Andrew Lloyd Webber is announcing that a sequel to the iconic musical Phantom of the Opera is set to open in 2009 - if he has his way, simultaneously in three cities: London, New York, and Shanghai. Evidently, the sequel takes place at Coney Island ten years after the original story ends.
I'm not sure whether to be excited or horrified at the idea. I know I'll be buying the London Cast Recording as soon as it comes out...
Israel has struck Gaza with an unprecedented series of attacks, killing nearly 200 people, most of whom were Hamas operatives. The attacks have sparked massive protest among Palestinians and Palestinian sympathizers living in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Obviously, this situation is too complicated to just lay down a blanket judgment on either side. If this operation doesn't lead to any concrete progress toward eliminating Hamas or driving them from power, but instead leads to an exacerbation of tension and an increase in terrorist recruitment, which I fear it will, then clearly it will have been a mistake. If this operation leads to high civilian casualties, then that is a tragedy that must be recognized and condemned.
But let's think about it from Israel's perspective for a second. Israel has been bombarded by homemade rockets from Gaza for years now, even after Israel completely pulled out of there and allowed the Palestinians to choose their own government. Unfort…
I discovered a new web comic this week (well, it's new to me, but it has apparently existed for several years), and it's really funny and engaging. I recommend checking it out. You have to read it from the beginning. It's about these snarky 20-somethings. I won't get too much more into it, but I will tell you that there's an amusingly demented robot called an AnthroPC involved.
If people would look out for their own interests. [sic] The world would be a better place.
Pope Benedict's seemingly altruistic quote hides a viciously bigoted agenda that equates the "threat" of homosexuality with the threat of rainforest depletion. So, by looking out for interests beyond himself, he's actually looking into my personal life and telling me I'm a threat on par with the destruction of thousands of acres of rainforest.
FGO's quote, which boils down to "mind your own business," is not one that FGO is fond of following. In fact, much like Pope Benedict, FGO enjoys peering into my bedroom window and telling me I'm an abomination. If he truly were "minding his own busines…
For quite a few years, I've been building a Yahoo! Launchcast Plus Internet radio station. Launchcast is a service that allows you to rate artists, albums, and individual songs, along with genres of music, so that your custom radio station plays what you want it to play. You can also filter your station into "moods" so that it plays only a certain range of music. It's the most customizable and intuitive of all streaming Internet radio products out there, and the commercial-free Plus option is a bargain at $3.99 a month. Over the years, I've rated about 5,000 things, and my station is just about perfect.
When I first stumbled onto Launchcast, I think it was like eight or nine years ago, it wasn't owned by Yahoo!, and it had a convenient desktop player that you could launch without going to a specific website. After a time, Yahoo! bought it, removed the desktop player, and began to require you to go to their website to launch your player. The player also ONLY w…
I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.
II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get …
There have been a lot of developments in the Rick Warren fiasco recently. I'm glad to see that the outrage that the GLBT community felt when we heard the news of Warren's selection to give the invocation at the Inauguration got a great deal of media coverage and forced Obama to clarify his reasoning.
Since then, Melissa Etheridge, a great singer and an icon of the gay rights movement, has written a story about her own encounter with Warren and her view that:
Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider…
CNN is reporting that there is still nothing to report in the JonBenet Ramsey case.
Really, guys? You couldn't find anything else to put on the front page? Seriously? How's Elian Gonzales doing? Anything new there? What about the Whitewater investigation? OJ's search for the Real Killers? Might as well report that there's nothing to report on those stories, either.
Quality reporting, CNN. That's the kind of thing that makes people sit up and pay attention.
I found the picture of a left hand holding a hammer during a Google Images search. I can't even remember what search terms I used, and I haven't been able to find it again since, but it seemed like a perfect image for what my blog was going to be about.
The reason for the left hand is obvious. I'm left-handed, and my viewpoint is on the left side of politics. I recognize that; that's why the blog is called Sinister. It's clever. Really.
But why a hammer?
Well, anyone who knows anything knows that hammers are actually used for building things, for hammering in nails, and putting up structures.
Sinister is a blog that builds arguments, that hammers in ideas, and puts up intellectual structures that, hopefully, stand up to the test of criticism. Sure, sometimes the hammer misses the nail and puts a dent in a wall. Sometimes I get things wrong. But the metaphor of a hammer is apt for what I'm trying to accomplish with this blog.
