BILLY MAYS HERE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN!
Good stuff from the late great pitchman.
Lie To Me*
I'm jazzed about this for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I really enjoy Lie To Me* (any vehicle for Pumpkin/Ringo/Mr.Orange is a worthy vehicle) and wouldn't want to see a new episode preempted.
Yes, the irony is an added bonus (compounded by the fact that the show frequently showcases images of notorious fibbing politicians wearing fib-betraying microexpressions at the commercial cutaways).
But what I'm most eager to see are the Nielsen ratings for the 8 o'clock hour Wednesday night.
While Fox won't be donating its $10 million hour of prime time sweeps airtime to the 4th consecutive monthly polinfomercial, Fox News and Fox Business will (as will CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC).
Ahh... watching Jack Bauer (even in his neurologically impaired state) angrily putting Jeanine Garofalo's "24" character in her place regarding what's necessary to defend the country is indescribably gratifying.
"And I Hate... the F***ing Eagles, Man."
Eagles founder Don Henley and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell sued Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and a campaign worker Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that DeVore infringed on the copyright of their 1984 hit "The Boys of Summer."
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, DeVore, R-Irvine, and his Internet strategist Justin Hart created an online video in which new lyrics criticizing President Barack Obama replace Henley's words.
"The unauthorized use of Henley and Campbell's copyrighted work is synchronized with a series of photographic images of DeVore, Hart and President Barack Obama, among others," the lawsuit contends.
"Henley and Campbell did not, and would not, authorize the use of their song for this purpose," the suit said. "Viewers might also conclude that Henley and Campbell are political supporters of DeVore, which they are not."
DeVore is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer.
Henley, a longtime vocal supporter of Democratic causes, has drawn boos from fans in Orange County over the years for making political comments between songs during concerts.
E.M. Zanotti pens a preemptive amicus brief, in case it reaches the appellate stage.
"Mr. Henley has clearly missed that parody is a protected use of copyrighted material, through both the fair use exception and the laws explicit recognition that a derivative work, which this is, is a new work and therefore not subject to the copyright protections on the original work. Also, Mr. Henley clearly missed that this parody may, in fact, be better than the original song."
Update: Justin Hart (one of the two defendants) weighs in further.
One one side of the coin we have an excellent case. This was a parody (using a Don Henley son as a big trouble making lib) and a satire (on Obama). The former being absolutely protected, the latter being less so but still viable. Take, for instance, the Capitol Steps. Their Wiki page indicates that they never ask for permission for their parodies and satires.Still, there is the case against Jib Jab, which didn't turn out that way.
In short, it's relatively unsettled law in many respects. But I still feel confident we can go forward with it.
Update: More from Hart on the dead video link.
Here's the lowdown:1) The YouTube video was pulled early last week at the request of Henley2) We posted it on another streaming account (Hipcast)3) We filed an objection to YouTube pulling the item4) Henley had 10 days to rescind or file an actual lawsuit (which he did)5) Hipcast subsequently pulled it without the ability to counter (the jerks)6) We posted our second video of a Henley song "All She Wants to do is Tax, Tax" (which received 25,000 views)7) Henley doesn't own the rights to that but the REAL owners yanked it from YouTube yesterdayWe haven't decided whether to counter that one yet.Getting off the phone with a potential lawyer for our side we feel even more confident. The orchestration was a karaoke track from iTunes "(in the style of Don Henley)"He says our case is even stronger since Henley's lawyers indicated that they would have NEVER allowed permission for the use of the song. Which indicates that it's not about money but about politics.
Kutner's Blood Is On Obama's Hands
If you watch "House" on Tivo, iTunes, or Hulu, and haven't yet taken in last night's episode, go ahead and stop reading.
The episode was billed by Fox as this season's absolute must-watch. And in terms of shock value, it didn't disappoint. Kal Penn's Dr. Lawrence Kutner (aka Kumar of Harold and Kumar) was found dead in his apartment, with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The development didn't make a whole lot of sense. Of any of the team members, he was by far the least troubled (Thirteen is dying; Taub is a broke, guilt-ridden adulterer, excommunicated from his chosen profession; House is House; etc.). So strange was his suicide that House undertook an obsessive, but fruitless mission to prove it must have been murder.
The closest we got to any explanation was a snapshot House stumbles over in the final minutes, featuring Kutner looking less-than-ecstatic at some point during his adult life. The profound subtext is that House's perception may indeed be slipping, insofar as he was unable to discern that someone he worked with every day for two years was in crisis.
House has nothing to worry about. And neither do we viewers. He (and we) didn't fail to notice Kutner's suicidal trajectory, because there was nothing to notice. Kutner (the Kutner who lived in the brains of the show's writers, that is) wasn't suicidal.
It was indeed murder most foul.
Actor Kal Penn is leaving Hollywood for the White House.
Penn, best known for his roles as Kumar Patel in the “Harold & Kumar” movies and most recently as Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television series “House” told EW.com that he will be associate director in the White House office of public liaison.
Penn was among many celebrities backing Barack Obama in his presidential campaign, and he spent a lot of his personal time volunteering for the campaign. The actor acknowledged that he will take a significant pay cut. “There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs. But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor,” he said. (First daughters Malia and Sasha are also reportedly fans.)
In a dramatic exit, “House” executive producers had Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, commit suicide in Monday night’s episode. “He worked very extensively for the Obama campaign and he’s been teaching at Penn. Kal is a man with broader ambitions than the entertainment industry,” producer David Shore said.
