Monday, October 30, 2006

Bryan Singer Returns

Regarding the Superman sequel, we got the heads-up on it a few days back, and now here's that official word we were waiting for, courtesy of Variety. It pretty much confirms everything we already knew, and it firms-up the release date as Summer of '09.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fox News

Michael J. Fox talked to George Stephanopoulos and you can watch the video here. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this line of attack from those on the Lunatic Right is about as ill-conceived as one can imagine. It's impossible to watch this video (or any of the others) and not be struck by not only the severity of Fox's suffering, but also by the sincerity of his words, such as these towards the end:
You know, it's amazing to — I can't stress enough. I don't want to react personally to these attacks. It's pointless. It's silly.

It's like getting in a fight with a bully. What's the point? You're not going to change his mind. You're just probably going to get a nosebleed. So, you know, why bother?

But make no mistake, it hurts. And it hurt when — it hurt — it hurt to see the president use the one veto of his administration to strike down this legislation.

It was passed through both the houses of the Congress. It had a lot of very — people of very serious conscience proud about it and in their duty as representatives voted for. And to see the president – no.

It really is mindboggling, and I can't even begin to imagine the personal way that single veto would have affected me were I in Fox's shoes. Anyway, I know I'd said we were putting a fork in it, but here's yet one more swing at the Limbaugh post, courtesy of John Nichols of The Nation on the "Swiftboating" campaign being waged by the big blowhard:

Republican politicians like Talent and Green fully understand that, without the behind-the-scenes work of antiabortion groups -- most of which flies under the radar of the media and campaign-finance regulators -- they could not possibly win. And Limbaugh, whose stated goal is to maintain Republican hegemony, is perhaps even more aware of the fact than the candidates he is working so feverishly to elect. That's why the radio personality is on a personal crusade against Fox. That's also why Limbaugh has been willing to stick to his outlandish claims about the actor, even while acknowledging that he's gotten the facts wrong.

Like the Republican politicians who are scrambling to smear Fox, Limbaugh is doing the bidding of one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes political forces in America -- a force that is essential to Republican prospects. And he is not going to let a little thing like the truth make him back off.

Ah, politics. Don'tcha just love it?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

UPDATED - Clip of the Week

David Letterman gives Bill O'Reilly the verbal smackdown -- again. Check it out here, courtesy of OneGoodMove.org. Notice how, no matter the levels of subtlety Dave tries to color his answers with, for O'Reilly it always winds up right back at, "Do you think President Bush is evil? Do you want America to lose in Iraq?" It really gives a sense of how the Fox News flavor of reality comes in one of two boxes and that's it. No complexity, no nuance. Black and white.

UPDATE: And for an example of one of those "artificial facts" that Letterman accuses his guest of filling his head with, jump on over to this article by Cenk Uygur.

From THE ONION...

Recommended Reading

Alright, one more thought on Limbaugh before we stick a fork in things and move on. This time it's from William Saletan over at Slate, who speculates on the bizarre phenomena at work in the talk show host's psyche that would lead him to make the kind of accusations of Michael Fox that he has.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Flying High

Well, this weekend it'll be exactly four months since Superman Returns first flew into theaters, but the big question on many fans' minds was whether or not it would hang in there juuuust long enough to squeak by the magic tally of $200 million in domestic box office. Why magic? Because, all along, the higher-ups at the WB had made clear that any sequel aspirations would hinge on the movie passing that money-making landmark stateside, which it finally did this past week. Following on the heels of that breakthrough comes word from IESB that there is indeed another entry in the Super-canon being prepped for release in a few short years.

While it's not exactly a Warner Bros. press release (and thus should be considered rumor for the time being), the IESB article does offer some tantalizing hints as to what we can expect for Supes' next big screen go-round, including the return of director Bryan Singer, and, despite a lower budget, more of a focus on Superman going toe-to-toe with some epic villain or another. Singer has already mentioned his desire to go "Wrath of Khan" in any potential follow-up, which presumably points the way towards less in the way of angst and melodrama, and more in the way of hardcore action and heightened drama. Naturally, more info here as it starts trickling out.