Obama will nominate Rep. Hilda Solis of California as Labor Secretary. According to the AP:
Andy Stern, president of the 1.9-million member Service Employees International Union, the 51-year-old praised Solis for her deep roots in the union movement. He recalled marching with her in Los Angeles — well before she was elected to Congress — to seek higher wages and benefits for janitors.
Congresswoman Solis is an officer of the radical Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. According to the leftwing Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Solis votes with the left 100 percent of the time.
She's got a good pro-worker voting record:
Voted NO on promoting free trade with Peru. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization. (Oct 2007)
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted NO on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. (Jul …
Less than two weeks ago, just miles from my home, a man was beaten with a baseball bat, his blood splattered all over the sidewalk, his skull cracked open. He died several days later. His attackers screamed "fag!" at him as they beat the life out of him. In reality, he wasn't gay, he was drunkenly leaning on his brother. But that's what standing too close to a same-gender person can get you in this world, a baseball bat to the head. I know because I've been there too. Ask the "gay friends" you reference, I bet they have been too.
Why does this happen? Because of people like Rick Warren. You see, it's ok to treat gay people that way, because, after all, as Rick Warren has said so many times, we're on par with pedophiles and child molesters. We are sinful and an abomination (you know, like shellfish). Rick and his ilk remind people all the time that not even God himself will have us. He'll send us to Hell to suffer for eternity. So, why should …
Earlier this year, I watched the new Will Smith movie adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. I thought the movie was fun, enjoyable, and entertaining, and Will Smith was...Will Smith. He's not a bad actor, so much as he's a predictable actor. I enjoy watching his movies either despite or because of the fact that I know what I'm getting into when I watch them, whether it's Independence Day, Men in Black, or this one.
The movie, of course, explored the idea of the "last man on earth" trying to survive against a plague of mindless zombies bent on eating him. Clearly there had been some kind of global catastrophe, which we later find out was caused by some kind of disease, and the zombies abide by certain rules that vaguely make them seem sort of like vampires.
I won't spoil the movie for you except to say that it has very little in common with the story Matheson tells in his book. I will warn you, however, that the following review does contain …
I am an american, a white male, not an arab, etc. and I cannot praise Zaidi enough for what he did. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever watched; one is tempted to use the word Catharsis, in its modern sense, because he finally acted upon what the world feels towards Bush. No matter how Bush may spin it, the Iraq War has destroyed so many lives, destroyed human rights as we understood it, disregarded all international law, etc. while the Western Governments did nothing to stop him. In many ways, studies and reports show, Iraq is a humanitarian wasteland. Those heavy boots flying across the room were the world ripping Bush out of his Neoconservative padded office and into the reality of what the majority of the world feels and will never be able to express. This rage and anger at Bush it was causes people to organize and attack, but for that brief second as the boots were in the air, there was a tangible sense of release and …
I decided to flesh out my last post criticizing Joe Biden. I posted this to DailyKos.
Joe Biden just got a new puppy. It's a German Shepherd, it's adorable, and I'm sure his family will be happy with it.
But he got it from a breeder!
When so many millions of dogs and cats are sitting in shelters awaiting execution, getting a dog from a breeder is not an ethical act.
My partner and I have two pets. We have an adorable one-eyed Tonkinese cat named Cosette, and a goofy but loveable Jackabee named Wendy. I'll post pictures of them below.
We got both of our pets from rescue organizations. We didn't even think of going to a breeder. And both of our pets have been wonderful additions to our family.
Cosette had clearly been badly neglected by her former owners. I think the story was that she had been kept in a garage with a bunch of other cats and basically ignored. Her eye was lost through some kind of respiratory infection. When we got her home, she hid from u…
NY Governor David Paterson is criticizing Saturday's Weekend Update sketch that portrayed him as a bumbling, blind idiot. I agree with his critique. Blind folks deserve the same protection from discrimination as does anyone else, and that sketch was just in bad taste. SNL needs to apologize to Gov. Paterson.
Yes, I know, you're missing your Happy Friday video. I'm sorry - since my partner and I started carpooling in the mornings, it's really made it more difficult for me to remember to post it before I leave for work.