Brits Poised To Join 18th Century, Eschew Primogeniture
The prohibition on British monarchs marrying Catholics, and the primacy of princes over princesses in regal succession would become relics of history under an endorsement from U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday.
Mr. Brown said he wants to change Britain's rules of succession, ending both the 321-year-old religious ban and the practice of primogeniture, in which the right of succession belongs to the eldest son.
England's 1688 Bill of Rights prohibits heirs to British throne from marrying "a papist," a rule designed to protect the power of the Church of England.
"I think in the 21st century, people do expect discrimination to be removed," Mr. Brown, who was traveling in Brazil Friday, said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.
HT: The Corner
Moron More On the Notre Dame-Obama Kerfuffle
Why do we have Phil Donahue weighing in, anyway? If we're looking to septuagenarian alumni talk show hosts for guidance, wouldn't Regis be a slightly less outdated fount of insight?
“He expressed his disappointment and he apologized, in a way that was very moving,” [Special Olympics Chairman Tim] Shriver said on “Good Morning America.” “It’s important to see that words hurt, and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seen as humiliating or a put-down of people with special needs do cause pain, and they do result in stereotypes."
President Barack Obama made his difficult week worse Thursday by saying his poor bowling skills are “like Special Olympics or something,” an athletic competition for people with disabilities. His spokesman quickly said Obama hadn’t intended any offense.
Actor, Activist, Andy Garcia Look-a-Like Dead At 62
I am terribly saddened to report that the great actor and political activist, Ron Silver, died this morning at his home in New York. Ron was 62 and had been bravely battling esophageal cancer for the last two years. He leaves two children, Adam and Alexandra, his parents and his two brothers, as well as countless friends and admirers.
Truly Shocking Quote Of the Day
"I don't want to get it coming and going. I don't want to get the federal raised, and then the state raised, and then the phone tax raised, and the television tax raised, and the city tax... bug off me! ... There's real people out here, trying to keep it together."
A few short months ago, who'ulda thunk a farcical leftward bastion such as Whoopi might be heard railing against the sweeping tax hikes required to underwrite America's unprecedented socialist adventures?
If it weren't for Joy Behar promptly ushering viewers back into a blunt daytime stupor, one might mistake this for a intelligent program.
Bread Lines In the Age Of Internets and Reality TV
Pimp This Bum. Sensational.
Expect to see Tim on Letterman by week's end.
(HT: Hot Air Headlines)
Helpful Hints For Hollywood Obamaphiles
At Big Hollywood, Brett Joshpe has an idea how the "I pledge to smile more" set might more convincingly display their sudden love of country. It involves significant financial sacrifice by our cultural betters, but they did appear all kinds of serious in that self-lauding video, so I expect they'll embrace the suggestion.
Tasteless Superbowl Ads Through the Years
Mass suicide, robo-suicide, hunting shoeless Kenyans, and re-animating Christopher Reeve...
A decent collection, although the robo-suicide spot is harmlessly comical (if depressingly prescient).
Gutfeld Catalogs Conservative Rockers
Among the surprising revelations:
BILLY JOEL. In a recent interview, Mr. “Piano Man” stated that his classic song “Uptown Girl” is really about Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the legendary American ambassador and ardent anticommunist. Not only was the late professor famous for her “Kirkpatrick Doctrine,” which pushed for U.S. support of anticommunist governments, she also had great legs. Joel knew this, and wrote about it, lovingly. It ended up ruining his marriage. Three times.
SNL Finds a Black Politician It Can Full Throatedly Mock
Refreshingly unmerciful, particularly as the instrument of mockery - Fred Armisen - is the same one who plies the show's baby's-bottom treatment of the President-elect.
Drugs, infidelity, disability, unusual facial hair, and a funny voice. The comedy superfecta.
Flip's In the Strategy Room at FoxNews.com: Thursday 9:00-10:30 am
Catch the stream by clicking here.
You can also email the show while you watch, to let the world know how fervently you agree with what I'm saying.
Algore Obliges Terrorists' Bargain
As little heartache as the cancellation of a Goracle Mystery Tour stop causes me, it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that once we start diverting weepy, preening hippie concerts in reaction to threat of violence, we hand the terrorists a win.
LIVE Earth India, a concert scheduled for December 7 in Mumbai to raise money for solar energy projects, has been cancelled due to the terrorist attacks in the city.
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are saddened to announce that Live Earth India has been called off,'' said a joint statement from the organisers, including former US vice-president Al Gore.
Musicians lined up for the event included Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters, rockers Bon Jovi, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am, Indian rapper Hard Kaur and the daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, Anoushka.
Bollywood stars, including actors Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta, were also due to perform.
Mr Gore, Live Earth co-founder Kevin Wall and Rajednra Pachauri, the head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said everyone involved in the project was "stunned and distraught'' by the attacks.
Spitzer's VIP Streetwalker Scores Record Deal, Pun
After a longer-than-expected delay, Client #9's best gal has finally embarked on her singing/dancing/writing/acting/modeling/handbag-designing/celebreality career.
The call girl who cost New York [Democratic] governor ELIOT SPITZER his job has signed a music deal with Violator Records - the same company behind rappers BUSTA RHYMES and MISSY ELLIOT.
