Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No Nukes!!!

This is an urgent request for all PTFers, but particularly those who live in Pennsylvania and Virginia. As early as TWO DAYS from now, Vice President Cheney and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will be attempting to ram their extremist right-wing judicial nominees through our system of checks and balances by threatening the so-called "nuclear option" and doing away with the filibuster - a rule within the political system of checks and balances which has been in existence for over 200 years, and has served the voices of BOTH political parties, to the betterment of our way of life.

But this will go beyond judicial nominees. Once the axe has been lowered, and Republicans have silenced their opposition, there is a whole laundry list of legislation that will begin to go unchecked.

The votes of Senator Specter and Senator Warner could decide the issue once and for all.

PLEASE - contact Senator Specter in Pennsylvania and Senator Warner in Virginia and voice your opposition to these tactics. I just got off the phone, and it's a VERY simple way of registering your voice. If you can't afford the call, e-mail Senator Specter or Senator Warner... here's something I wrote - feel free to use it:

"Hi there. My name is _______ and I live in ________. I’d like to urge the Senator to please oppose and vote against any efforts to eliminate the filibuster and to oppose the “nuclear option” being pushed by Republican leadership right now.

Our government is based on a system of checks and balances, and Congress has used the filibuster for over 200 years, to the betterment of our political system and to ensure that the voices of BOTH parties have been heard. Please do not let this system of fairness end."

Cut and paste my friends... it's all I ask.

Too many times, we complain about how our government is being run without taking the few brief moments that it actually takes to become involved in the process. So PLEASE do this now. Press the Flesh with your Senator. It's more important now than it's been in a long, long time.

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania)
DC Phone: 202-224-4254

Sen. John Warner (Virginia)
DC Phone: 202-224-2023

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:26 AM /

Friday, April 22, 2005

Project Reality

Although I admit that I am NO Reality Show junkie, I do find that I have slowly been incorporating more and more of these shows into my viewing habits. Maybe its the crushing REALITY of Bush, Delay, Benedict, and the like that push me to find some solace in "reality" programming. Guilty pleasures.

I used to be proud in saying that the singular reality show I watched was SURVIVOR, and I am stunned that I haven't blogged on this year's group yet. I was thrilled last night to see Janu take herself out of the game when no one else would take the leather-y, weatherbeaten "Vegas showgirl" out of the game. C'mon... Vegas showgirl?? I've seen victims of white tiger attacks I'd rather watch.

But the Philly hometown girl, Stephanie LaGrossa continues her streak, and is a true survivor in my opinion, regardless of whether or not she survives beyond next week. When I saw that she was a pharmaceutical rep., I had already formulated a pretty negative opinion about her, and was waiting for her to break a nail and bite the dust, but she's proven herself to be not only a pretty face (and have you SEEN those abs??), but a tough competitor - and it appears that next week's episode will continue to prove that Stephanie is a PLAYER!

Of the original Koror, I am a fan of Tom (one of NYC's finest) and Ian (he's got a geeky, quirky sensibility that I like). I was rooting for Coby, as well, but he shot himself in the foot with his attitude - too bad, because he had the intelligence to go further if he would have played his cards a bit better.

Regardless, this is the point in the show where I start leaning forward in my chair - so, I'm sure I'll be talking about it more now that we're into the post-merge portion of the game.

One of the new reality shows I've found myself sucked into is Bravo's Project Greenlight. As a director, albeit in theatre, I find myself absolutely cringing watching the ineptitude of John Gulager, a 42-year old wedding videographer/incestuous family filmmaker. What director says things like "I'm not really a people person"?!?!?!? When I think back to the first episode, and hearing Ben and Matt talking about how they were going to save the show by choosing Gulager... well, it makes me feel real bad for the other two finalists who have to sit and watch Gulager piss this amazing opportunity away. If you haven't logged any time on Project Greenlight, I would highly recommend it! It's part "how-to-succeed in the film business" and part train wreck.