Fear not, dear readers. Your video will be posted this evening.
Meanwhile, here's a poll. I haven't really had a solid direction for my Friday video posts; I've just been posting whatever is on my mind at a given moment. But since, dear readers, these videos are for your benefit as much as mine, please tell me what you prefer to see.
The economic crisis is hitting everyone. Millions of people lost their jobs this year, and if we don't fix this, millions more will lose their jobs next year.
My partner and I have been lucky thus far, both being in jobs that don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Mine is probably more precarious, as the telecom industry is certainly not recession-proof, but I know I could find another job pretty quickly if this one went away.
The problem we're having, and I know this is a really minor problem compared to what everyone who has been laid off is going through, is that we are planning to move halfway across the country in January. Doing so successfully requires us to find jobs there. With everything that's happening to the economy right now, I just don't know how possible that's going to be. We've both put in dozens of applications, and we've gotten barely a nibble. I have a couple of good prospects, and a couple of interviews set up with staf…
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimis…
If I had PTO available and I wasn't going to risk being fired from this job, I wouldn't go to work today. Call me a coward, but I don't need to be fired from a job a month before I leave the job anyway to move halfway across the country. It would cause...complications.
Still, I think it's a great idea, and I applaud those of you who have the ability to participate.
MSNBC is reporting that the workers who staged a sit-in at a window factory in Chicago have won an agreement from Bank of America to loan the company money to cover severance and vacation pay. Good for them!
Michael Moore has a plan to save the Big 3 by nationalizing them, firing the management, and forcing them to make alternative fuel vehicles, along with buses and other public transit systems.
I support this plan, and I encourage the readers of Sinister to sign on to it. Click the link in the post title to go to his site, read his proposal, and sign on to it. All signatures will be sent to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Workers are staging a sit-in at the Republic Windows and Doors after being laid off with only 3 days notice in contravention of labor laws. The workers, who are represented by the United Electrical Workers union, are demanding that they receive the severance and vacation pay to which they are entitled.
Obviously, I support the workers and applaud them for stepping up. But I think they need to go further - if they can't get an agreement from the management, they should stage a full takeover of the business and start running it themselves.
As a wise man once said - we have nothing to lose but our chains.
Since so many of us are jumping on the Political Compass / World's Smallest Political Quiz bandwagon (you know, I've never known what a bandwagon is, or how one actually jumps onto it), I thought I might offer my own opinion of these quizzes.
I know, for example, that the World's Smallest Political Quiz is set up by Libertarians, and as such, it is biased towards their views. I think the Political Compass might also be a Libertarian construct, but I don't know that for sure. Now, the current economic meltdown, caused largely by a severe lack of regulation on Wall Street and bad management in Detroit, should give anyone considering joining the Libertarian Party, which advocates for less government intervention in the economy, significant pause. Indeed, I would argue that the current economic crisis is one more nail in the coffin in which lies the discredited idea of laissez-faire capitalism championed by the Libertarians.
"Moving to a New City to Solve all of Area Man's Problems"
ATLANTA—All of area resident Brian Shepard's problems, including his fear of commitment, lack of personal direction, and inability to learn from past failures, will be instantly solved this week when the 29-year-old packs up his belongings and moves to a new city. "Moving to Portland is going to make all the difference in the world," said Shepard, who, just by putting 2,500 miles distance between himself and years of destructive behavior, will suddenly turn his life around. "It won't be anything like Chicago, or Boston, or San Francisco. This is exactly what I need right now." Shepard also plans to completely eliminate his dependence on self-denial by ignoring his dependence on self-denial.
533,000 jobs lost last month - the worst in decades. Unemployment nearly 7%. Can we just do an emergency order to just throw Bush out of the White House now and get Obama in there so he can get to work on this mess?
for promoting this humble blogger's post about chain restaurants to the front page.
I'll be totally honest here. I mock this state ruthlessly, and I do it quite often. And sometimes Oklahoma deserves to be mocked ruthlessly.
However, I will say this. For all its faults, its political stupidity, its religious extremism, its sterile suburban sprawl, its terrible roads, and all the rest of it, Tulsa really is a pretty easy and comfortable place to live. There are a lot of good people here, doing good things, leading good lives. The fact is that no matter how far I travel from this city, it'll always be the place where I was born and have spent quite a bit of my life, and as such it'll always feel like home.