Ashlee Dupree shot to fame when her relationship with married politician Spitzer hit the headlines in March (08).
An aspiring singer, Dupree benefited from the exposure and her songs Move Ya Body and What We Want, both posted on her MySpace.com webpage, went on to receive over 3 million internet hits.
And now Dupree has landed a record deal with Violator, according to the New York Post.
A source confirms to AllHipHop.com, "She deserved a fair shake and Violator isn't scared of the controversy."
Crazed Scientologist/Amateur Samurai Fatally Shot By Scientology Celebrity Centre Security Guard
Whouldathunk all that brainwashing and sci-fi scripture could go so wrong?
A security guard at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood on Sunday shot and killed a man wielding two samurai swords, police said.
Police detained the guard for questioning but said that a surveillance tape at the facility backed his claim that he fired his semiautomatic handgun to protect himself and two colleagues.
Det. Wendi Berndt said the man was involved with the church "a long time ago."
"There was a previous relationship, but it is unclear to what degree," she said.
A teenager who saw the man arrive in the parking lot said he stopped the car abruptly in the driveway and climbed out with a 5-foot sword in his hand and an angry expression on his face.
Tony Marquez, 17, said the man, who was bald and had tattoos on his arms, walked toward the building, then returned to the car to get the other sword.
Citi Field Redesign
In light of the federal government's decision to inject $20 billion into Citigroup and to backstop up to $300 billion of the bank's losses, the Treasury, FDIC, and the Federal Reserve are pleased to unveil a redesign of the new home of the New York Mets.
Previously christened "Citi Field", the new stadium's naming rights were purchased by the bank for $400 million in late 2006. In the two years since, Citi shares (NYSE: C) have shed more than 90% of their value.
Market analysts are cautiously optimistic that this more representative re-branding of the stadium will help restore investor confidence in the financial giant and the banking sector generally.
The show doesn't really return until January, but tonight Fox airs a feature-length inter-season movie called "24: Redemption".
In the special, Jack Bauer is caught in a military coup in Africa, while a new president -- a female president -- is being inaugurated back at home.
How prescient! Oh, wait...
Of course, in the world of 24, black Presidents are downright passe, with two having already passed through the Oval Office.
President-elect Allison Taylor would do well to watch her back, as her 7 Presidential predecessors have managed average terms in office of less than 21 hours' worth of show time.
With this 2-hour special eating into her expected longevity, she can expect to be sniped, bombed, arrested, or shot down by the 19th episode of the new season.
Update: Line of the night, from Jack Bauer to a U.N. peacekeeper advocating "talking to" the murderous rebels descending on the school: "Why don't you go hide in the shelter with the other children?"
Life Imitating Art About Artificial Life That Imitates Eddie Furlong's Dorky Teenspeak
"By the time SkyNet became self aware it had spread into millions of computer servers all across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms, everywhere. It was software, in Cyberspace. There was no system core. It could not be shut down."
And this is how it started.
The Pentagon has suffered from a cyber attack so alarming that it has taken the unprecedented step of banning the use of external hardware devices, such as flash drives and DVD's, FOX News has learned.
The attack came in the form of a global virus or worm that is spreading rapidly throughout a number of military networks.
"We have detected a global virus for which there has been alerts, and we have seen some of this on our networks," a Pentagon official told FOX News. "We are now taking steps to mitigate the virus."
(HT: Jawa Report)
Okay, one real post today.
This is a vintage SNL clip that takes on renewed relevance today.
(HT: My Dad)
Inconceivable: Oliver Stone's W. So Bad Not Even the Critics Like It
If ever there were a movie guaranteed to win gushing plaudits from the critics, it was a biopic critical of a sitting Republican President, directed by American cinema's most celebrated political dramatist and starring the progeny of certified anti-Republican royalty in the role of the titular antagonist.
And yet "W." couldn't quite swing it.
Some representative samples:
- "W. is a scattershot attempt at stylized portraiture that plays like a half-baked editorial cartoon."
- "Bush haters will love it; Bush lovers will hate it; and those in between will be bored to death."
- "Hee-Haw meets Dr. Strangelove."
Managing to screw this up was no small feat. The entire film could've consisted of a 90-minute title card that read "Bush sucks" and still done better than 37%.
By comparison, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" won over 50% of those top critics.
And it's not a problem of Stone's stock among the opinionistas. Kooky conspiracy fugue "JFK" scored 86% fresh among top critics and even the slightly-less-exciting-than-a-medically-induced-coma "Nixon" managed to woo 65%.
"W." was a ready made, paint-by-numbers shoe in for multiple Oscar nominations (and in all likelihood, multiple wins) for best actor, best picture, best director, etc. All it had to do was not be laughably horrible and it would've seen the kind of rave critical reviews (if not box office success) that similarly opinioned movies invariably enjoy.
I haven't seen it myself and I have no intention to do so, but I'm highly confident - based on the unbelievably unworshipful response from the critics - in my declaration that "W." is an uncommonly atrocious film.
Any folks out there who subjected themselves to the experience and want to weigh in?
Palin On SNL
The long-awaited appearance finally came to pass, in all of its widely expected mediocrity. Amy Poehler's rap was amusing, but overall, the show has somehow found its way back to the comedic depths plumbed during that horrendous 1994-95 season with Janeane Garofalo, Chris Eliot, Michael McKean, et al.