"I Could Give a Damn About Rush Limbaugh’s Pity"

Michael J. Fox talked to Katie Couric last night to respond to Rush Limbaugh's ad hominem attacks from earlier in the week, and you can check out the video at Crooks and Liars. Considering not only what he's suffering from (which is plain as day, by the way), but also the nature of the charges being levelled against him, Fox proves himself (yet again) to be a class act. Moreso than I could be under similar circumstances, anyway, and certainly much more than Mr. Limbaugh has been at any point in his broadcasting history.

Still, let's stop and think about this for a second. Fox went on TV to prove, in essence, that yes, in fact, he is suffering from Parkinson's Disease. It just goes to show how royally screwed up the state of discourse is in our day and age, when someone who is suffering from a disease is now forced to defend himself for the crime of campaigning for a cure. It's disgusting, and it's something that I hold partisan hacks like Rush Limbaugh directly responsible for. Still, I suppose there's some comfort to be had in the fact that the Limbaugh tirade has nationalized an issue that was confined to a just few states, and by obstinately refusing to issue an apology, Rush has probably galvanized even more people firmly in Fox's corner.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rush Flush

Is there a more disgusting human being on Earth right now than Rush Limbaugh? If so, it's a pretty shallow pool, I gotta say.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I should state for the record that I used to be a pretty regular Limbaugh listener back in the day. Of course, that was before things like, y'know, a high school education helped me recognize him for the pompous, partisan, ego-driven bag of gas -- later, drug-addicted bag of gas -- that he is.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Everything to Fear

First, watch this political commercial, the latest attempt by an increasingly-desperate, increasingly-unpopular GOP to convince us that they represent the only bastion of safety in a terrorism-heavy world:



Now, watch the latest commentary from Keith Olbermann, wherein he discusses said ad, and more (as always, transcript is here):

Remembering Tillman

You may or may not remember Pat Tillman. He was the pro football player-turned-US Marine who was KIA in Afghanistan a little over two years ago. While Tillman's death was initially turned into yet another GOP spin-job (a la the Jessica Lynch fiasco), with a prefab narrative about heroism, hostile fire, the whole shebang, ready to go, it soon came out that Tillman died not under a barrage of enemy projectiles, but rather as a result of fire sustained by our own forces. "Friendlies," as it were.

As if that's not unfortunate enough, the true story of what transpired was then actively supressed by the military establishment -- not only from the public at large, but from Tillman's own family. In the end, the "righteousness" of our presence there was given another black eye -- yet another one among so many, both before and since.

The reason I bring all this up is to refresh your memories as I point you to this open letter from Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin (who served in the Marines with him), as he reflects not only on his brother's death but also wonders what he died for. Real eye-opening stuff. In fact, having read the letter, the only thing I'm wondering is exactly how those self-rightous chickenhawks -- the same ones that proudly sanction murder in the name of Old Glory while decrying anyone opposed to the war effort as an unpatriotic, un-American traitor -- will try to tar-and-feather the guy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"You Know My Name"

That's the title of Chris Cornell's theme from the upcoming James Bond revisitation/reinvention, Casino Royale. There've been a couple of versions making the rounds on the web for the past few weeks, but I think the one Cornell posted on his MySpace page is the best.

For what it's worth, I like it. If we're talking about where it falls in the Bond Theme continuum, it has a hard rock edge that makes it closest in spirit to Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die," and that's fine with me. Look for more Bond news as next month's premiere inches closer.

Military De-Commissions

Earlier this week President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law. As those of us who've been following these things know, this is the bill that -- among other things -- vaporizes habeus corpus protections for those detained in connection with the War on Terror.

The essential problem here, and one that those on the Lunatic Right (and it doesn't get more lunatic than this) seem willfully ignorant of in their violent denunciation of anyone who opposes this legislation, is not about this new law being used to protect or coddle the guilty, but its potential be used against those who are innocent. And don't tell me that it could never happen, as there's more than enough evidence that it already has, and that's without this law to give more cover to the government.

