Thursday, March 29, 2007

Radio-Television Correspondents' Dinner Highlights: MC Rove

I wish that this was a joke.

I wish I didn't have to see Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie of Whose Line Is It Anyway talking to Karl Rove.

I wish I didn't have to watch Karl Rove painfully struggling to be funny.

I really wish I didn't have to watch David Gregory strutting behind Karl Rove, pretending that all's well in the world - that he actually likes Karl Rove, and that that whole "politics" thing they both do is really just an act for the cameras.

But since I had to see it, I'm now forcing you to view it, too.

Is it just me, or is there an Oscar night quality to these Dinners? Whenever I watch this stuff on C-SPAN, it always strikes me that the politicians are just playing "characters," and that on nights like these, they all get together to share a big belly laugh about it all.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:43 PM /

Monday, March 19, 2007

You Choose....

First, check out the beginning of our series, Fleshing Them Out, and our profile of Hillary Clinton. Then, feel free to vote for the next candidate we cover. If your candidate's name isn't specifically listed on the survey, just drop the name in the comments.

It may be 596 days until the 2008 Elections, but it's never too early to get into the habit of voting!

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend and mentor at Modern Fabulousity for getting me ontrack with the world of online surveys. I finally found a GREAT template at Vizu - highly recommended!

Get Free Opinion Polls

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:05 AM /

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reprise For My Birthday...

Yup... today's the lucky day for me... and in honor of my own birthday, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts... from last year around this time. Enjoy!

As it turns out, March 14th is quite a remarkable day, with an incredibly diverse range of events and holidays taking place.

On the one hand, today is Pi Day. In the basement of science buildings everywhere, "pi enthusiasts" gather together to contemplate just how special the numerical representation of pi is - 3.14... and how troubled their lives would be without pi. If you care to celebrate, try to hold off until 1:59PM, which is the traditional moment that the festivites begin.

On the other hand, today is Steak and Blowjob Day. This day was created as an alternative to Valentine's Day. Why wasn't I informed about this sooner?!?

You know, using a pretty complex mathmatical equation, with an alternate value for pi, I can calculate that Steak and Blowjob Day + Birthday = New York Strip, Oral Sex, AND CAKE!!! What could be better???

For fans of Pi Day, it should be noted that today is Albert Einstein's birthday. For fans of Steak and Blowjob Day, it should be noted that today is also Catherine Dent's birthday. OK, so Catherine Dent is a stretch... but better her than Rick Dees, also born on this day, right? Catherine Dent was pretty wonderful in 21 Grams, right?

For all you conspiracy theorists, it should be noted that on this day in 1964, A jury in Dallas, Texas finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Exactly three years later, The body of President John F. Kennedy is moved to a permanent burial place at Arlington National Cemetery.

Coincidence? I think not!

OK... all this being said, I may not get a steak and a blowjob today, but I suppose I'd settle for a hamburger and a smooch?

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:37 AM /

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fleshing Them Out '08: Hillary Clinton

Let's face it... unless Al Gore tries to parlay his Oscar win into another bid for the While House, or someone like Mark Warner reconsiders his decision against running, there are currently three Top Dogs running in the Democratic Party for the White House. They are (in alphabetical order) Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton seems inextricably tied to her husband, President Bill Clinton. For our purposes, we are going to try and analyze Hillary as an individual, a Senator, and a Presidential candidate.

For purposes of analysis, we will be using the most recent poll of American public opinion - A CBS/New York Times poll taken between March 7-11, 2007. According to this poll, Americans are most concerned about the following issues:
War in Iraq - 29%
Economy/Jobs - 8%
Health Care - 8%
Immigration - 5%
Education - 5%
Hillary Clinton will be 60 years old as of October 26th. She went to Wellesley College, and obtained her degree in Law from Yale in 1973. Prior to her marriage to Bill Clinton, she served as a staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund, and later as one of only two women lawyers on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee during the term of Richard Nixon.

Following her husband's terms as Arkansas Governor and President, she was elected as a member of the United States Senate, where she has served since 2001. She currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Hillary Clinton is probably the best known of the Democratic candidates, for better or worse. She has played the role of a unifier within the Democratic party, and also represents of the most polarizing figures in contemporary American politics. If money were the name of the game, she'd be the Democratic nominee - hands down.

Her website is very polished and looks very nice, but it is VERY difficult to find any substance on this site, relative to where she stands on the issues. The closest we find to a page on the issues is a Newsroom Page, which lists various statements that she has made, but doesn't clearly state her stand on a variety of issues.