Speaking of "Project"-titled shows on Bravo, the new season of "Project Runway" is gearing up, and they're currently auditioning folks for the new season. Knowing a few friends (Shannon, are you LISTENING?) who have both the fashion and reality-TV background to take on a show like this, I'll link to the specifics of the auditions here. This is a show that I NEVER would have presumed to view, but there is a strange fascination for me in glimpsing behind the scenes into the world of those who decide what adorns our flesh. C'mon Shannon, eeeethar yoo are eeeeen, or yooo are out!

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:19 AM /

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Ratz...er....umm.... never mind.... Posted by Hello

Posted by FleshPresser at 2:45 PM /

Nostradamus warns....

... that maybe it's time to reinforce the PopeMobile?

Posted by FleshPresser at 1:11 PM /

Quotes From Your New Pope...

"Catholics would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present themselves for Holy Communion, if they were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stance on abortion or euthanasia."

"When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

"In Levitic 18, 22 and 20, 13, when it is indicated what the necessary conditions to belong to the elected people are, the author leaves out from the people of God those who have a homosexual behaviour."

"In some nations a real attempt to manipulate the Church is taking place in order to get the support of the priests and to change the rules of the legislation. The purpose of this action is to conform legislation to these groups' conception according to which homosexuality is a perfectly harmless reality, if not totally good. Although the practice of homosexuality is seriously threatening the life and the welfare of a big numner of people, the authors of this tendency don't give up and refuse to take into consideration the huge risk that is implied with it".

"The Bishops will have by any means to support the development of specialized forms of pastoral cure for homosexual people. This might include the collaboration of psychology, sociology and medicine, always remaining faithful to the doctrine of the Church".

“Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger: it would end in segregation and competition between men and women, and would promote a solipsism nourished by a false conception of freedom.”

And this is just scratching the surface.... I'm sure others will chime in soon enough. My flesh is crawling.

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:54 PM /

Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Ratzinger was Pope JPII's RIght-Hand man, and emphasis should be placed on the word "Right".

This is a clear signal that the Church has no intention of listening to the cries of Catholics throughout the world, seeking to integrate modern thought into a practice of religion.

He is about as hard-line as they come, so be afraid.

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:45 PM /

Oh noooooooo.......

12:44PM - Cardinal Ratzinger has been named as the new Pope. American Catholics, be afraid, for this surely is a vote for the Catholic Church to continue to fight against the rest of the Modern World, and a bow to continued conservatism.

As for this FleshPresser, I think it's time to get out while the getting is good....

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:42 PM /

Funky Cardinal Medina Says....

12:41PM - He's about to cast some Latin magic.....

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:23 PM /

And the Winner Is.....

12:21PM - still waiting for the Cardinal spokesdude to come out and give the Latin "We Gottum Pope-Um" announcement of the name.....

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:20 PM /

Bells are Ringing...

12:04PM - Bells are ringing, but it's not clear that the bell... wait... THE BELL IS MOVING!!! A NEW POPE HAS BEEN ELECTED!!! And the results are......

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:03 PM /

Is it Black or White?

11:55AM - Black smoke has begun to pour from the roof of the Sistene Chapel... no, wait... it appears to be greyish-white now..... nope... definitely white. The crowd has begun to roar at the appearance of the white smoke, though no bells have begun to ring. No, wait... the smoke has taken on a slight hue of eggshell. I do hear a cell phone ringing... does that count as a bell? Holy crap, the smoke is now a slate color.... what does this MEAN?!? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!?!?

I need a smoke....

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:54 AM /

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of The Onion:

"A living will is a great way to meet a notary public, if notaries public are your thing."

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:22 AM /

Monday, April 11, 2005

Praise for Prius

Well, it hasn't quite been a month yet, but I'm officially in love with my new car, the Toyota Prius. I've had the Prius for almost a month now, and I've been to the gas station exactly twice (to be fair, the car came with a full tank of gas). This includes a trip from PTF HQ in PA to NYC last week - in my PT Cruiser (Rest in Peace, my sweet lil Cruiser) this trip used to take a full tank of gas. My beautiful new Prius cut that amount in half, AND told me how to get there (thanks to it's groovy GPS).

