK! I'm watching the first Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. So far, about 45 min. into it, it's awful. In case you don't know, Fallon is replacing Conan OBrien on Late Night, while Obrien goes out to LA to replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show (you remember Johnny Carson, who did it for 30 some odd years).

I should say I've never been a fan of Conan Obrien, but he did try to bring a new sensibility to late night talk shows. I never thought he was very funny, but he kept pushing the late-night envelope and that's always worth doing. Fallon's first night guests are Robert DiNiro and Justin Timberlake. The only reason I could figure out why they were on the show was to promote their latest endeavors. DiNiro was promoting the Tribecca Film Festival and Timberlake was promoting a new MTV show that sounds terrible, it sounds like a new version of Punked (Never one of my favorite shows). The last guest, Van Morrison, almost saved the show, but not because of Fallon, only because Morrison is extraordinary. I mean think about it. Robert Diniro, Justin Timberlake and Van Morrison: who is he trying to appeal to?

I should say that when Obrien (who began the show in Fallon's dressing room) was awful when he began and became a late-night success. That's why NBC gave him the Leno time slot and then had to give the 10pm slot to Leno (five nights a week). In other words, NBC is going from ER to Jay Leno, talk about the deterioration of prime-time TV. If NBC didn't give Leno the 10pm slot, he would probably would have done a show in competition with Obrien's new show. That's all about the machinations of network TV and they wonder why they're losing audiences.

So anyway, Fallon no! But I'll check back next week. Maybe he'll be better. But I'm not optimistic.

CODEPINK Int'l Womens' Day Events

CODEPINK is cosponsoring The Nation's panel:
"Meltdown: The Economic Collapse and a People's Plan for Recovery"

Friday, March 6th at 8:00pm,
(doors open at 7:15pm)

New York Society for Ethical Culture,
2 West 64th Street

The panel speakers include Naomi Klein, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., and Christopher Hayes.

This event is free!

Co-sponsors: The New Society for Ethical Culture, Public Concern Foundation, Democracts.com, Democracy Now!, Haymarket Books, CODEPINK NYC.

This year on International Women's Day CODEPINK will honor Afghan sisters by hosting a film screening, small craft fair and panel
followed by the 2nd annual concert
with NOUR,
(a middle-eastern folk ensemble!)
This is a blessed, beautiful day to honor women around the world- so come out and honor this day with CODEPINK!

Afghan Women: A History of Struggle
Panel discussion and benefit concert

12:30pm: doors open; Afghan Craft Sale begins
1:00 pm Film Screening followed by panel discussion with the filmmaker Kathleen Foster, Professor Fawzia Afzal-Khan, and Fahima Vorgetts from Women for Afghan Women

Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, NYU Law School,
40 Washington Square South

RSVP: This is a free event but the seating is limited.
Please RSVP to codepinknyc@gmail.com

Co-sponsors: NYU Law Students for Human Rights, NYU Law Students for Reproductive Justice, NYU Law Women


Eisner Lubin Hall in the Kimmel Center, New York University,
60 Washington Square South

Benefit for CODEPINK Women for Peace and Doctors Without Borders http://www.myspace.com/nourmusic

RSVP for Non-NYU (Guests): Guests can purchase tickets at the day of the event at Ticket Central (Kimmel Center, 2nd Floor, 60 Washington Square South) for $10 non-NYU student and $20 guests.
Guest will also have the option to reserve a ticket in advance for $7 non-NYU student and $15 guest.
To reserve guest tickets in advance, please RSVP to codepinknyc@gmail.com

(NYU students and staff can either purchase tickets in person at Ticket Central
(Kimmel Center, 2nd Floor, 60 Washington Square South)
or purchase online through NYU Home/ NYU Life/Ticket Central. NYU student: $5 advance / $7 day of the event, NYU staff : $10 advance /
$15 day of event.

March 8: Int'l Working Women's Day March and Rally

On International Working Women’s Day
Uphold the Legacy of Women's Resistance
Bail Out Women and our Communities

SUNDAY, MARCH 8, Rally 1:00 p.m.
Union Square
(14th & Broadway)
Everyone is welcome

2:00 p.m. - march

3:30 p.m.--Kimmel Building, (site of recent, NYU
occupation) Washington Square South & LaGuardia Place

4:00 p.m. Ending Ceremony at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial
(Site of 1911 fire that killed 146 women workers and girls)
Corner of Washington Sq. Place & Greene St.

Sign the women’s bill of rights at the rally. Add your own demands.

For information & leaflets call 212.633.6646

Sponsored by Int’l Working Women’s Day ‘09 Coalition
c/o Solidarity Center
55 W. 17th St., 5th Fl,