There's a "baby with the bathwater" mentality driving this bill and those like it that I think set an incredibly dangerous precedent. How this doesn't set off alarm bells for more people, I don't get. Part of me wants to think that Team Bush's commitment to the common good is so strong that maybe they just don't see the huge downside here (as in, "nothing but"). Then again, you and I both know I'm far too cynical for that.

Anyway, Keith Olbermann commented on this bill's passage into law with another rip-roaring special comment which you can check out below (transcript here).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

From THE ONION...

It's a sad comment on the state of network TV that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- Aaron Sorkin's post-West Wing baby and one of the best shows to hit the 'waves in quite a while -- is already on the ropes and sadly seems headed for a TKO. Rather than lament the show's entree into the early-cancellation sweepstakes, I just thought I'd post this Onion article instead.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Recommended Reading

It's been awhile since I've posted, and it's also been awhile since we've heard from Monty Python's Terry Jones and his acerbic commentaries tearing into the status quo. Thankfully, Terry remedies that with this latest piece for the Guardian, written in the form of an open letter to the Figurehead.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Good News

Sometimes you wonder why you bother waking up in the morning:
Experts warn of an accidental atomic war
A Pentagon project to modify its deadliest nuclear missile for use as a conventional weapon against targets such as North Korea and Iran could unwittingly spark an atomic war, two weapons experts warned Thursday.
And, a little further down...
"The media and expert circles are already discussing plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry nonnuclear warheads," he said in May. "The launch of such a missile could ... provoke a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces."
Yeesh...I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ramboned?

Sylvester Stallone is sure reliving past glory these days, isn't he? First up, there's December's release of the sixth Rocky flick, and now we find out he's solidified plans to revisit that other popular franchise beginning with an "R". That's right, '80s fans, John Rambo is headed back to the big screen.

Now, I don't think a bigger fan of First Blood (a.k.a. "Rambo I") exists on this planet than Yours Truly, and for years now I've advocated a return to the screen for Stallone's Vietnam vet character -- with the caveat that it be more in line with the thinking man's action pic of movie one, and not so much the over-the-top bloodbath of movie two. Sadly, it looks like Rambo's much-anticipated (?) return will be more like the latter than the former. Says Production Weekly:
The next chapter finds Rambo recruited by a group of Christian human rights missionaries to protect them against pirates, during a humanitarian aid deliver to the persecuted Karen people of Burma. After some of the missionaries are taken prisoner by sadistic Burmese soldiers, Rambo gets a second impossible job: to assemble a team of mercenaries to rescue the surviving relief workers.
I guess I should just be thankful that the villains in this one aren't cartoon Arab terrorists. That's Chuck Norris territory, dammit.

Zaki's Thesis: Prospectus Prospecting

As you may or may not know from my occasional postings on the topic, I'm currently in the midst trying like heck to finish up my Master's Thesis, a rhetorical criticism of the television show Lost (which, apropos of nothing, started its third season this past Wednesday). Given that, and given the fact that the first draft of my prospectus (the first three chapters) was due to my adviser today, I'm sure that goes a way towards explaining why I've been MIA as far as the blogging goes this week. I expect there may be one or two more MIA weeks between now and December 4th (my absitively-posolutely-has-to-be-done-by date).

Anyway, I've been busting my hump for the past week, the last twelve hours of which were spent rooted to the spot in front of my computer. Right now my fingers are frozen in a strange, claw-like formation, I can't feel my legs, and I think the mousepad is talking to me. That said, draft one is done. Done. Mercifully, mercifully done. Now, granted, from here to the finish-line it's going to be all-stress, all the time, but now, just for a moment, I want to take a deep breath, exhale, and forget about the fact that I'm nowhere near finished with everything else I need to finish with before I'm actually finished.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Recommended Viewing/Reading

It's a been light (read: nonexistent) week for me as far as blogging goes, mainly because I'm hip-deep in trying to finish up the prospectus for my thesis, but I did want to drive-by post this latest special comment from my man Keith Olbermann. Watch the clip here, read the transcript here. 'Nuff said.

Back soon! (...hopefully...)