And now it appears that I was lucky to get mine. People are actually paying over the original sticker price now for the used Prius, in an attempt to get past the ever increasing gas prices and avoid the months-long wait for a new Prius.

Of course, the best just isn't good enough for some people. Despite the fabulous gas mileage the Prius boasts, there are those who have been hacking their Prius, adding modifications to allow the car to be plugged in, increasing mileage by anywhere from an additional 30 to 150 MPG.

The tide is turning, and the days of the SUV are numbered. And kudos to this Green Bay, WI area police department for jumping on the bandwagon. Now, if this means that people are going to look at my Prius like a Ford Crown Victoria, I think I'm gonna cry. Well, maybe not.

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:32 AM /

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dare We Press the Political Flesh Once More?

For the fact that Spring has arrived - a traditional time of rebirth - there has been quite a bit of death lately distracting us here at PTF.

As such, it's been hard to focus on politics, unless it's been the discussion of whether former President Carter was snubbed in not being invited to attend the funeral of the Pope. And there we are, squarely back at death's doorstep once more.

I guess Death is a Conservative, as He has allowed our attention to stray from the continued shitpile in Washington - but no longer. PTF is back on the beat.

The Hill reports today that a poll shows Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) facing an "uphill battle" to take the seat currently occupied by the Frightening Billy Frist - he of the "I Can Watch Videotape of Terry Schiavo and Diagnose Her Accurately" snafu.

I actually see this not as bad news, but good news. The poll shows that Ford is neck-and-neck with his Republican opponents prior to even officially entering the race. Those who believed Tennessee would be an easy win for the Republicans are going to have to think again.

Our continuing watch on Icky Ricky Santorum continues, as he bobs and weaves, trying desperately to redefine himself in time for Election Day. Ken Melman has already been quoted as stating that the top priority for 2006 is the re-election of Sen. Santorum. And now we find the typically pro-life Santorum noticeably absent from the Schiavo fiasco. He's been speaking about raising payroll taxes in an attempt to pay for privatization of Social Security.

But lest he stray too far from the ones who butter his bread, Santorum spoke in support of the "nuclear option", eliminating one more voice of dissent and taking away one more balance of power.

And finally, following Pie Watch 2005, yet another conservative speaker has been cruelly and heartlessly struck down in his prime... with a pie. The poor, defenseless David Horowitz was speaking at Butler University when the terrorist tart-toters struck the man down.

Will the melee of meringue ever cease? Or more likely, will Conservative pundits begin hiring their own Berry Blasters to attack during their appearances, lest they be left out from the "cooler" pundits who have been targets?

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:38 AM /

The Upcoming Current

OK... "Al Gore invented the Internet, and NOW look what he wants to do?"

"I want my AL TV."

etc. etc. etc.... make all the tired jokes you want.

CURRENT is finally coming, and in FleshPresser's humble opinion, if executed properly, CURRENT has the potential to do for television what blogging has done for the Internet.

Seriously... check out the CURRENT site.

On a slightly related note, can anyone explain to me the partnership between Air America Radio and Clear Channel Communications? I dig Morning Sedition, Al Franken, and Randi Rhodes, even if I'm not crazy about the addition of a Jerry Springer who has decided to hop off the sleaze train and try to become a "legitimate voice" once again.

But how do the Air America hosts rationalize the partnership with Clear Channel? I've only recently found the local station that carries Air America, so maybe I missed the explanation - can any other PTFers fill in the details?

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:55 AM /

Pondering the Pope

On this day before the funeral of the Pope, here are some thoughts and observations that have struck me about this man, his life, and the incredible whirlwind surrounding the Vatican over the past few days:

I am awestruck and amazed at the hundreds of thousands of people who have converged on the Vatican to pay their last respects to Pope John Paul II. I am struck most by the inner motivation - be it faith, curiosity, or simply frenzy - that an individual finds to wait in line for what has easily been over 15 hours, to pay their final respects and catch a last glimpse of this man.