I don't understand it. The talent roster's doing fine (Hader, Samberg, Wiig, Poehler), but the writing is just painful. Fart face? Fall foliage? Are these even jokes? Did Fey get all the decent writers to decamp to "30 Rock"?
Until some new talent can be scared up for what Bucky calls the "Jew room", just have Hader and Samberg do impressions for 90 minutes from now on.
Gas Crisis To Be Solved at 10 pm Thursday
The months-long drought is finally over.
The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis
Mac, Dennis, and Charlie take advantage of rising gas prices by investing in barrels of gasoline and selling them door to door. Dee and Frank decide to expose Bruce Mathis as a terrorist leader when they find out he plans to give their money to a Muslim community center.
New Campaign Theme Song Suggestion For Obama
One Thousand Sarahs, by Eddie From Ohio.
Sarah's the kind of girl who's 3 feet tall, but she's built like an Amazon woman.
Sarah's the kind of girl who's 3 feet tall, but she's built like an Amazon woman.
And all the boys think she's pretty.
And all the girls think she dresses swell.
And all the teachers think that she's the smartest one in class,
But I think... she oughta go to Hell.
Sarah's the kind of girl who pierced her ears years before anybody else.
Sarah's the kind of girl who pierced her ears years before anybody else.
And all the mothers say her mother was-
And all the mothers say her mother was a slut
And we couldn't pierce our ears till we turned 12 no matter what
And I think... Well you know what I think.
1,000 Sarahs in my head (1,000 Sarahs in my head)
1,000 Sarahs circling me in my bed.
I thought I got rid of her but she multiplied instead.
1,000 Sarahs, 1,000 Sarahs
1,000 Sarahs, 1,000 Sarahs
I don't like her, I don't like her,
I don't like her and you can't make me!
I don't like her, I don't like her,
I don't like her and you can't make me!
Noted Goonily Bespectacled Critic Fears Palin's Goony Spectacles
By Roger Ebert
[Sarah] Palin is a shallow, chirpy person with those vaguely alarming eyeglasses. Now her fans all want a pair. Remember back when women wore glasses that departed their ears in plastic swoops and swirls? My theory is, anyone who wears glasses that look weird is telling me something I don't want to know.
One, two... Sarah's comin' for you...
Obama Dissects the Subtle Nuances Of His Botched Metaphor For David Letterman
Ah... Sarah Palin isn't the pig. She's the lipstick. John McCain's policies are the pig.
It's an Illinois thing. We rubes in New York (not to mention Wasilla) wouldn't get it.
“Let me ask you a question here, have you ever actually put lipstick on pig?” Letterman asked Obama, a reference to a recent campaign controversy over Obama’s use of the phrase.
“The answer would be no. But I think it might be fun to try,” Obama said. “This is sorta silly season in politics. Not that there’s a non-silly season but it gets sillier. It’s a common expression in at least Illinois. I don’t know about in New York City. I don’t know what you put lipstick on here.”
Obama drew laughter from the audience and a cringe from Letterman with his joke. Obama continued: “In Illinois, the expression connotes the idea that if you have a bad idea, in this case I was talking about McCain’s economic plans, calling them change, calling them something different doesn’t make them better. Hence lipstick on a pig is still a pig.”
He then calmly explained his use of the expression. “Keep in mind, that technically had I meant it this way she [Palin] would be the lipstick…The policies of John McCain would be the pig.”
Unclear is whether the residents of Lebanon, Virginia (a roomful of whom burst into laughter and applause at the zinger) are sufficiently familiar with this old-timey Illinois phrase to have immediately parsed Obama's now clarified meaning, or whether they too fell prey to the coarser implication drawn by so many softer-headed Americans who assumed it must've had something to do with the similar, much-celebrated line from Palin's acceptance speech.
If you made the same mistake, don't feel bad. I didn't even get John Kerry's joke about President Bush (not stupid, lazy military recruits) getting stuck in Iraq, until he explained it to me.
It's reassuring to know that Obama would never call a female opponent a pig and - in pursuit of a more elevating brand of politics - stoops only far enough to denigrate the Governor as "lipstick" for her male running mate.
It's slightly less reassuring to know that he actually thinks we'll buy this (and especially that we'll buy his shock that anyone might infer the more cynical linkage). Obama's waxing indignant that people could possibly read Palin=Pig into his folksy metaphor, yet that group of His own devotees all seemed to take it that way. Absent that tinge of derision, the well-worn "lipstick on a pig" idiom isn't typically such a raucous clapter line.
"Walking Around Blindly With Dead Eyes..."
In this technorrific future of ours, it's hard to distinguish doctored video from the real deal, so I naturally assumed this was a clever bit of revisionist cinema.
Turns out it's legit.
Why have I never seen this before?
Kudos, Bob Hope, on a brilliantly delivered bit of deadpan.
Desperately Seeking Relevance
Stop the presses. An oddly muscular has-been has an opinion.
As Madonna kicked off her international "Sticky and Sweet" tour Saturday night, she took a none-too subtle swipe at the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. president.
Amid a four-act show at Cardiff's packed Millennium Stadium, a video interlude carried images of destruction, global warming, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's authoritarian President Robert Mugabe — and U.S. Sen. John McCain. Another sequence, shown later, pictured slain Beatle John Lennon, followed by climate activist Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and finally McCain's Democratic rival, Barack Obama.
She's just so outrageous, isn't she?
