I’d been meaning to write about Barack Obama again ever since I watched Meet the Press back on Sunday, May 4 and saw Tim Russert’s interview spend THE FIRST 15 MINUTES talking about the Reverend Jeremiah wright. Lest you think I exaggerate, check out this. Given ABC News being ridiculed for doing a similar thing during the “debates”, Russert should have known better. This came up after both George Will and my local paper scolded Obama for not severing his association with Wright sooner; a related story generated mucho comments.

But assuming that Obama is the Democratic party nominee, the conversation shifts to who will be the Vice-Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton shows up in the mix, of course, and her strengths (support among women and older, rural Americans, et al.) are as well known as her liabilities (generally, the baggage of being a Clinton), so that she’d be portrayed like this.
Gordon let me know about the buzz over John Edwards.
I’m still keen on Bill Richardson. In fact, I’ve been touting him since December of 2005, when I thought that Russ Feingold was running for President.

Obama’s Vision (30 minute video).

Tangentially, I was reading this quote on CNN yesterday:
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, an uncommitted superdelegate, said the delegate numbers are in Obama’s favor, but the popular vote is important to the people of his state.
“I think we see what happened in 2004, when Al Gore won the popular vote, and where the country has gone and the feelings toward government since then. I put a lot of stock in that,” he said on CNN’s “American Morning.”

I just had to know: did the governor of West Virginia really think that Al Gore ran only four years ago? No, the transcription of the video was wrong.

Tom Hanks Endorses Obama (video). Actually quite funny, I thought.

Observations from my favorite Albany grouch and my favorite American expat in New Zealand.

Finally, at the request of a good friend of mine, I was asked to comment on some specific comments about racism and the race in this dialogue on the Daily Kos. Part of the thrust of the conversation was about Hillary Clinton, whether her campaign engaged in racist campaign tactics. And I find I can’t go there. Those liberals fighting is far more irritating than the conservatives I check out, maybe because I care more. I must admit that while I sometimes read the stories, I seldom follow all the comments, especially when they descend into Sturm und Drang; they tend to exhaust me. But no, I didn’t think the comments you made were racist or even insensitive, but I’m sure some of the participants would disagree…

Photo courtesy tsevis’ photostream


MOVIE REVIEW: Charlie Wilson’s War

Back on ML King Day, Carol and I went to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. One must always take advantage of those times when the child is in day care and the parents both have the day off.
The goal in Roger’s Oscar roulette is to see as many Oscar-nominated films before the actual awards (this year: February 24), whether it’s a gala affair or Golden Globes press conference, part 2.

Charlie Wilson’s War is a Hollywood movie. I mean that in all the good and bad sense of that term. To the good, the production values are more than adequate; to the bad, it’s rather bland.

An early scene involves a number of naked women. Is this titillating? It is not. It was, surprisingly flat and boring. In fact, the film felt that way pretty much until Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character shows up. It’s comedic and has a certain energy; his Oscar nomination is deserved, for this and other roles this past year.

Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks. I don’t know what else to say.

Julia Roberts has taken a lot of heat, not just for this role, but somehow for her whole acting career. I thought she was fine in Erin Brockovich, playing a real person, (though Ellen Burstyn should have won for Requiem for a Dream that year, rather than Julia). And her hair looks A LOT like the real woman she is portraying. But here, her performance is rather flat, and I don’t know why.

If you don’t know, this movie is based on a real Texas congressman who found a way to fund the Afghans fighting the Russians. Much has been made of the ending, with some suggesting a more specific conclusion, telling the audience that the money shelled out for Charlie’s war helped in the development of the Taliban. I tend to disagree; the oblique dialogue between Charlie and the CIA man Gust (Hoffman) is enough, without it either 1) being preachy and/or 2) having to resort to that clumsy overlay technique of text at the end of the film telling you what happens next, used in films based on fiction as well as reality.

The story was written by the late CBS News producer George Crile, and the real Charlie Wilson appeared on 60 Minutes seven years ago. The average grade in Entertainment Weekly for this movie is a B. That’s just about right. It was by no means a terrible movie-going experience, but it wasn’t extraordinary, either. Maybe its lack of honesty and bite (except for Hoffman’s character) hurts it as a film as well.

The Real Forrest Gump

I’ve been always been rather so-so about the movie Forrest Gump. It was a technological marvel, yet it often felt at arm’s length away emotionally. I guess I never bought Sally Field as his mother either, especially after having seen her and Tom Hanks as contemporaries in the movie about comedy, Punchline.

I don’t know what I was looking up when I discovered that there was a guy named Sammy L. Davis, no relationship to the late entertainer, and that his military heroism that took place 40 years ago today was, in part, the inspiration for the movie character.

He doesn’t look at all liker Tom Hanks.
This was on Evanier’s page a while ago, but I do so love this video about waterboarding with a Beach Boys beat.
I’ve decided that Nancy Grace’s very existence is a test of my Christian faith. I hate Nancy Grace. OK, I don’t hate her exactly, but her brand of “journalismm” where she pronounces people guilty before all the facts are in offends my sensibilities; she’s often parodied for a reason. She also has an annoying voice.

So when she, at the age of 48, gave birth to twins this month prematurely, and developed blood clots in the lungs, I had to fight, with all my strength, getting a feeling of schadenfreude. So, I (choke) wish Nancy Grace well so she can go annoy me again.
CNN distorting a story big time:


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