As an American, it is easy to criticize and speak, as an example, of the Pope's stand on women in the church or of the seemingly endless stream of people leaving the Church, but those Western views somehow become tempered by looking at the faces of those waiting in this amazing line.

On the other hand, I was sickened to see Katie Couric and Chris Matthews reporting live from the Vatican, feebly attempting to interview people as they waited in line. This morning, in particular, found Ms. Couric trying desperately to speak with those in the queue, but unable to communicate due to language barriers.

With all of the attention being paid to the Pope and his life in the last few days, I am struck by the pictures of him as a young man. He was a remarkably good-looking man in his youth, and these pictures display a sharp contrast from the older, infirmed man we think of when speaking of the Pope.

Critics of the Vatican have been speaking in the last few days of the arrogance of this Pope... of his unwillingness to relinquish his post, despite his failing health. According to his will, which was just released today, he speaks of his consideration of a resignation in 2000. The question this raises for me is simple - to those who criticize him for not stepping down I ask - what makes you think he WANTED to remain in his position? By this I mean that perhaps it was a larger sense of faith, responsibility, and sacrifice which kept him in the position.

I have also read, along with everyone else, the salacious details of such sordid stories that were buried until now, when it somehow seems timely to bring them out and dust them off - stories like that of the naming of a secret Cardinal, about the conspiracy involved in the death of John Paul I, or even the attempt by Vatican officials to hide the fact that John Paul II had died.

Finally, I smiled at stories that highlighted this Pope's humanity. Of course, it is far too easy to see images of the Pope with breakdancers and make the easy joke. But I believe that this Pope was fully aware of the images he was presenting to the world. Bono shares a story about John Paul II and the famed "shades incident", and this is a man who was an actor in his youth - the first Pope who came to the position in the height of the media spotlight - and a man who had the recognition to say that "if it didn't happen on TV, it didn't happen."

While I sincerely hope that as the process of selecting a new Pope begins, that they find a person with the sense to move the Catholic Church forward, but who also has the sense of humor and grace that this man possessed. And while there are those who believe the next Pope will once again be an Italian, I would remind them that John Paul II was a big surprise, and the Catholic Church must now find a way to bring someone to this position who will bring "joy" to the Church. I would not be surprised at all to find our next Pope coming from Africa or South America. Regardless of their place of birth, let us hope that they move the Church forward, and find a way to reconcile a True sense of "Christianity" with the man-made rules of the Church.

Posted by FleshPresser at 9:52 AM /

Friday, April 01, 2005

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines....

8:25PM ROME - Reuters has just reported, for the first time, that Pope John Paul II has died. Needless to say, this story will flip back and forth several times as news agencies jockey to report the death of Pope John Paul II first.

Meanwhile, Wolf, Brian, Peter, and all the rest - well, you can feel them all pulling out their best pressed linen shirts, working the words in their mouth over and over again in the mirror, readying themselves to feed endlessly on the story.

As a side note, CNN has the "worsening condition" story running right now, while MSNBC is going with "lost consciousness" and Fox News is at Code Red with "The Pope is Dead".

The Catholic Church is full of symbolism and ceremony and ritual, of course. I found this "death test" interesting:

"When the pope dies, the cardinal chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the holy Roman Church (currently Eduardo Cardinal Martinez Somalo) ascertains the pope’s death, traditionally by calling the pope three times by his baptismal name without response. The ritual of striking the head with a silver hammer (which would later be used to break the Fisherman’s Ring and the papal seal) may be replaced by covering the face with a cloth. He then authorizes the secretary-chancellor to issue a death certificate and seals the pope's private apartments. After notifying the cardinal vicar for the diocese of Rome, the chamberlain secures the temporal goods and rights of the Holy See and attends to the details of the pope’s burial. "

Posted by FleshPresser at 1:37 PM /

F-o-o-d Fight!

