Saturday, April 03, 2010
Here's a senior Vatican priest, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, talking about the church's sexual abuse scandals before Pope Benedict at a Good Friday service:
"I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."
He claims to have been quoting a letter written by an unnamed Jewish friend.
So, the Vatican spends Good Friday, the day of the supposed crucifixion of Christ, morally equating the attacks on the Catholic Church for the institutional covering-up of sex crimes against children... with the Holocaust?
(Actually, the Vatican has released a statement that Father Cantalamessa's sermon was not an official Vatican statement, but until the Vatican actually condemns the abuse of children and offers an apology and to comply with the legal investigation into that abuse, I don't give a flying fart in space how they tap dance. Plus, the remarks were printed in the Vatican's newspaper.)
David Clohessy, an advocate for sexual abuse victims in the US, gets it right: he's quoted in the article thusly: "Men who deliberately and consistently hide child sex crime are in no way victims. And to conflate public scrutiny with horrific violence is about as wrong as wrong can be."
I don't expect the Pope himself to say anything about it, considering his history with the Jews, both as Pope and as a former Nazi.
You know what all of this lunacy reminds me of? It reminds me of that episode of South Park where the boys met those guys from NAMBLA, and the NAMBLA guys kept talking about how society frowns upon their way of life, to which the boys keep adding "But... you fuck kids!" That's how I feel every time someone from the Church (or apologist groups like the Catholic League) try to make the issue about how everyone just wants to attack the Catholic Church for no reason.
But... you fuck kids.
Frankly, at this point, what the US really should do with this is cut ties with Vatican City, since it is its own sovereign nation. The Pope should not be allowed back in this country until he agrees to cooperate with criminal investigations into a policy he created and made official in regards to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. Of course, the US government will never do that, because religious status will always trump the law. I guess because it would be rude, or something.
How, Lord, how could I have forgotten all about Picture Pages? This was a staple of Pinwheel, which was a staple of my childhood. I'm just... stunned that I had forgotten all about this, especially since I'm sure it's one of the many things that inspired me to draw so much when I was a kid.
Friday, April 02, 2010
I can't wait to see how this turns out: a group of artists, creators, etc. who have become very jaded with the annual trade show that Comic-Con has become every year are now pushing for an alternative: Creator-Con. The discontent is palpable: over 2000 people have joined the Facebook page in the first week. I am absolutely in favor of this idea. I always used to be sorry that I couldn't go to Comic-Con in San Diego, but watching it from afar it looks like the focus has shifted completely from comics creators and artists (and fans) to something hijacked by the entertainment industry to use as a preview for upcoming movies and video games.
:: My opinion of Jesse James is that he can go fuck himself, but that's non-specific. I thought that before this latest scandal. Guy just rubs me the wrong way. I do think it's hilarious that he's going to sex addiction rehab, though. It's the catch-all excuse du jour.
:: Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin is a career soldier. And I don't spit on that, ever. Anyone who has put their lives in danger for the protection of their country is brave, case closed. And he's an Army physician, which is a noble calling.
However, aside from that, completely apart from the potential sacrifice Lt. Col. Lakin is willing to make... inviting your own court-martial by disobeying orders because you think President Obama isn't a US citizen is the willfully stupid act of a supreme dunce.
:: So, now that Obama is the one proposing offshore drilling, Republicans are against it. In other news, the sun rose today.
The price of oil and gas is going up again, by the way. Not because of demand or a shortage, but because the cocksuckers on Wall Street are artificially driving it up with speculation. It's a response to oil consumption going down. There is no sector of American life that these unregulated assholes aren't going to lay waste to.
:: I said Muqtada al-Sadr was going to end up in charge of Iraq a couple of years ago, and with this special vote taking place, that's probably going to happen. So, ultimately, we removed someone hostile to the US and are going to see him replaced with someone hostile to the US. Who could have predicted that? Other than history, I mean?
:: Geithner said that unemployment "is going to stay unacceptably high for a very long time." Everything he says sounds like the entire government just throwing up their hands and claiming there's nothing they can do. Where's our jobs program, guys? You're the fucking government. You have a responsibility to do something.
