Monday, August 23, 2004
By Mark Steyn
According to Francis Harris in Saturday's Telegraph, allegations that John Kerry "lied about his Vietnam record" are "unravelling". Oh, I wouldn't say that. Right now, it looks like the sanity of the Kerry campaign and its pals in the media that's beginning to unravel.
Switch on the TV these days and you'll see John O'Neill, principal spokesman for the hundreds of Swift boat veterans who oppose their old comrade Kerry, talking calmly and patiently about the facts, citing chapter and verse and relevant footnotes, while some deranged interviewer is going berserk.
The other day it was CNN host James Carville, former skinhead-in-chief to Bill Clinton, yelling and howling all over O'Neill's answers before brushing him aside with, "I've got no use for this man."
Meanwhile, the grandees at the New York Times, having studiously ignored the story for two weeks, decided that, with the Kerry campaign all but paralysed by the issue, they'd have to sully their lily-white hands with the ghastly business and kill it themselves. Maureen Dowd, the paper's elderly schoolgirl columnist, dismissed the dissenting Swiftees as "creepy-crawly", "stomach-turning", "sleazoids".
Pat Oliphant, who appears in the Washington Post and many other newspapers, offered a cartoon showing the Swiftees as Bush-backing deadbeats sitting round a bar bitching: "I never seen Kerry do nothing hee-roic," says one loser. "Damn right," says another. "You and me was right there in latrine maintenance. We orta know."
The redneck spelling's a nice touch, ain't it? I wonder which of the anti-Kerry campaign's 254 Swift vets, including 17 of Lieutenant Kerry's 23 fellow officers, Oliphant thinks were in latrine maintenance. Maybe he's got in mind fellows like Paul Galanti, who appears in the latest anti-Kerry ad and whose plane went down over North Vietnam in 1966. He was held in the "Hanoi Hilton" Viet Cong POW camp until 1973. That's seven years getting tortured by the gooks, only to be mocked by some lame-o cartoonist as a redneck latrine operator.
BE SAFE, PEACEFUL, AND CALCULATED TO BE EFFECTIVE - Bring friends and family. Pack food and water. Be prepared:
- United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 800 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building.
- The People's Guide to the Republican National Convention is the definitive guide to the public events surrounding the Republican National Convention in New York City. Everything a visitor or a New Yorker needs to navigate this summerâs biggest event.
- RNC Not Welcome is a group that consists of New Yorkers adamantly opposed to the Republican's selection of the city to celebrate rising unemployment, their gutting of social services, tax cuts for the mega-rich, unlawful detention of immigrants, and their unrelenting exploitation of the 9/11 victims while standing on their ashes.
- Counter Convention is dedicated to helping New York City's diverse social justice movement oppose the Republican National Committee's Presidential Nominating Convention.
- WBAI/Pacifica RNC coverage - Tune in for extensive coverage of the GOP Convention and protests.
- And lest we forget...
When was the last time the government cut your paycheck? That's what's going to happen to millions of workers because of President Bush's overtime pay take-away. Starting today, employers can reclassify some 6 million workers as ineligible for overtime pay.
We can't let this massive pay cut for working families go into effect without a major nationwide outcry. We need your help today to make sure the Bush administration and its allies in Congress hear the voices of millions of working people. We'd like you to do two things to mark this outrageous attack on working families.
First, please sign a new petition to Save Overtime Pay and help demonstrate broad opposition to Bush's overtime pay take-away. Click the link below to sign the petition.
Some 6 million people could lose their right to overtime pay thanks to the Bush overtime pay grab. Every working person in America - and every voter - needs to know that President Bush is responsible. So the second thing we're asking you to do today is to let your friends, family and co-workers know what is going on and ask them to sign the petition.
People are speaking out against this outrageous pay cut in many different ways. You'll hear from us very soon about more opportunities to make a difference for working families. We'll let you know how you can volunteer to help take back America for working families and what you can do to pressure Congress to repeal Bush's overtime pay take-away.
Thanks for all you do. Together we'll remember in November.
Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO
August 23, 2004
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Is Your Overtime Pay
|Ask a Lawyer whether your overtime pay is at risk.|
|FAQs on the Bush administration's overtime pay take-away.|
|Find out if you could lose your overtime pay with this quick survey.|
On Monday, Aug. 23, the overtime pay take-away the biggest pay cut in America's history goes into effect. Employers will begin to decide who loses the right to overtime pay at their workplaces. Unfortunately, they'll have some help from Uncle Sam. The U.S. Department of Labor will be using your tax dollars to offer "assistance" to companies trying to figure this out.
This is an outrage. And we will not let this day pass without making our voices heard.
On Monday, we will launch an important new petition to demonstrate our outrage to the media, Congress and the Bush administration. We're going to demand they repeal this massive pay cut for America's working families.
Our fight doesn't end on Monday. It begins again and will last through Election Day, Nov. 2, and beyond until we reclaim the right to overtime pay for all workers.
While we keep fighting, we'll be assessing the price working families are paying for Bush's overtime pay take-away. Fortunately, many union members will be protected by their contracts. And now, nonunion workers can turn to a new organization for help-Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO for nonunion folks.
Working America is launching two new Internet resources right now to help people cope with the Bush overtime pay take-away.
Overtime Pay Take-Away Test from Working America
This short online questionnaire from Working America will help you figure out if your employer may try to take away your right to overtime pay. Please click below now to check out the test.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
At a press conference in Boston yesterday, filmmaker Michael Moore announced he is bringing his cameras to Florida in November to make sure there is what he called a "huge spotlight" on state election officials when voters go to the polls. The director of "Fahrenheit 9/11" also said he plans to help pay for an "army of lawyers" who will be in target precincts ready to go to court if they spot any voting problems. He encouraged other independent filmmakers to join him in Florida. Here is Michael Moore speaking yesterday at a press conference organized by Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida:
"We are here this morning to put the Bush administration, both the one in Washington D.C. and the one in Tallahassee on notice. (applause) Too many people fought for too many years to guarantee that every American citizen would have the right to vote and that their votes would be counted. Too many people died for that right. And we are not going to dishonor those who gave their lives in the Civil Rights struggles by allowing these people to steal a second election. That is not going to happen! That's just not going to happen. (applause). And I wanted to stop by this breakfast this morning and tell you personally that I am committed. I am coming to Florida. I will be in Florida. And together, together, we will guarantee to every Floridian, that their vote will be counted this year. Make no mistake about it. I will be there, I will have my cameras there. We will put a huge spotlight on them. They will not get away with it this time." - Michael Moore
The son of the fortieth president of the United States takes a hard look at the son of the forty-first and does not like what he sees.
by Ron Reagan / Esquire
It may have been the guy in the hood teetering on the stool, electrodes clamped to his genitals. Or smirking Lynndie England and her leash. Maybe it was the smarmy memos tapped out by soft-fingered lawyers itching to justify such barbarism. The grudging, lunatic retreat of the neocons from their long-standing assertion that Saddam was in cahoots with Osama didn't hurt. Even the Enron audiotapes and their celebration of craven sociopathy likely played a part. As a result of all these displays and countless smaller ones, you could feel, a couple of months back, as summer spread across the country, the ground shifting beneath your feet. Not unlike that scene in The Day After Tomorrow, then in theaters, in which the giant ice shelf splits asunder, this was more a paradigm shift than anything strictly tectonic. No cataclysmic ice age, admittedly, yet something was in the air, and people were inhaling deeply. I began to get calls from friends whose parents had always voted Republican, "but not this time." There was the staid Zbigniew Brzezinski on the staid NewsHour with Jim Lehrer sneering at the "Orwellian language" flowing out of the Pentagon. Word spread through the usual channels that old hands from the days of Bush the Elder were quietly (but not too quietly) appalled by his son's misadventure in Iraq. Suddenly, everywhere you went, a surprising number of folks seemed to have had just about enough of what the Bush administration was dishing out. A fresh age appeared on the horizon, accompanied by the sound of scales falling from people's eyes. It felt something like a demonstration of that highest of American prerogatives and the most deeply cherished American freedom: dissent.
By Susan Reines
August 13 -- Santa Monica became a microcosm of the political divide separating the country, as critics and defenders of President George W. Bush lined Ocean Park Boulevard Thursday afternoon near the airport, where the president held a private fundraiser.
Toting signs and waving banners, the groups faced each other -- one on the left, the other on the right, with only a few nervous-looking stragglers wandering the gap of barren middle ground.