Remember last year when those zany pranksters chased Ann Coulter across the stage, a volley of pies whizzing past her hateful head? What? You don't remember? Oh, please... let me refresh your memory, with this wonderful video of the moment.

Well, one might wonder if it's becoming an epidemic? In the past few days, William Kristol was hit in the face with a pie during a foreign policy speech being given at a Quaker school in Indiana. Just picture it - Dan Quayle's former Cheif of Staff is doing his step and shuffle about US Foreign Policy to a group of peace-loving Quakers in this small school in Indiana... and then the pie comes flying. I haven't found the video for this one yet, but the mental image is almost more delicious.

Almost as good as Pat Buchanan being doused with salad dressing during an appearance at Western Michigan University. He cut his appearance short, stating "Thank you all for coming, but I'm going to have to get my hair washed."

Mmmm.... to be the one who washes Pat Buchanan's hair.....

So, for the weekend, here's the assignment - who's the next conservative target, and what is the food of choice for that target?

Posted by FleshPresser at 1:16 PM /

Catholic Bashing and the Pope

I've been sitting on this for more than a few weeks now, silent as I watched it continue to happen again and again, but now that all of the major news media is focused on the Pope and his impending passing, it seems all the more relevant.

Let's first get the disclaimers out of the way. FleshPresser is a Catholic. Now, to be fair, I'm an American, pro-choice, liberal, supports-gay-marriage, John Kerry Catholic.

A contradiction? Perhaps. But here's how I balance by spiritual and political beliefs. My faith, and the Catholic faith, is based on the Nicene Creed - this is largely where I base my faith. Do I agree with the man-made "rules" of the Catholic church? Largely, no. Does the Nicene Creed make mention of issues of choice, tolerance, women's equality within the church or anything else, relative to how I should formulate my beliefs? Nope.

This is where I become conflicted. A few weeks ago, as the Pope's health once again began to decline, a columnist for the New York Press wrote a piece entitled "THE 52 FUNNIEST THINGS ABOUT THE UPCOMING DEATH OF THE POPE." Rather than linking to a series of other examples of Pope bashing or Catholic bashing, suffice it to say that you can find more than sufficient examples by visiting Technorati or Google.

As a liberal Democrat, I look at much of the criticism of the Catholic Church, and I agree wholeheartedly. But as a liberal Democrat and a Catholic, I also look at the hypocrisy of my fellow liberals in making some of the cheap personal comments against the Pope or the Catholic Church. If any other religious leader would be attacked in the way that the Pope is, we liberal Democrats would be the first to jump up and defend the religious freedom of others around the world.

Am I saying that one should not rail against some of the POLICIES of the Catholic Church? Absolutely not. But think about Pope John Paul II for a moment:

Pope John Paul II, prior to his priesthood, was a founding member of an experimental theatre company called Rhapsodic Theatre, a group focused on the Polish language and text. At a time when only Germans were allowed to attend cultural events, and Poles could be shot for attending the theatre or for even speaking Polish in the wrong place, they were literally risking their lives for their art and their country. He wrote one of his teachers that he wanted to build "a theatre that will be a church where the national spirit will burn."

Pope John Paul II was the First Pope to make an official visit to a Synagogue. First to make an official visit to a Mosque. He fought for the rights of religious freedoms, demanding rights to build churches in Communist Poland. He fought to ordain priests to work underground in Czechoslovakia. He was fluent in eight languages. He was a clear and vocal opponent of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, and other wars. He was a lover of peace. He changed the face of the Catholic Church - appointed more religious leaders from Africa, South America and elsewhere than any other Pope prior.

While I have significant problems with the leadership of the Catholic Church on many, many different issues, I find that I also become strangely defensive when I hear attacks like this, in light of looking at the totality of the life that this man has led, and in light of the fact that there isn't even an ounce of respect that can be given even at the moment of death. For people who promote tolerance, and suggest that every person deserves an equal respect in our lives, I find this absence of respect very sad and ugly.

I guess now I know how it feels to be a Log Cabin Republican.

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:40 AM /