Sunday, November 22, 2009
This movie is a conversation between two groups of Americans facing very different battles but asking a similar question, "Does what I'm doing and who I am mean anything to anyone?" There is a dignity of purpose to the lives of both groups of people, even as there is for this film.
It is the BEST documentary I have ever seen and is a must see for everyone. Definitely worth an hour and a half of your life. Below is the trailer for the movie and you can see the whole movie on PBS through Dec 12 here.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Colorado parents in last month's notorious "balloon boy" case will plead guilty to offenses for creating a hoax that their son had flown away in a large balloon.
Richard and Mayumi Heene are to plead Friday morning in Larimer County Court, according to a statement issued by Richard Heene's attorney.
Mayumi Heene is expected to plead guilty to an offense of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor of the lowest level, according to the attorney.
Richard Heene is expected to plead guilty to a felony offense of attempting to influence a public servant.
Though the Heenes could receive jail time for the charges, the prosecutor has recommended probation, Richard Heene's attorney said.
California: The Golden State's housing collapse -- and resulting unemployment surge -- has plagued the state's economy. The weakening economy prompted revenue to fall by nearly a sixth between the first quarters of 2008 and 2009. State lawmakers have limited ability to deal with California's massive budget gap due to several voter-imposed restrictions, including requirements that all budgets and tax increases pass the legislature by a two-thirds majority.
Arizona: The state depends heavily on a growing economy to bring in tax revenue, and lawmakers don't have a lot of leeway to address budget deficits thanks to voter-imposed spending constraints. Lawmakers relied on one-time fixes to balance its budget instead of making long-term changes.
Rhode Island: The Ocean State has among the highest unemployment rates in the nation and among the highest foreclosure rates in New England. High tax rates, big budget deficits and a lack of high tech jobs are hurting its chances to pull out of the doldrums. State government has a poor record of managing its finances
Michigan: The state never climbed out of the recession that started in 2001, and matters only became worse during the Great Recession. Two of the Big Three Detroit-based automakers went bankrupt in 2009, sending shockwaves through a state on track to lose a quarter of its jobs this decade. The recession accelerated drops in state revenue, and has left Michigan's government trying to deal with today's problems on a 1960s-sized budget.
Nevada: Nevada is one of the recession's big losers as its gaming-based economy suffered. Year-over-year revenue has fallen for two consecutive years, a record. But changing tax laws is tough because some are written into the state constitution.
Oregon: Oregon's leading industries, such as timber and computer-chip manufacturing, have been hit hard in the recession. Lawmakers have approved more than $1 billion in new taxes to keep it afloat. But voters in January will have the final say on another $733 million in new income taxes.
Florida: For the first time since World War II, Florida's population is shrinking -- bad news for an budget built on new residents flocking to the Sunshine State. Lawmakers raised $2 billion in new revenue this year, but could face a similar shortfall next year.
New Jersey: The Garden State, which has been plagued by years of fiscal mismanagement, spends more than it collects in revenue. The collapse of Wall Street, which supports about one-third of New Jersey's economy, has only made matters worse.
Illinois: Since the last recession earlier this decade, the state piled up huge backlogs of Medicaid bills and borrowed money to pay its pension obligations. The state's current budget still relies heavily on borrowing and paying bills late.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has a long history of budget shortfalls. It also borrows frequently to cover operating expenses, among other measures. Unemployment is climbing as manufacturing, the state's largest sector, sputters.
Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.
Sitting before an image of an American flag on his television set, he said “some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day.”“I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Mr. Dobbs added.
And the madam who supplied Spitzer's high-priced escorts said she can't imagine a less qualified speaker.
"I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when, as [governor], he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished," Kristin Davis wrote in a protest letter to Prof. Lawrence Lessig at The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.
"As attorney general, he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A prominent Columbia architecture professor punched a female university employee in the face at a Harlem bar during a heated argument about race relations, cops said yesterday.