No surprise, her nakedly desperate cloy for attention is working like a charm on fringe-dwelling lefties.
Chris Matthews Offers the Insight Of the Day
Chris Matthews reminds us why he's one of the most astute political observers of our time.
On the prospect of John McCain picking Mitt Romney as his running mate, Matthews pondered the comparative "cosmetics" of the combined tickets.
Romney is a foolish choice, he advises, because of the glaring age difference the GOP ticket would display (11 years). Obama and Biden, on the other hand, "look about the same age."
You read that right. Barack Obama and Joe Biden look about the same age.
For reference, Biden is 19 years older than Obama (who looks quite a bit younger than his 47 years).
I don't buy Matthews' premise that appearing to be the same age as one's running mate is any significant asset, but if he's right, Obama's in trouble. With Biden at his side, it looks more like Obama's participating in Bring Your Typical White Grandparent To Work Day than running for President.
Et Tu, Costanza?
If the Obamessiah phenomenon was bordering on religious cultdom already, this handful of borderline celebrities have just shoved it over the line.
I wonder if these cow-eyed followers appreciate the wholly predictable irony of their "American Prayer" anthem being fronted by a European (and co-written by another European).
The One is, after all, a
citizen savior of the world.
Nerdy Artist Mistakes Himself For Edgy Poet
American emigrant and Professor of Digital Arts Douglas Stanley has lent his artistic acumen and blistering political insight to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the video game Space Invaders.
In his own words (about himself):
The World Trade Center attacks mark a deep cut in our recent history that is still being processed. The French-American artist Douglas Edric Stanley has found an unusual – though obvious – metaphor with his work “Invaders!”, which is based on the 1978 arcade original. In his interactive large installation, the players must prevent the catastrophe by controlling the well- known cannon at the lower screen border with their bodies and firing it using arm movements. Like the original, this trial is ultimately unsuccessful, thus creating an articulated and critical commentary about the current war strategy. In this regard, Douglas Edric Stanley sees Space Invaders as “a social tale that can be related to historical tales without losing its poetic power” (D.E. Stanley).
Get over yourself, Doug.
Scientists have unearthed the world's oldest joke.
And yes, it's a fart joke.
Scientology Slapped With Civil RICO Suit
Xenu's most perfect creation is named individually.
(Sounds like a potentially flimsy suit, despite the "religion" clearly having it coming.)
Tom Cruise is named in a $250 million federal lawsuit that is using the RICO statute against the Church of Scientology. Ex-Scientologist Peter Letterese, a longtime critic of the church, filed suit in Southern District Court in Florida on July 15 alleging, among other things, that members of the church harassed him after he left.
One of Letterese's beefs is that the church allegedly uses a business book, "Effective Sales Closing Techniques," as part of its teachings. He says this violates his intellectual property rights, since he bought the rights to the book from the widow of author Leslie Dane.
Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.
Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, told us: "This is a frivolous suit based on falsehoods."
As for the Dane book, Pouw said, "Earlier this month, the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit already rejected similar claims and affirmed that the church's use of the book in question was fair use. Mr. Letterese was penalized $266,000 by a California court for refusing to provide evidence to support many of the same allegations."
If RICO applies, the damages can be tripled.
Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey, one of its main drafters, insists that Congress never intended to restrict its application to the Mob. "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas," he says.
Presumably the same goes for people whose collars are red and who rule the Galactic Confederacy.
She Owes Money All Over Town, Man
Including to known educators. (And that's cool, that's cool...)
While Clinton paid off outstanding debts to 15 colleges and universities last month, she still owes almost $150,000 for events her campaign held at schools across the nation.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Clinton owes a total of $146,347.29 to 10 colleges and universities. This includes $24,238.99 - a sum that has increased slightly since last month - still owed to Penn.
Ron Ozio, director for media relations at Penn, said the fees charged by the University generally include costs for sound equipment, other equipment rentals and staff set-up time, though he was unsure of the specific costs included in Clinton's bill.
The artistic eloquence on display here raises Luda's latest above hip hop's earthly plain and into the realm of true literature.
I'm back on it like I just signed my record deal
Yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal
Never should have hated
You never should've doubted him
With a slot in the president's iPod Obama shattered 'em
Said I handled his biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that b^$&%* is irrelevant
Jesse talking slick and apologizing for what?
If you said it then you meant it how you want it have a gut!
And all you other politicians trying to hate on my man,
Watch us win a majority vote in every state on my man
You can't stop what's bout to happen, we bout to make history
The first black president is destined and it's meant to be
The threats ain't fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
So get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!
Paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in ANY chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and I throw em like candy wrap
Cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
And you the worst of all 43 presidents
Get out and vote or the end will be near
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!
Cause Obama is here
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!
Via Allah, who asks:
How does this stack up with the New Yorker cover? Both were created with an eye to defending Obama, both can be used by his political opponents against him (at least, in the New Yorker’s case, among dullards unable to grasp satire). I’m guessing that whereas the magazine was squarely blamed for Covergate, Ludacris will plead authenticity and be duly absolved.
Like clockwork, under the bus goes Mr. Bridges.
"As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to," said spokesman Bill Burton. "This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics."
After all, back in 2006 when Obama was in closer consult with Ludacris, how was he to know such degrading misogony lurked within the artist?
Noted Periodontist Thwacks Obama
One of the senior members of Hollywood's lonely set of outspoken non-liberals has a go at his colleagues' most cherished leading man.