:: The first challenge to the Affordable Care Act came just two days after it was signed, as insurance companies decided to dither over the language when it comes to denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Does that star immediately, or in 2014? Doesn't the fact that there was even an argument show anyone the true motives of the insurance industry? These people have to be ordered to issue insurance coverage to children. This is not a system that works, even with the band-aid that's just been stuck to the gaping flesh wound by Congress.
And if you don't think every insurance regulation in the bill is going to be challenged by the insurers, you're crazy. And my guess it that unless they all make the papers like this one did, the insurers are going to win more often than they lose.
It's not like they enforce the old regulations, anyway.
:: So, let me get this straight: your sex life is a concern of the Catholic Church, but their sex lives are none of your business. Is that right? Are we really still letting an organization riddled with pedophilia lecture us and affect our legislation when it comes to abortion and anything to do with a woman's body?
Did you hear recently about the woman in Nicaragua who has cancer and can't get treatment because she's 8 weeks pregnant? She could get an abortion in order to get her life-saving chemotherapy, but because a woman's life is apparently meaningless when compared to the future of a fertilized egg, she is basically condemned to death. Or how about the 9 year-old Brazilian girl who was raped by her stepfather whose mother is threatened with excommunication if she gets her daughter, now pregnant with twins, an abortion? And then there's the threat that all Catholic social services to the poor will be removed from the District of Columbia if they offer insurance benefits to married same sex couples.
This is all supported by a Church that just can't keep its hands off of children, thinks the embarrassment of the clergy is more important than the sick abuse of little kids, and would rather see people--especially women--die than be taught about contraception and safe sex.
When is our government going to stop giving these people a voice in legislation?
:: Obama the candidate, 17 July 2007: "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Obama the president, 24 March 2010: signs an executive order affirming his commitment to the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment. Man, I wish Obama the candidate were president. Instead, it's someone else I don't recognize and probably wouldn't have voted for.
:: I know I'm not the only person who thinks the newest crop of right wing militant terrorists trying to dismantle the government would be hilarious if it weren't so stupidly dangerous.
First we get this asshole who flies his plane into an IRS building in Austin, something the Republicans (including wonder boy Scott Brown, Ted Kennedy's replacement, who is something of an idiot) try to morally equivocate instead of outright condemn. Funny, when bin Laden flies a plane into a building, they get angry. When one of their own does it, no so much.
The we have the far-right militia asshole who thinks he's leading some kind of charge against a tyrannical government, all while living off of government disability checks. So, big government is bad, or... what? (To say nothing of any Teabaggers who only have time and funds to chase Sarah Palin around the country because they're on similar government welfare, and who seem to have no idea that their Medicare is government-funded, apparently because they're stupid.)
Oh, and there's Silly Sarah herself, the one people should be comparing to Hitler (he was an idiot figurehead at first, too), talking directly to the stupid and the ignorant and telling them their stupid ignorance is really patriotism and patriotism takes the form of stopping people with Obama bumper stickers and giving them a talking to. Can't wait to see what happens in this country when that gets someone killed. I'm sure she'll do what the right has been doing for the last week and blame liberals for either purposely sabotaging their "movement" (if you can call something to unorganized and random a movement) or invoking that "there's violence on both sides" lie or simply telling everyone who isn't a crazy moron that it's their fault for stoking the crazed moronic fire.
We also have a GOP Congressional candidate, Stephen Fincher, who is out doing the usual rhetoric about the evils of big government and how the almighty free market (which we don't even really have in this country) is the answer to all of our problems, all while collecting $200,000 a year in farm subsidies. Hey, just like Michele Bachmann! Of course, the Tebagging rubes are eating this shit up, claiming that farm subsidies aren't an issue, despite Fincher's total hypocrisy.
We have a doctor in Florida, Jack Cassel, who refuses to treat patients who voted for Obama. So much for the Hippocratic Oath, I guess.