While Bush bashers gathered on the southwest corner of Ocean Park and 31st Street waving placards criticizing his policies, the presidentâs fans chanted and stomped across the street, holding welcome banners and "Luvya Dubya" posters.
As their shouts bounced across the empty stretch of 31st Street that separated them, a few police officers paced the protest lines to make sure no one stepped into the road.
|Photos by Susan Reines|
Friday, August 13, 2004
A12 Bush Protest in Santa Monica
The Anti-Bush Protest sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R. Los Angeles was supposed to start at 4pm, but I arrived around 2:30pm. I was totally suprised by how many Bush supporters were already there (about 150 or so) occupying both corners of 31st & Ocean Park. The last time I saw this many Republican's out in force was when Reagan, the Holy-Cow of the Republican Party, died a few months ago.
The anti-Bush demonstrators started to show up in droves around 3:30pm, which didn't make the pro-Bush people to happy. When A.N.S.W.E.R. showed up on the west corner of 31st & Ocean Park with thier P.A. system on wheels (a shopping cart), and bunch of banners and signs, this old Freeper (Republican) started to freak out and cause problems. This Freeper immediately started to try to tip over the A.N.S.W.E.R. P.A. System, and started to stomp on the anti-Bush banners and signs. A shoving match ensued b/w the old man and anti-Bush peep's; it ended when the police told the pro-Bush people to move to the east corner of 31st & Ocean Park.
We never saw Bush, just his scary supporters and a bunch of limo's going to the event. I even got a picture of former mayor Richard Riordan, who recently told a 6 year old school girl that her name meant "stupid dirty girl", heading to Bush Fund Raiser.
I left around 7pm when the batteries in my camera died, by this time all the pro-Bush people went back to their 'White Friendly' gated communites, and the anti-Bush demonstrators by then had taken over both east and west corners of 31st & Ocean Park.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Bush to 6 Million Workers: Less Overtime Pay For You, Means More Money For War On Terror
President Bush's assault on overtime pay continues. His administration has already issued rules â scheduled to take effect August 23 â that will strip overtime pay from an estimated 6 million workers. Yesterday in Ohio, President Bush touted two new proposals which go by the deceptively appealing names "flex time" and "comp time." Bush claims that the proposals are motivated by a concern for working mothers and other members of the work force with demanding schedules. In reality, the proposals would allow businesses to have their employees work more than 40 hours a week without getting paid overtime.
CURRENT LAW ALREADY ALLOWS FOR FLEXIBILITY: Current law does not prevent an employee and an employer from negotiating a schedule where the employee works, for example, 50 hours one week and 30 hours the next. The employer is simply required to pay time-and-a-half for the extra 10 hours in the first week. "Comp time" would allow the employee to "choose" to substitute the extra pay for additional time off. It opens the door for employers to pressure workers to "accept time off instead of overtime pay." Even absent explicit pressure, employers would be free to "channel overtime work to those who were willing to take comp time." Moreover, "employees would have to take their earned time off when it suits their employer rather than when it suited the employee."
FLEXTIME MEANS NO COMPENSATION AT ALL FOR LONGER HOURS: Bush's other proposal â "flex time", would allow employers to set work schedules on an 80-hour, two-week period. This is essentially a mechanism for employers to schedule overtime without providing any overtime compensation. Like comp time, it promotes irregular work weeks that may reduce workers' income or reduce leisure time.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Donnie Darko Revisited
By Cassie Carpenter ( July 28, 2004 )
"I hope it's a bit more enlightening, it flows better, and is a more logical experience for them," Kelly tells Back Stage West of his new version. "I hope there are new questions and new things to discuss. More than anything, I just hope that it's more satisfying on every level."
Born into a family of engineers who built and designed things such as industrial robotics, Kelly liked to draw and paint and says he always had a creative impulse. This Richmond, Va., native decided that becoming a filmmaker was his greatest opportunity to become an all-encompassing artist. "Every art exists within filmmaking: architecture, choreography, performance, collage, painting, photography. It's everything. To me it's the greatest art form that we have," he says.