Wir Sind die Welt
As Princess Obama enchants the Germans, Jim Geraghty wonders if you can distinguish between the Senator's
Brandenburg Gate Victory Column utterances and the lyrical stylings of the mid-80's most influential anti-drought supergroup.
Pop quiz, hot shot. Pick out the "We Are The World" lyrics vs. Obama speech lines.
A: "We can't go on pretending day by day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change."
B: "This is the moment we must help answer the call."
C: "But if you just believe there's no way we can fall."
D. "The world will watch and remember what we do."
E. "Let us realize that a change can only come when we stand together as one."
F. "We cannot afford to be divided."
G. "These now are the walls we must tear down."
H. "This is the moment when we must come together."
I. "They'll know that someone cares, and their lives will be stronger and free."
Answers at the Campaign Spot.
An Affirmative Defense For Batman
I'll finally be seeing The Dark Knight tonight (in IMAX as God intended) and I'm pleased to be going into the experience with the cloud of Christian Bale's motherboy assault flap no longer looming overhead.
BATMAN actor Christian Bale flipped during a slanging match with his mother and sister after they told him a sob story, it was revealed last night.
Welsh-born Bale was alleged to have pushed and shoved mum Jenny, 61, and Sharon, 41. ... Jenny inflamed the situation by hurling insults about his wife Sibi, 38.
Sharon and Jenny, a part-time clown from Bournemouth, left the hotel on Monday morning and, on the way to their Dorset home, stopped at a Hampshire police station and reported Bale for assault.
If you're a clown, do you get into it with a man who clobbers homicidal clowns for a living (even if he's your son)? If Bale's mother were a part-time scarecrow, this would've happened three years ago. Pleading "Batman" ought to be enough to make this one go away.
On the other hand, maybe this was all an intricate publicity stunt. Just the kind of buzz this scrappy little indie flick needed to get noticed.
Denver Swipes a Page From Neighboring South Park's Playbook
In the "South Park" episode Night Of the Living Homeless, the Colorado mountain town is overrun by its panhandling population and nearly destroyed, until someone has the bright idea to bus them all off to California.
If you replace the word California with zoo, that's pretty much what Denver is planning to do, in order to de-homeless its streets before the Democrats come to town in August.
"If they don't want to get caught up in the protests or demonstrations, we'll find other activities that will keep them busy," said John Parvensky, President of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
A plan has been developed to provide interested homeless people with free access to cultural activities. They include the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and they won’t have to worry about paying for transportation.
“We’ll have bus tokens if they need them,” Parvensky said.
Frankly, can you blame them? C'mon, Barack's refined sensibilities are such that he feels unclean in the presence of non-bilinguals; surely he can't be asked to suffer close proximity to the destitute.
Now, all they need is a snappy tune to convince the homeless to actually board the buses. They'll have to swap out some of the California-centric words for more zooey lyrics, but this should be a good start:
Course, Three Minutes 'Til Complete Cultural Irrelevance. Definitely, Definitely.
An age joke AND a slavery joke, all rolled into one moment of pure comedy gold.
(Chortle-prone readers may want to assume the side-holding position preemptively...)
DUSTIN HOFFMAN turned a joke into an awkward moment on late night TV in America on Thursday night ... on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when he made an aside about presidential wannabe John MCCain's age.
But the line was met with groans and boos from members of the studio audience - because it related to slavery.
Hoffman said, "What did Chris Rock say? He said that MCCain is so old he once owned Sidney Poitier."
Leno attempted to hide a smile and he awkwardly urged Hoffman to get back to his joke, quipping, "Let's see if we can win back the crowd."
Unfortunately for Dustin, unless Ben Stiller calls with another Bernie Focker gig, I think that train has sailed.
(HT: HA Headlines)
Is Your Baby Racist?
Chances are, yes, the little bastard is racist.
Toddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a Government-sponsored agency.
The National Children’s Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.
This could include a child of as young as three who says “yuk” in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.
The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age. It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the drive to root out prejudice as they can “recognise different people in their lives”.
It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: “blackie”, “Pakis”, “those people” or “they smell”. The guide goes on to warn that children might also “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuk’”.
The Brits always seem to be on the bleeding edge of latent racism detection. To determine whether and how far your hateful, ignorant spawn's prejudice extends beyond his or her palate, for instance, you can always administer the official British Council's Racism Test.
WALL·E: Great, If a Bit Lecturey
--- No spoilers herein (beyond what's revealed in the trailers), other than the specifics of some political preening. ---
The early buzz on Pixar's latest has been extremely positive (IMDb users rank it the 110th best film of all time and Rotten Tomatoes scores it 96% fresh) and having just seen it, I'd say the praise is justified. Not too surprising, since all Pixar movies are sensational, but it's nonetheless marvelous.
From a technical perspective, it might be Pixar's best. Since the Earth has been abandoned by humans and there are no fish or monsters in leading roles, they're able to fully flex the true photorealism they're now able to achieve among non-organic characters and environments.
My only complaints surround the heavy-handedness of the Director's Message. Or in this case, Messages. The lectures can be summed up as follows: 1) You're fat and lazy, 2) you watch too much TV, 3) you generate too much trash, and 4) Wal*Mart is evil.
In WALL·E world, Wal*Mart is called Buy n Large, but the metaphor is unsubtle and referenced in nearly every scene (both on and off the planet).