And then there are these Hutaree assholes who wanted to kill a cop and then kill other cops at his funeral as a way of bringing down the government, a plan that seems more inspired by Batman comics than anything else. The right wing came out to support these fuckheads, saying things like "wanting to start a civil war is not a crime" (the idiot at Classical Values) and "the timing seems convenient" (Glenn Reynolds). Of course the Hutaree shit-eaters are religiously motivated; two thousand years and the ultra-Christians can't stop burning everything down because they think Jesus will pat them on the head for it.
Isn't it just wonderful that these idiots who think the government is evil are asking for public defenders to plead their case in court?
Once again: any Republican who doesn't unequivocally denounce violence and denounce these treasonous rats who have committed it in the name of the right wing supports these fascist thugs.
:: Since I dumped a lot on the right wingers in this post, I do want to praise one, and an unlikely one at that: Bill O'Reilly.
This has to do with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Assholes who got out and picket peoples' funerals. They were picketing in 2006 at the funeral of a Marine who was killed in Iraq, once again spewing their venomous shit that dead soldiers are "proof" that God is judging the US for tolerating gay people. (A tolerance so institutional that we won't even let gay people get married, but why let facts and reason stand in the way?) The Marine's father sued Westboro and won an $11 million judgment against these--fuck, I don't even want to call them "people"--from a federal jury who said Westboro intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the family. The judgment was overturned on appeal this week, and now the father of a fallen Marine has to pay over $16,000 in court costs to the assholes picketing his son's funeral to further their own idiot agenda.
This is a travesty of justice, and the father is trying to take this to the Supreme Court. He can't afford the judgment against him, so Bill O'Reilly has actually stepped in and agreed to pay it, saying "It's obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested..." Thank you, O'Reilly, for doing the right thing here. In this case, we're agreed: the family's privacy rights should not be superseded by that kind of hate speech.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
There's a brand spanking new viral video from Muppets Studios just in time for Easter. (Well, it's bunny-related, at any rate.) I adore this one. It's so much like the old Muppet Show that it makes me wonder, yet again, why we can't have a new show.
ME [on the computer]: Awwwwww...
BECCA: I heard you say that and thought "Oh, is there a cute animal?" Then I thought "No, it's probably just Selena Gomez."
ME: Just Selena? JUST Selena? There's no such thing as just Selena. It's SELENA.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Playboy has a page and a half interview with Howard Zinn this month that turned out to be the last interview Zinn ever gave. In it, he addresses the lack of jobs in this country and how the Obama Administration has handled that crisis.
I wanted to share a couple of quotes that peg some of our problems exactly:
:: "The Democratic Party is stuck, and President Obama is stuck, in the idea of doing things through the market and depending on private businesses to create jobs. It's like easing home owners' problems by giving money to the banks or giving subsidies or tax benefits to employers in the hope they will then create jobs. This will not happen. The government needs to guarantee jobs to everyone willing to work. If private enterprise won't hire people, the government must."
One of the weirder criticisms of Obama from the more uninformed masses on the right has been that he's some kind of ultra-liberal. But he's a moderate at best, and the way he tries to prop up a system that isn't working has been disheartening to me. Zinn also says that for a job plan to really work in America, we need something that is wider-reaching than the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. I don't see Obama ever being so bold.
:: "Obama needs to educate the American people about the necessity for government to do things private enterprise will not. Look at Social Security, Medicare, the post office and the G.I. Bill. There's historic precedent for the government doing things private enterprise won't."
Zinn goes on to argue that Obama should be fighting to create policy, not to win the next election, but admits that Obama has been timid when faced with the hypocritical Republican outcry that helping the poor and middle class is "big government." (And then rightly points out that a government at war is big government.)
:: "The Democratic Party isn't a fighting party on economic issues. Its reforms are so modest and timid that even if they were passed over the filibuster, they wouldn't be fundamental reforms."
:: "We have a serious unemployment problem. The 10 percent statistic underestimates the real situation because it doesn't account for people who have stopped asking for unemployment insurance and people who have been discouraged from looking for work."
:: "The problem with the language of economics is that it's based on the stock market. If business and stockholders are doing well, and if the Dow Jones average goes up, it's assumed you have economic recovery. But you have to measure a recovery not by how people at the top are doing but by how people at the bottom are doing. If the indexes show a recovery but people are still unemployed or still losing their homes, then you don't have economic recovery. They ought to stop giving the Dow Jones average every night on television. Instead they should give figures on unemployment and foreclosures."