A fan of directors Peter Weir and Terry Gilliam, Kelly earned a visual arts scholarship and ended up studying film at USC, where he directed two short films: The Goodbye Place and Visceral Matter. After graduating, he spent three years trying to get people in the industry interested in the script for Donnie Darko. Eventually, Jason Schwartzman's (who dropped out of the lead because of scheduling conflicts) agent Sharon Sheinwold at UTA gave the script to Drew Barrymore's partner Nancy Juvonen at Flower Films. Once Flower Films was onboard and Barrymore was in a supporting part, Donnie Darko became bankable.
by Adam Burnett
Despite a devastating box-office performance just three years ago, Richard Kelly's debut feature "Donnie Darko" is finding new life in theaters thanks to Newmarket Films, which will release the director's cut of the film Friday in New York and Los Angeles. The new version of this surprise cult classic will have 20 minutes of additional footage, enhanced sound, more special effects, and an expanded soundtrack.
Traditionally, the career of a first-time filmmaker could be all but ruined by a poor performance in theaters. It is without precedent, then, that Newmarket Films chose to finance a new cut of and distribute "Donnie Darko" so shortly after its initial release. But the simultaneously cursed and charmed life of "Donnie Darko" has never been predictable.
The film, set in 1988, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an emotionally disturbed high schooler haunted by night visions of a 6-foot-tall demonic rabbit. Taking its cue from '80s teen films, Ridley Scott, comic books, and David Lynch suburbia, the tough-sell project had difficulty finding financiers in Hollywood until Drew Barrymore's production company Flower Films signed on. With Barrymore slated in a minor role, the filmmakers managed to raise a $4.5 million budget and an impressive cast, including Noah Wyle, Mary McDonnell, Patrick Swayze, and Katharine Ross, as well as then relative-unknowns Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone.
As part of Sundance's strong 2001 line-up including "Memento," "L.I.E.," "The Business of Strangers," "In the Bedroom," and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," it received impressive critical notice, but sat on the market for several months as it struggled to find a distributor. "Sundance is a dangerous kind of marketplace because if you don't strike at the right time and you don't get an initial interest in your film, all of a sudden, it's over," writer-director Richard Kelly told indieWIRE recently. "People like to dismiss it as something that doesn't work. So after Sundance we sort of deemed it as a failure, an impressive, interesting failure, but as an experimental film that just doesn't work. But then Newmarket finally picked it up."
Newmarket released "Donnie Darko" through a service deal with IFC Films while Bob Berney, now company president of Newmarket Films, was IFC's head of distribution. Upon release, the film fell victim to its own subversiveness -- as a genre hybrid, it failed to appeal to a teen market flooded with gross-out comedies and slasher films -- and, ultimately, of bad timing. As "Donnie Darko" was being set for a late October release, the events of 9-11 created a violence-weary marketplace. In addition to the film's stylized violence, a key plot element of the film involved a commercial jet engine mysteriously falling from the sky. "I think the factor was just the bleak mood and the timing," Bob Berney told indieWIRE earlier this week. "I also think some critics either just didn't get it or also weren't in the mood to accept it. I think the mood filtered through everything."
With deep-rooted themes of foreboding doom and American anxiety, "Donnie Darko" was marketed as a horror film, but failed to find an audience. It grossed only $110,000 during its opening weekend on 58 screens; in just three weeks it was playing in less than a dozen theaters. By the end of 2001, it had grossed about $420,000. But word of mouth kept it going on a few screens during 2002 (including midnight screenings that would continue through 2004), and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the DVD in March 2002, fueling the cult following.
by Brian Brooks
Sundance Channel announced Monday that it will air a nightly TV version of "The Al Franken Show," the best-selling political humorist's weekday Air America Radio program. Sundance Channel president and CEO Larry Aidem and Air America Radio CEO Doug Kreeger said that beginning Tuesday, September 7th (and continuing for three months), "The Al Franken Show" will air Monday through Friday weeknights at 11:30pm, with replays at 2:30am and 7:00am. Sundance Channel's version of the show will be taped at the Air America New York studios during that day's broadcast.
In addition to being a best selling author, Al Franken is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer as well as a Grammy Award-winning comedian. He has written five New York Times best-sellers including "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," (which also garnered him a Grammy for the spoken word album of the same title), "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: and other Observations, and "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" Franken also was one of the creators of popular late-night television show, "Saturday Night Live," where he received three Emmys for writing and one for producing. Co-hosting "The Al Franken Show" is Katherine Lanpher, who hosted Minnesota Public Radio's "Midmorning" for six years.