The evils of Wal*Mart are such a central theme that one can be forgiven for wondering if the titular robot's name (and unconventional punctuation - that's a bullet/asterisk, not a hyphen) wasn't chosen to reinforce the identity of the corporate villain. It is, after all, a fairly cumbersome acronym (Waste Allocation Load Lifter · Earth Class).
Despite the preachiness, the movie delivers magnificently. As was clear in the previews, the mechanical lead is terribly endearing (moreso than Boo and Nemo put together), despite having almost no dialogue. Pixar's technical prowess in 3D animation and photorealistic rendering is exceptional, but its ability to draw an emotional connection between an audience and a character (in this case using nothing but the mechanized movements of a scrap heap robot) is even more remarkable.
Ultimately, I'm glad Pixar larded it up with the lectures. The fact that it remains a terrific movie despite clubbing you over the head with political messages is a more powerful testament to its quality. It's kind of like making a great movie with Scarlett Johansson or Maggie Gyllenhaal (which I'm convinced is why Chris Nolan chose the latter to replace the wayward Scientologist as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight - now he'll be able to say he's accomplished both feats, thus making him the greatest director in cinema history).
"Super Adventure Club" About To Get Its Own Family-Friendly Hip Hop Jingle
Life & Style spies claim Will [Smith] was chatting up the unorthodox religion to anyone who would listen on the set of his new film, Hancock, opening July 4th.
“He gave out Scientology-like pamphlets at the end of the shoot,” says biographer Andrew Morton, who published an unauthorized biography on Kooky Cruise last Winter.
“It’s also been said that he and Jada are homeschooling their children in Scientology methods,” Morton insists.
Of the fruity little club that scrambles good people's brains, WWTDD aptly notes:
Will Smith seems smarter than this, but he’s an actor and actors are idiots so I guess it's not surprising. Actors will fall for anything. If you can get really one big one the rest will follow and do what he does. You could get a Moose costume and tap dancing shoes, then all you need to do is convince George Clooney that TapaMoose can tap, tap, tap away your insecurities with tophats and razzmatazz, and by the end of the week you’d be rolling around in mountains of money like Scrooge McDuck.
Jon Stewart Does Battle With Clapter Monster Of His Own Creation
Over the years, "The Daily Show" has cultivated a large and loyal following for its increasingly reliably leftist brand of political humor. The 30 minute parade of mostly banal jabs at the unhipness and/or evilness of Republicans is usually peppered with approving (if not always genuinely amused) rounds of what SNL's Seth Myers coined "clapter".
In a rare departure from the well-worn template, host Jon Stewart recently spent four minutes endeavoring, in vain, to pry laughs from his audience with a fairly tame (by Daily Show standards) razzing of Barack Obama for his recent missteps, including the Great Seal of Obama fiasco and the candidate's decision to reverse his pledge to participate in public campaign financing.
It didn't go well. A commenter at the Hot Air thread whence I've swiped the video observes, "That’s my favorite part, the nervous, hesitant laughter. You can almost hear the audience thinking, 'Is this okay? Will people think I’m a racist?'"
Newsweek: Rick Astley Most Qualified To Be President
Sometimes it's hard to know when the media establishment is being sarcastic.
Political Perceptions: Obama Really Is Experienced
Alan Ehrenhalt, writing as a special guest columnist for Newsweek, argues that we shouldn’t dismiss or denigrate the most important piece of Sen. Barack Obama’s political resume, his considerable time in the Illinois state legislature. While not refuting that Sen. John McCain has more experience, Ehrenhalt writes: “But here’s something I bet you didn’t know: If Obama becomes president, he will have spent more time serving as a state legislator (eight years) than anyone who has occupied the White House since Abraham Lincoln.”
Does that really qualify as a superlative distinction? Surely, Newsweek recognizes the even more impressively seasoned Presidential resume of internet-born again British pop sensation Rick Astley. In the late 80s, Astley had some 13 hit singles. While that's not as many as some of his peers in the music business, it would almost certainly make him the most accomplished British-born singer-songwriter to be elected President since Thomas Jefferson.
Since Jefferson preceded Lincoln, one has to assume Ehrenhalt would've written the article about Astley if it weren't for the natural born citizen requirement.
"The Happening" Review [Choc Full o' Spoilers - Look Away]
With reservations, I'm going against 80% of the critics and giving M. Night's latest a somewhat ambivalent thumbs up.
More (with plot spoilers) after the jump, in consideration of errant eyeballs.
Well, what can you say? It was an M. Night movie that wasn't The Sixth Sense and true to form, it was okay.
Better than Unbreakable and infinitely better the Lady In the Water, but a notch shy of The Village and Signs. It was the director's first R-rated movie and it definitely earned it. There were people crying within the first several minutes of the film, in reaction to suicide scenes like the ones they've shown in the previews. And it wasn't that half-laughing, boy-that-startled-me kind of nervous whimpering you hear after a BOO moment in a slasher film. People were upset.
I'm posting a spoily review primarily because there really isn't much to spoil. No big twist. No big reveal. No big payoff. But knowing there's no twist in a Shyamalan movie is something of a spoiler in and of itself and I didn't want to prevent anyone from going in fresh unless they asked for it, so here we are down in the extended entry.