I had to highlight that portion because I've been saying this here for a year or more. I feel better finally seeing someone else say it, too, especially someone like Zinn.
:: "Instead of giving a trillion dollars to financial institutions and hoping they will then make it easier for people to pay their mortgages, the government has to help people directly. The Obama administration's reliance on the private sector is really the trickle-down theory--the idea that if you give people at the top a bailout of $1 trillion, they will use that money to help people in need. But the people at the top won't do that, because their motive is profit, not humanitarian concern."
I feel like they've given the hen house keys to the foxes with those bailouts. The banksters are being rewarded for their avarice and failure, and down here on the bottom we're being told that it's all our fault for believing their lies. Any way I look at it, banks and real estate scheming hand in hand to do what they did with mortgages and loans was a way to deliver a captive market, and the fact that they lied about their value and what people could afford, and then approved these gigantic risks in order to keep milking money from people they knew were bad risks, constitutes a massive fraud. They should be paying for it now. They gambled and lost.
Zinn goes on to argue that people need to organize at the local level to combat these things (as people did in the 1930s to stop evictions), but I don't see that happening, either. I think the concept of community has been all but eradicated in this country.
He also goes on to point out that European countries with similar unemployment rates are better off because they have free health care and better unemployment benefits, calling America's lack of universal, government-organized health care "one of the true scandals of the Democratic Party."
:: "What we call an economic crisis is when things get very, very bad. In normal times, one out of five kids grows up hungry, people lose their jobs and homes are foreclosed. That's normal. When that situation exists, they don't call it an economic crisis. We have to understand that when you have an economic system in which wealth gravitates to the top and you have a permanent underclass of people living in poor homes and without health care, then you are in constant economic crisis. You have to rethink the kind of economic system you live under and take bold steps to change it."
But, you know, don't hold your breath.
A review of the films I've seen this past week.
HARRIET THE SPY: BLOG WARS (2010)
Ouch, Disney Channel. Just ouch. As much as I'd like to see Jennifer Stone in something other than Wizards of Waverly Place, she just wasn't a good fit for this. And it's not because of anything she did as an actress, but because this was such a badly written movie. I can't remember how old Harriet is in the original novel--10 or 12 or something--but here she's 16, and what comes across as precocious, smart, and curious in a 10-12 year old comes off here, with a 16 year-old, as surly, snotty, and suspicious. She also comes across as a creepy little voyeur, staring in peoples' windows. The script needed to do a lot more than simply change Harriet's age. It also needed to rewrite her as a teenager. Harriet just comes off as immature and entitled, and there's nothing Stone can do to save it. No stars.
One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I think a lot of people had trouble grasping the story when this came out in theaters last year, which is weird to me. I saw a distressing number of reviewers who praised the animation but were highly critical of the English dub and of the story itself. I think many of them were trying to shove Miyazaki the filmmaker into a box that he doesn't fit in. It's weird how often some reviewers will cut down American animation for being so formulaic, and then cut down foreign animation which defies formula. What's great about Miyazaki as a storyteller is that he's a storyteller. His messages--and there are his usual themes here of environmentalism, ideal simplicity in life, the capacity of children, the power of love, humankind's uneasy alliance with the spiritual, and his concern with what happens to the elderly in society--are themes interwoven into the story itself instead of something to be hammered into an audience to tell them how to feel. Miyazaki's movies are, in a way, about how you feel as you're experiencing them. I notice I haven't said much about the story itself, because it's hard to describe it without making it sound small. But it's rooted in The Little Mermaid and what reminded me of Japanese Kappa legends. Just see the movie, it's beautiful. **** stars.
Glad to see I'm not the only one online who was seriously irritated with the constant onscreen V countdown during Lost last night. I got this particular image from Sepinwall, but I've read a lot of other complaints about ABC's tacky in-show advertising on the internet today. I know we're all supposed to accept this now, but just because it's commonplace doesn't mean it isn't graceless and vaguely insulting, both to the viewers and to the people who make these programs.
