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.
Clarksville police said they arrested a woman on Wednesday morning after she repeatedly made non-emergency calls to the city's 911 system.
Hee Orama, 34, was arrested after police said she recently made frequent calls to 911 complaining about a man lying to her about marrying her.Police said they responded to two calls from Orama and explained that this was not an emergency situation and to stop calling.Orama then called again and was cited by police and told she would be arrested if she kept calling them with non-emergencies.
Police said they also arrested Orama last week for repeatedly calling 911 because she couldn't find her car.
A baby missing for five days was found alive in a box under her 's bed, and authorities said Thursday they plan to charge the sitter, her husband and the child's mother.
Investigators who searched Susan Elizabeth Baker's home near this rural Panhandle town found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick tucked under a bed surrounded by items meant to hide her, Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said. The baby, who was taken to a hospital but appeared healthy, was placed in .
According to court documents, child welfare officials began looking into allegations Shannon was being abused less than two weeks after she was born.
In August, Susan Baker wrote a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist's office, pleading for help for the baby. She claimed Dedrick shook the baby and that he, Mercer and others smoked cigarettes and drugs in front of her. Baker also claimed Dedrick was not the child's father and said he claimed paternity to get welfare benefits.
Investigators frequently went to the infant's home from August to late September and reported that both parents used marijuana and kept a messy home. But they said Shannon seemed to be cared for and in September, a physician determined that she was healthy and expressed "no concerns regarding the baby."
A legal standoff between Carrie Prejean and Miss California USA officials reportedly ended when a Pageant lawyer played his trump card: a sex tape far more hard-core than the nude pictures which had previously scandalized her – and in which she had the starring role.
After being shown the hardcore home video - in which she apparently engages in a solo sex act - Prejean dropped her million-dollar-plus demands, TMZ.com reports, and bolted from the negotiating table.
The tape has never been released publicly.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
"From our perspective, we won last night," the California Democrat told reporters during a Wednesday photo op. "We had one race that we were engaged in, it was in northern New York, it was a race where a Republican has held the seat since the Civil War. And we won that seat. So, from our standpoint, no, a candidate was victorious who supports health care reform, and his remarks last night said this was a victory for health care reform and other initiatives for the American people."
But wouldn't you know it, the only races that counted was the two that the Democrats won. Apparently, congressional seats are waaaaay more important than a governorship. Who knew?
The e-mails total 1,300 pages, and we're still reading through the stack of paper. Any other interesting finds will be going up in subsequent posts. But what we've seen so far has been surprising: You'd think that, with blood in the water, the traditional coziness that develops between official flacks and the beat reporters who have to talk to them every day would break down into some kind of last-man-standing slugfest. But in the Spitzer case, the opposite happened. The revelations upended the worlds of both reporter and flack alike, and the uncertainty, long hours, and breakneck pace of the scandal actually seemed to throw them together as they worked toward what seems, if you read the e-mail exchanges, like a common goal of getting the news out and behind them.
This first installment documents the shocking amount of control that Keller's Times allowed Anderson, a former Good Morning America producer and PR veteran of the Clinton White House, to exercise over his paper's coverage. After bringing Anderson's world down around her head by breaking the story, Times reporters previewed portions of their stories with her before publication, asked for her permission before contacting sources, and let her tell them how to characterize its reporting in the paper.
Democrat Bill Owens has captured the special election for a New York congressional seat that became a fight over the identity of the Republican Party.
Owens defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman and Republican Dierdre Scozzafava (skoh-zuh-FAH'-vuh) in the heavily Republican 23rd congressional District in rural northern New York. Scozzafava abruptly withdrew Saturday and supported Owens.
Hoffman has conceded the race.
With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, Owens had 49 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Hoffman. Scozzafava had 6 percent.
The race has been getting national attention, with some calling it a referendum on President Barack Obama and others saying it could help Republicans focus their message to attract more people to the party.
Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in New England, the corner of the country most supportive of .
Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The $787 billion stimulus bill was passed in February and was promised as a job saver and economy booster. Here is where some of the money went:
- $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state.
- $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. (ed: why isn't the MB paying for this?)
- $11 million for Microsoft to built a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway. (ed: why isn't Microsoft paying for this?)
- $3.4 million for a 13-foot tunnel for turtles and other wildlife attempting to cross U.S. 27 in Lake Jackson, Fla.
- $1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Okla.
- $9.38 million to renovate a century-old train depot in Lancaster County, Pa., that has not been used for three decades.
- $2.5 million in stimulus checks sent to the deceased.
- $6 million for a snow-making facility in Duluth, Minn. (ed: do they not get enough snow in MN?)
- $20,000 for a fish sperm freezer at the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery in South Dakota.
- $380,000 to spay and neuter pets in Wichita, Kan.
- $1 million to study the health effects of environmentally friendly public housing on 300 people in Chicago.
- $356,000 for Indiana University to study childhood comprehension of foreign accents compared with native speech.
- $983,952 for street beautification in Ann Arbor, Mich., including decorative lighting, trees, benches and bike paths.
- $1 million for Portland, Ore., to replace 100 aging bike lockers and build a garage that would house 250 bicycles.
Do you feel stimulated? I know I do...and for the record, I am still unemployed!
The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $900 billion cited by President Barack Obama as a price tag for his reform plan.
While the Congressional Budget Office has put the cost of expanding coverage in the legislation at roughly $1 trillion, Democrats added billions more on higher spending for public health, a reinsurance program to hold down retiree health costs, payments for preventive services and more.
Many of the additions are designed to improve benefits or ease access to coverage in government programs. The officials who provided overall cost estimates did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them.
has referred repeatedly to the bill's net cost of $894 billion over a decade for coverage.
You know this means this legislation will really end up costing around $4T. Isn't that usually how it works?
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% still blame the economic situation on the recession that began under Bush. But 45% now say the nation’s economic problems are caused more by Obama’s policies.
Just a month ago, 55% pointed the finger at Bush, while only 37% said the policies Obama has put in place since taking office were at fault. These findings had remained largely unchanged since May.
Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck
Democrats and Republicans are jostling to glean messages from voters in a race for a U.S. House seat in far northern New York, as well as from contests for governor in New Jersey and Virginia. Republicans, increasingly optimistic, say the contests foreshadow trouble for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party's ambitious agenda heading toward the 2010 congressional elections.
A Republican sweep in Tuesday's key contests would at minimum show that Democrats face much tougher political terrain than they did a year ago. GOP victories would also help the party's fundraising and candidate recruitment for 2010, providing backing for arguments that Republicans have the momentum, and that voters are turning against the Obama agenda.
But it can be difficult to draw broader conclusions from off-year contests, which often turn on local issues.