This is a HUGE problem, for a number of reasons. As we'll see further into this series, a majority of the other candidates clearly have a page dedicated to their positions and issues of importance (though they're not always so clear... remind me to ask Joe Biden how Afghanstan and Darfur wind up as related issues).

But beyond this is the fact that if Clinton doesn't clearly define her positions, she allows others to do that for her.

A visit to her Senate web site clears up much of the mystery, but at the very least, this information should be transferred onto her campaign web site. I had to look f-a-r too long for this information - the average voter probably won't even look... let alone taking any significant time to look.

IRAQ: On February 17, 2007, Hillary Clinton introduced the Clinton Plan To End War. She calls for an end to President Bush's escalation, capping troop levels at Jan. 1. 2007 levels. She calls for a phased redelpoyment of troops within 90 days, or a new Congressional authorization for the use of force would be necessary. The plan also calls for certain benchmarks to be met by the Iraq government, or else face a loss of funding for the military and reconstrction efforts in Iraq.

ECONOMY/JOBS: Clinton's economy page focuses primarily on state and local economic issues. After some digging, I was able to find these remarks presented to the Economic Club of Chicago in April, 2006:
I suggest that we agree on the need for an economic strategy that keeps our economy growing and creating good jobs in the face of new competition. And that we strengthen the middle class, which is, after all, the engine of our growth and the backbone of our democracy.... Now, the shape of the American economy depends a lot on where you're sitting and where you're looking. The stock market is at historic highs. But so are the budget deficits and the national debt.... Productivity is growing. But spending on research is decreasing and wages have fallen over the last four years on average.... We need, therefore, a real national discussion about how to do again in this new century what America has always done best: promote innovation, create the new jobs of the future -- including manufacturing jobs, get back to our "can do" spirit that really is the fuel for the free enterprise economy and make strategic investments in both the public and the private sector that will help us not only grow the economy but secure the values that define who we are as Americans.... Tax cuts alone can't secure the middle class. They are not the cure all for everything that ails the American economy. It takes the right tax system and the right investments, including infrastructure. And right now we don't have either. We need investments, decisions and policies that only all of us acting together through our government can make to set the stage for future prosperity.... Now I would start, for example, by updating both our virtual and our physical infrastructure. I think that it's imperative that we look at how we've been living off the investments of decades ago, people who build the interstate highway system, the bridges, the tunnels, the rail systems and so much else.... The way to reduce our oil addiction is through technology, and we need a much more aggressive strategy.... I think we need a major energy research program similar to what President Eisenhower did after Sputnik went up because we are suffering through what might be called -- and some have -- silent Sputnik. And the energy issue is one of those.... Now, government can't do this alone. We need this public and private sector partnership. And businesses can do much more. I think our oil companies have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I propose that we ask that they invest more in alternative energy or contribute a percentage of these extraordinary profits, which are due in part to the subsidies they still get when the price of oil keeps going up.... Over the long-term and maybe the median term, red ink fiscal policies will undermine America's competitiveness. We have to ask ourselves whether our taxing and spending policies are in line with our economic goals. Do we have the right priorities and values in the federal budget?... Nineteen years ago, a Republican gave a speech about deficits which I think rings true today. He said close the deficit and lock economic expansion in place for the years ahead or return to the days of inflation and stagnation.... We must answer the call to action now if we are to preserve and protect our economic expansion. The answer is clear; get on and stay on the road of declining deficits. The speaker? President Ronald Reagan.
HEALTH CARE: Clinton has called universal health care coverage "not only a moral and health imperative, but an economic and jobs imperative as well." Other key votes on health issues include her support for the Medicaid Generic Drug Amendment, as well as the Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act.

IMMIGRATION: Clinton voted in support of the Immigration Reform Bill in May, 2006 - a bill which increased border security and enforcement laws, established criteria for U.S. citizenship, and provided financial assistance programs for areas of immigration. Clinton also voted in support of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a bill that authorized the construction of an additional 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico and granted the Secretary of Homeland Security authority to take necessary steps to stop unlawful entry of undocumented immigrants into the U.S.

EDUCATION: Clinton supports expanding access to Head Start for pre-school-aged children. She supports increasing the skills and salaries of Head Start teachers. While she supports No Child Left Behind, she criticizes President Bush efforts to remove significant funding for the program. She was an original co-sponsor of America's Better Classrooms Act, which would ensure school modernization needs. She supports efforts to double the maximum Hope Scholarship Tax Credit to $3,000, and make it available for four years of college instead of the current two years. She supports efforts to enable the over five million borrowers with consolidated loans to refinance their loans, just as they would refinance their home mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates and eliminate origination fees on subsidized loans.