And I didn't end up watching V. I wanted to like it when it was on months ago, but I just couldn't get into it. Outside of solid performances by Elizabeth Mitchell (does she give any other kind?) and Morena Baccarin, I just wasn't that into it. It was pretty much exactly what I would have expected from a remake of a series from the 80s. I know it's got new showrunners and it could turn around, but after that damn onscreen countdown, I just didn't give a shit about V anymore.
As for the episode of Lost last night, I really enjoyed it, mostly because I just wanted to see Jin and Sun together again. Of course, this isn't the real Jin and Sun, such as it is, but it was nice to see them in love and together, even if only in an alternate universe. After watching Daniel Dae Kim play the scene where he finally gets to see pictures of his daughter for the first time, I can't wait to see their reunion. Jesus, I hope they have one.
For a long time now, Sun and Jin have been the couple I've been most invested in. As much as I loved Juliet and Sawyer, it's Sun and Jin that I relate to and Sun and Jin that I've long rooted for. And it helps that Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim are such talented actors. I really hope I see more of Yunjin Kim in the future; she's sexy, beautiful, powerful, and immensely likable--thought it's not hard to come across that way when set next to Evangeline Lilly...
:: I thought Sun losing her ability to speak English was a little on the cartoony side. Becca and I have been noticing that in each episode this season there's been the one thing that's just a shade too far on the wrong side of plausibility, like a wooden galleon taking out a stone statue. I really hope the show doesn't do the usual cheesy cliche in this situation: just have Sun get hit in the head a second time! If TV and movies have taught us anything about disability, it's that repeating an accident a second time will yield the exact opposite results.
(Much the same way science fiction has taught us that sending more power through something than it was originally intended to handle will make it work better; don't engineers know anything about voltage in the future? "Divert all power to," my ass.)
:: I don't like this Zoe person. I just find her unlikable in the extreme. And she's a terrible liar; bad to the point where her attempts to lie are insulting.
:: I loved the moment where Sawyer asked Locke why he couldn't just turn to smoke and fly over to the other island and Locke's exasperated explanation, culminating in Sawyer's wonderfully sarcastic "No, 'cause that would be ridiculous." I think he was speaking for a significant portion of the audience with that one.
(And damn it, Josh Holloway has gotten so damn good on this show. I keep looking at him wondering why the hell no one thought he should play Thor in Kenneth Branagh's movie...)
(And, I'm still not sure I buy Locke's explanation. I mean, we didn't see him take the outrigger to find Sun, so... did he just fly over there?)
:: Terry O'Quinn had a great moment, too, when he went over to talk to Widmore and said "I come in peace." Just that little flash on his face afterward said it all. No... no, he doesn't.
:: I'm worried about Sun and Jin and their future. In the alternate universe, Keamy's "Some people just aren't meant to be together" really felt like heavy foreshadowing. We've seen the two of them pulled apart so many times, I'm feeling like they might never be together again.
:: No surprises that it was Desmond on Widmore's sub. I assume this is how they're going to bridge the two worlds together, and that the island's electromagnetic hot spots play into that. What I'm curious about is how Desmond ended up here. The last time we saw him, Widmore was urging Desmond to take Penny and baby Charlie and take them as far as he could. But, of course, Widmore was partially responsible for Desmond being on the island in the first place. So... did something happen to Penny and Charlie, or did Widmore just realize he needed Desmond for some reason? And what reason? I mean, it's not like he can know about the alternate timeline, right?
And... does Widmore even know of Desmond's ability in the first place?
Can't wait to find out.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Richard forwarded this to me figuring I might like it. It's YouTube user DrewboiX's re-cut version of the 1982 trailer for TRON. It's done in a more modern style of movie trailer, and it's really well-edited. I'm actually not much of a fan of the original movie, but this trailer made it look like something I've never seen before. Maybe I should sit down with this movie again and do an 80s Revisited on it.
As you may be seeing on my index to your right, I am now on Facebook. So I guess I've finally made it to 2008, trend-wise. Apparently Facebook is now the only way to keep informed about anything my family actually does, so I'll be checking in now and again.