So to you Progressive Okies fighting the good fight against seemingly insurmountable odds, I wish you nothing but the best, and I'll be keeping my eye on you when I'm in Oregon.
I'll be making some changes to this blog's layout when I move to Oregon in…
The earlier post I wrote mocking the Tulsa World for reviewing a chain restaurant like Western Sizzlin' has prompted me to lay out my argument in favor of eating locally.
I'm sure a lot of people really do enjoy going to Applebee's. It's easy, it's cheap, and the service and food are safe and predictable. It's the same quality of service and food you'll get at Chili's, and at TGI Fridays, at the Olive Garden, and any number of the other chain restaurants dotting the city. Waiters and waitresses are bubbly and friendly, they wear cute outfits, and they always have an extensive menu of easily recognizable and non-threatening food.
The problem is that none of it is actually good food. The food lies there, limply on the plate, telling you, "Some kid making $8 an hour has made 100 of me during today's shift, assembling products from a menu designed by a corporation hundreds of miles away." Sure, the food is fine, and it won't kill you,…
When Republicans win a Presidential election by a razor-thin margin, and only win 55 seats in the Senate, that's a "mandate," and nobody talks about the failure of the Republicans to win a "filibuster-proof majority."
When Democrats win a decisive Presidential landslide, and win 58 seats in the Senate, and a huge margin in the House, that's not a mandate, and the Republicans "win" if they deny Democrats that magic 60 seat "filibuster-proof majority."
A Jewish grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson who is coming to visit with his wife:
"You come to the front door of the apartment complex. I am in apartment 14-T. There's a big panel at the door. With your elbow push button 14-T. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow hit 14. When you get out I am on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell."
"Bubbe, that sounds easy, but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?"
"Your're coming empty-handed?"
Received this in an e-mail update from the Temple.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, together with Rep. Rahm Emanuel, has introduced a "Fair Flat Tax Act" that claims to simplify the tax code in a number of ways. It collapses the tax brackets from six to three, and eliminates loopholes and giveaways to corporations. It also eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax, and it would provide tax relief to middle and working class families by tripling the standard deduction.
According to Wyden's website, this tax program would allow people to file a very simple one page 1040 form, making the tax code "simpler, flatter, and fairer."
I'm intrigued by this proposal, but I'm not willing to jump on board with it without more information. I prefer a steeper, more progressive tax system, especially now, when we have an enormous national deficit and debt to pay down. I think we need to increase taxes on those making more than $200,000 - not just repeal the Bush tax cuts, but actually increase taxes on the rich even more. I…
When Deborah Lawrence got the invitation from the White House, the Seattle-based artist decided to make a lefty political statement.
But she never expected it would hang on the official Christmas tree. -snip-
"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity," said Lawrence, 55, who frequently combines politics and satire in her work and saw this as the perfect way "to highlight Jim McDermott because he's a hero of mine."
The nine-inch ball is covered with swirly red and white stripes -- and, in tiny glued-on text, salutes the Democratic congressman's support for a resolution to impeach President Bush. (Also showcased: Washington state's 1919 labor strike, its suffrage movement and the violent anti-World Trade Organization riots of 1999.) Lawrence sent it off to D.C. in September and was very surprised it was accepted for the tree -- and that she was invited to this afternoon's White House reception for the artists, which she flew to D.C. …
I've become increasingly disturbed and offended by the continual racism spewing forth from blogger ZTruth and others on the fringes of the political spectrum. It seems that every post written by Ztruth is some story about how Muslims are evil because of this anecdotal evidence or that incident or this connection between some Muslim somewhere and a guy who once made a phone call to someone connected to Hamas.
We have to be careful not to define a whole people by the actions of extremists. It's kind of scary that I have to even say that, but apparently folks like Ztruth don't get it. We had an enemy once about sixty years ago that tried to define people based on false stereotypes. Do I really have to say anything else here?
The vast, vast majority of Muslims want nothing more than to live peacefully and participate in society as equals. They want the right to worship as their faith dictates. They want the respect that an enlightened society affords all of its citizens re…