Below are a few links to further information about Hillary Clinton:

Official Campaign Website
Senate Web Site
Hillary Clinton MySpace Page
Hillary Clinton on YouTube
Molly Ivins: I Will Not Support Hillary Clinton For President

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:58 PM /

Anyone Remember Alice's Restaurant?

There's a portion of the lyrics in Arlo Guthrie's classic epic song, Alice's Restaurant (if you haven't listened to it lately, you should - it's good for the soul), and it goes something like this:
I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug."
And then there's the Chairman of the U.S. Military Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. Here's what he said:
I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.... I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way.... As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior.
We'll just sidestep the issue of the hypocrisy here, where we could point out things like this:
estimates are that somewhere between 22% and 60% of men and 14% and 40% of women have been unfaithful. Apply those figures to the 1.4 million people who are in active military service -- about 60% of whom are married -- and you have to wonder why only 60 or so service members have been prosecuted for adultery in the last two years.... Clearly, the military doesn't make much of an attempt to enforce the rule, probably because to do so would lead inevitably to its repeal.... In the 1950s, the military established health inspections of prostitutes in Okinawa to protect American servicemen from venereal disease. Brothels that were given an "A" designation, as in "approved," offered clean women.... U.S. military in South Korea was providing patrols at brothels to ensure the safety of the GIs inside. The women of these establishments were often Russians and Filipinos who had been promised good jobs in South Korea, then forced into prostitution. But rather than assist the women, our military chose to protect the R & R of its guys.
Yes... let's just skip past that and ask a simpler question. Are you really going to question the morality of homosexuality in an era of Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, civilian casualties, and the general expiration of life that comes as a direct result of war? Really?!?

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:52 PM /

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fleshing Them Out '08: A Preview

I know, I know... most of the country is fixated on March Madness this week, and the bracketology of the final 64 invited to the NCAA Tournament.

But today will begin an ongoing series here at PTF - an opportunity for you to find out a little bit more about the individuals claiming to be worthy of running our country by serving as President of the United States.

We're going to try and cover Democrats and Republicans, as well as some Independents - we'll cover the majors, as well as the mid-pack players, and possibly a few that you've never even heard of before.

It's a major undertaking, to be sure. But if all goes well, maybe we'll all be placed in a better position to put all of these Presidential candidates into our own bracket, and see who comes out victorious.

Onward, then.... let's get to FLESHING THEM OUT '08!!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:22 PM /

Friday, March 09, 2007

CPAC... The Story Beyond The Bitch

OK... so everyone's covered the CPAC story, and followed Coulter's hideous comments and the fallout, which is probably what Coulter wanted in the first place.

Max Blumenthal, however, is one of the few to actually cover CPAC beyond Ann Coulter. What he uncovers is the simple fact that Coulter is not the only dispicable person claiming to represent the Republican party. Take a look at his report:

These reports alone stand as enough reason for each of us to renew our subscription to The Nation, or to pick up one if you haven't already done so.

Posted by FleshPresser at 1:15 PM /

The N-Word...

I don't log a lot of time watching South Park, but I just saw the beginning of this episode, and fell off my chair. Of course, all it took was a quick search on YouTube to be able to share the beginning of the episode with you:

After seeing this, I was reminded of another video I recently saw. I coach a forensic speech team, and I was looking for a good example of an After Dinner Speech for a student who had never seen one before.

What I found was not only a great example of an oral presentation, but it also serves as a fantastic commentary on the use of "The N Word."

Take a look at the video, and feel free to post a response in the comments section.

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:09 AM /

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

An Apple A Day...

As a precursor to a new feature we'll be running here at PTF, focused on fleshing out the details of all of the major (AND minor) candidates for '08, I found this GREAT YouTube ad for Barack Obama.

For those of you old enough to remember the Apple ad campaign, you'll dig it almost as much as the first time you saw the ad run. For those who are younger, it's simply a take-off on a great ad. Enjoy....

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:04 PM /

Don't Blame The Sun

I was looking at our local weather forecast online, to see when the air would finally warm back up to human standards, and thought it was funny to find this:
Windy and bitterly cold with ineffective sunshine
Ineffective?!? That's a first. Looks like the meteorologist was trying to add some commentary to the forecast.

Posted by FleshPresser at 8:46 PM /

Monday, March 05, 2007

Satan Thwarted Once Again In Reclaiming Cheney

As much as Hell wants him back, doctors still keep managing to allow Cheney to hang on to his mortality. This time, a blood clot was found in his leg. This could have wrecked havoc with his animatronic heart, but was found before it had a chance to effectively deliver the soul of Cheney back to his rightful owner, Satan.

Posted by FleshPresser at 4:39 PM /