After trying the fixes everyone suggested, it's still not showing up in my computer. I had a professional come out and look at it, so I'm already about to be $84 down, which I really can't afford, but I need to get my stuff back. He couldn't get anything off of it, either. He thinks it's probably a platter issue, which means it would definitely have to be sent off to a lab to be reconstructed so the data can be pulled off. So the good news is the files are probably retrievable, but the bad news is it's still going to cost me a rent payment which I don't really have.
Why was I plagued with computers, universe? I hate them so damn much.
Anyway, the tech took it home and is going to see what he can do there. Fingers crossed, but breath is not being held.
FRIEND: What's your favorite book?
ME: Probably A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. Why, what's yours?
FRIEND: Well, I've never read a book that meets all of my narrative requirements.
ME: What? What does that mean? What are your favorite books?
FRIEND: Oh, Jurassic Park, The Da Vinci Code, the Twilight series...
ME: Oh, I see what your problem is.
FRIEND: What's that?
ME: You read crap. Maybe you should stop reading crap and read some real books and stop blaming literature for your lack of insight.
This is why I don't have more friends...
Monday, March 29, 2010
The saga of my ongoing computer troubles resumes.
I've had an external hard drive for the last year or two now, and a couple of weeks ago, it failed me a second time. The computer won't read the drive, and I'm not sure what to do. I think it may be because the fan in the enclosure stopped working, but I'm not an expert. Still, the drive was never dropped, so I think it may be a case of overheating.
I've tried a few things to get it to work. Unfortunately, I don't have the files backed up anywhere. I put everything on it in December when my computer crashed and needed to be reformatted, and wasn't able to afford to replace the drive or get myself some flash drives to back up/move the files. So everything is sitting on this drive that I can't access: all of my documents, my tax records from the last couple of years, a ton of my music collection, and pictures of my late sister. It's killing me that I can access these things and rescue them.
This is a SATA drive on a computer that uses IDE drives, so I got a SATA to USB adapter. It recognized my drive for about a minute, but not long enough to get any of the files off of it. I've been fiddling with this thing for hours now and I can't get the computer to recognize the old drive; it registers a USB 2.0 Mass Storage Device which can't be used. It also registers it as a Disk Drive and nothing more. I don't know if this has messed up the data or not since I can never actually access the drive.
I really, really need my old data back. I hate that this is so dire and that this has become such a big deal. I hate being so attached to these things, and I'm starting to feel like my life is incredibly pointless if the loss of these files is such a tragedy to me. I think the only option I'm left with at this point is to go with an outside company to recover the data for me, which I can't afford to do. This is going to cost somewhere between $700 and $800 for me to do this, and with my spotty work ability this year, I just don't see it happening.
So I'm begging you guys now. If anyone can spare twenty bucks, or even less, to pop into the PayPal donations button, I would really, really appreciate it. I need this stuff, and I've been trying to remain cool and calm about my difficulties, but I just can't anymore. I'm sorry to have to resort to just asking for money, but I have nothing else left to me right now.
I hate it that this whole situation has just made me not want to even deal with blogging or being on Tumblr or doing anything at all anymore. I'm starting to wonder what the point of my life is if this is such a crippling blow. I literally don't know what to do anymore, and it just makes me want to stop doing anything.
I hate this.
So, if you can find it in your heart to help me... please.
FRIEND: Did you see the way Katy Perry was dressed for the Kids' Choice Awards? Don't you think that, I don't know, maybe that wasn't the most appropriate attire for a kids' award show?
ME: What, kids suddenly don't like tits anymore?
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Paul & Linda McCartney, from the 1971 album Ram, with a not-at-all-veiled "fuck you" to John & Yoko. This is the song that inspired Lennon to write the more cutting "How Do You Sleep?" as an answer. But apart from all of that, this is a great song. This is when Paul still knew how to write a great song; something he's rediscovered only intermittently in the years since.
TV ADVERTISEMENT: We all know that two is always better than one!
ME: What if it's tumors? Two tumors certainly aren't better than one.
BECCA: If it's two tumors, are they fourmors?
ME [sarcastic]: ... There's a line, Becca.
Becca smiles and gives me a thumbs up.
I need to get more sleep.