To the extent there's anything to spoil (i.e. plot points not revealed in the trailers), I'd been spoiled before seeing it. A friend of mine who'd read some plot details in advance told me a couple weeks ago (with my blessing) that the *thing* causing the *happening* is... wait for it... plant life. Plant life that's angry at mankind for its unGreen treatment of mother earth.
I wasn't sure at the time whether this detail was Premise or Secret. Since it wasn't revealed in the previews, I'd assumed it was Secret. Turns out it's merely Premise. Via interspersed newscasts, they briefly toy with the idea that it's terrorists who've released some airborne toxin that's causing people to calmly (if gruesomely) do themselves in, but a slightly crazed botanist quickly assures us it's the plants vengefully releasing some unspecified kind of suicide-inducing spores to protect themselves from the ravages of man.
It's this plot vein that makes the movie simultaneously unsatisfying and obnoxious. Through some vocalized solitary musings of Marky Mark the science teacher and a few clarifying details from the aforementioned plant lover, we learn that not only is there totally scientific evidence that such neurotoxins could develop naturally, but that the sudden and very organized attack pattern is simply the result of the trees and bushes and grass communicating with one another and coordinating their attack.
Maybe this theme takes on heightened relevance in this age of killer tomatoes, but it's such a preposterous explanation (and it spilled out so early) that I was wholly convinced it was a red herring, right up until the end credits rolled.
As if recognizing (but neglecting to fill) the plot holes surrounding the ability of vegetation to reason, communicate, and rapidly self-evolve new biological defenses (offenses) upon deciding to do so, a news cast during the epilogue shrugs, "We may never fully understand it."
And in an afterthought that I'm fairly sure Night scrawled impromptu on a cue card while filming that final newscast and held up behind the camera for the actor to read, the anchor also offers the possibility that maybe it wasn't the plants, but instead... the government!
The government conspiracy theory (the CIA, to be specific, in a generic government conspiracy kind of way) is floated a couple times earlier in the movie as people are flailing to figure out what's happening, but
only in thowaway fashion. Unless I missed some very subtle clues, I'm virtually certain there's nothing more to that chin-stroker other than to deflect your attention from the plant nonsense. One gets the impression that Night wanted you to be thinking about something - anything - other than the anticlimactic way the movie ends.
So the movie delivers both an unsatisfying resolution and a heavy-handed message. And the lecture isn't a particularly novel one either. "Man mistreats nature. And payback's a bitch."
All that said (and I know it sounds fairly harsh), I was still pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the movie was. That's in part because I'd seen the Rotten Tomatoes score and had low expectations. But it's also because the movie is simply well made, despite the plot deficiencies. Those scenes that brought some moviegoers to tears were genuinely and uniquely creepy. And there are a lot of them.
The movie is something of a one trick pony in that sense, but it's a good enough trick to make it captivating from start to disappointing finish. What's most frustrating is that you've got 3/4 of a genuinely good movie. It didn't require a Sixth Sense-style megatwist to finish the job, but it desperately needed some semblance of an ending. It's not that the ending is flawed; there simply isn't one. It's the cinematic equivalent of a pop song disappearing into a repeat-and-fade chorus. That works for Police tunes. It doesn't work for scary movies. In the end, you're left with the ridiculous theory posited in the first act proving to be accurate and the menace passing without anyone needing to figure out how to thwart it. No one needs to grow or repent or make peace with any inner demons in their struggle to survive, other than Marky and Mrs. Mark, who just need to be reminded that they love each other while they wait for the spores to blow away.
You can still go see this movie knowing all this and still enjoy it to its fullest, because all of its redeeming qualities are completely unrelated to the particulars of the plot. And who knows - maybe they can whip up some kind of retroactive director's cut for the DVD and splice in a more fulfilling ending. Like having Zooey Deschanel break out into a Christmas song.
Schumer Channels His Inner Winehouse
This is what's known as raising the level of political discourse.
Having tried charts, speeches and even all-nighters to protest what he sees as Republican obstructionism in the Senate, New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer took to quoting British songstress Amy Winehouse Thursday, hoping to drive home his message.
“It’s sort of like that song,” said Schumer speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, "Democrats say, 'Let’s legislate,' and [Republicans] just say, 'No, no no.'”
Winehouse — whose struggles with substance abuse caused a media firestorm — won six Grammy’s last year on the strength of her song “Rehab,” which containes (sic) the hook Schumer took such glee in repeating.
“They need rehab, I guess,” said Schumer with a laugh before turning serious to decry what he sees as constant filibusters from the GOP, which is preventing serious issues like energy independence from being debated.
Senator Schumer prescribes a hasty ouster for filibuster addicts:
Although he later corrected himself to say he was referring to "political rehab" and not anything more nefarious, Schumer warned that by refusing to vote to debate bills, "Republicans are filibustering themselves out of their seats" and would pay a price in November.
No stranger to the condition, Chuck's been open about his own struggle with filibustaholism in the past. Much like his pop idol Ms. Winehouse, Schumer spent some long, dark years in denial, during which his habit was so strong, he blamed his own failings on his inability to get that next fix.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared that his decision not to lead a successful filibuster in January 2006 of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's nomination was one of his "greatest failings" as a senator.
"Every day, I am pained that I didn't do more to try to block Justice Alito."
The born again legislative teetotaler has come a long way since he was in the Senate minority, when he used to glorify filibuster use as a "good American tradition."
This is a much healthier message for the kids.