Police busted Lionel McIntyre, 59, for assault yesterday after his bruised victim, Camille Davis, filed charges.
McIntyre and Davis, who works as a production manager in the school's theater department, are both regulars at Toast, a popular university bar on Broadway and 125th Street, sources said.
The professor, who is black, had been engaged in a fiery discussion about "white privilege" with Davis, who is white, and another male regular, who is also white, Friday night at 10:30 when fists started flying, patrons said.
Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann did another in a long series of segments castigating former Miss California Carrie Prejean, but he added a little something extra at the end.
He signs off the segment, in which he discusses the sex tape that features Prejean “by herself,” with a two, then three, fingered “Girl Scout” salute. Where to begin?
The joke is likely to delight many of Prejean’s detractors, embittered toward her over her support of California’s Proposition 8. Just as surely, it will offend many others who observe the double standard that Prejean points out in the segment. I find it emblematic of the wrongheadedness of the anti-Prejean narrative.
The Carrie Prejean story began with an honest answer to a divisive question at a beauty pageant. Asked if she believed that same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states, she stated her personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but also said that she was happy to live in a country where people can choose “same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.” As Jake Tapper pointed out, this position hews closely to that of President Obama.
I was always interested in candidate Obama's relationship with the dark(er) political arts and asked him at his first campaign press conference why he'd hired opposition researchers; he responded that they were to check out the candidate himself and to examine high-minded policy questions.
That was not, exactly, the whole truth. Indeed, Obama's campaign had a particularly capable opposition research shop, a source of tips to many reporters, not all of them on policy. And Plouffe, in passing, outs the campaign as the source of a brief item I did in April 2007 off an Edwards campaign expenditure — probably driving as much traffic, chatter and grief as anything that short I've ever written.
"We did much less of this [opposition research] than other campaigns did," Plouffe writes a bit self-servingly, "but there were times we indulged — it was our researchers who found John Edwards's infamous $400 hair cut expenditures."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Obama’s favorability rating has been in flux, from a low of 48 percent in June 2008 to a peak of 72 percent last March to a slide to 61 percent in a recent Gallup Poll.
That 11-point stumble – some might call it a tumble – seems at odds with the focus of a White House publicity team that is carefully crafting her image and building a decidedly current, wholesome, upbeat brand. But while Obama has broadened the reach of her office, White House observers say that the role and projects she has embraced so far are seen by some as disappointingly traditional.
“If you asked most people, they would say she defines her job as first lady as taking care of her family, and maybe that’s what the White House wants — what she wants,” said first lady historian Betty Boyd Caroli. “A lot of people appreciate that, but some people wanted more, and maybe that’s why the numbers are dipping.”
Yeah...I think she should take a more political role in the admininistration. That should really help her poll numbers.
I still don't see why Michelle's poll numbers would decrease with her husbands. No matter how low Bush's numbers got, Laura always enjoyed high favorable polls.
Obama was not the deciding factor in the Virginia campaign. However, he certainly was MUCH more than a non-factor. Concern about his policies overreaching permeated to a gubernatorial campaign and helped widen the size of McDonnell’s win. It allowed the campaign to focus on issues that hadn’t been working in recent years for Republican candidates. Concern about Obama’s policies on spending, taxes, and jobs allowed McDonnell to thoroughly dominate those issues. The checks and balances message is a key one, but the bigger lesson about Obama’s impact on Virginia is that his policies have put fiscal and economic messages back into play for Republicans.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Is Levi Johnston getting cold feet about his upcoming Playgirl appearance? We hear that the father of Sarah Palin's grandson has been telling folks at the magazine he is worried about how his manhood may look during the shoot. And to make matters worse, one location for the shoot is a chilly ice rink. But Levi's manager, Tank Johnson, tells Page Six, "We haven't had any discussions of that nature at all," and refused to confirm whether Johnson would go full-frontal during the shoot.