Monday, January 31, 2011

Light posting this week

Because of the flu bug, blog posting will be really light this week.

Mazel tov, Jon Stewart.
Jon Stewart, the satirical host of “The Daily Show” who used his television program to push for federal money for the health care of first responders at ground zero, was appointed on Thursday to the board of the foundation building the Sept. 11 museum and memorial.
Retired Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will be working for a DC law firm.
Former Sen. Evan Bayh is joining McGuireWoods LLP as a partner in Washington, the law firm will announce on Monday.

The just-retired Democratic lawmaker and former governor will serve as a strategic adviser on policy matters to clients of the firm as well as its consulting subsidiary. Mr. Bayh, a centrist Democrat who was a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Banking Committee during his two terms in the Senate, likely will be spending a lot of time on banking policy as well as energy and climate-change policy.[...]

Mr. Bayh also has become a senior adviser to Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm in New York. And he’s planning to do paid speaking appearances, and possibly TV commentary gigs, too, said Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who represents Mr. Bayh. Mr. Bayh joins a growing number of former lawmakers who have chosen to divide their time – for example, between a law firm and a financial firm, said Mr. Barnett.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rand Paul and Israel

If there is one thing that Rand Paul has done as a senator, it is uniting Jewish Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the subject of Israel.

First the RJC has rejected Rand Paul's plan to end foreign aid to Israel. Here is the main statement from Matt Brooks, the executive director of he RJC:
"We share Senator Paul's commitment to restraining the growth of federal spending, but we reject his misguided proposal to end U.S. assistance to our ally, Israel.

"Moreover, based on his comments in an interview with CNN, we are concerned that Senator Paul may not grasp the fundamentals of our alliance with Israel. In 2007, the U.S. and Israel signed a ten-year 'Memorandum of Understanding' (MoU) to govern U.S. assistance going forward. A critical aim of the MoU was to preserve Israel's qualitative military advantage. Accordingly, any concern that U.S. assistance might undermine Israel's security is groundless.

"We are heartened to know that, with very few exceptions, congressional Republicans understand and appreciate the importance of this alliance to America's national security. And we are confident that few - if any - of Senator Paul's Republican colleagues will cosponsor a plan that reneges on an agreement with a critical ally."
CNN's own Wolf Blitzer went after Randy:
BLITZER: What about the $2 billion or $3 billion that goes every year to Israel? Do you want to eliminate that as well?
PAUL: Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look. When you send foreign aid, you actually quite a bit to Israel's enemies, Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.

BLITZER: Egypt gets almost the same amount?
PAUL: Almost the same amount so really you have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of piece and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East.

But at the same time, I don't think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else. We just can't do it anymore. The debt is all consuming and it threatens our well being as a country.

BLITZER: All right, so just to be precise, end all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?
PAUL: Yes.
As for the NJDC? David Harris went after Rahm:
The National Jewish Democratic Council stands in strong opposition to Senator Paul’s call to end foreign assistance to Israel. Paul’s suggestion is negligent, shortsighted, and just plain wrong. Foreign aid in general, and aid to Israel in particular, is crucial to Israel’s security and its pursuit of peace.

Between Senator Paul’s stated goal of ending aid to Israel and moves by top GOP leaders like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to engage in risky schemes that threaten the future of assistance to Israel, advocates who care about supporting Israel in this essential way—as a nation, putting our money where our mouth is—have a great deal to fear from the ever-more-conservative Senate and House GOP.

Senator Paul’s statement is yet another illustration of how the Republican Party continues to grow increasingly out of touch with the values of the vast majority of the American Jewish community.
Congrats Rand on finding a way to unite Jews of both parties.

UPDATE: Even J Street is in on slamming Rand Paul.
J Street is alarmed by Senator Rand Paul’s suggestion that the United States should end all foreign aid, including to Israel.

The foreign operations bill is a pillar of the US-Israel relationship and advances American diplomatic objectives by providing aid not just to Israel but to key partners in the Middle East and elsewhere across the globe.

Senator Paul’s proposal would undermine the decades-long bipartisan consensus on U.S. support for Israel. Any erosion of support should concern Israel’s friends on both sides of the political aisle, and we call in particular on leaders and donors in Senator Paul’s party to repudiate his comments and ensure that American leadership around the world is not threatened by this irresponsible proposal.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Illinois Supreme Court says Rahm Emanuel can run for Mayor of Chicago

The Illinois Supreme Court has reversed the ruling of the lower appellate court and has said fomer Congressman and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who davened two rows behind me at Rosh HaShanah services in 2008, can indeed run to serve as the next Mayor of Chicago.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that Rahm Emanuel can stay on the ballot for mayor of Chicago.

The decision comes without a moment to spare; early voting for the Feb. 22 city election begins Monday, Jan. 31.[...]

The high court's decision reverses a 2-1 Illinois Appeals Court decision Monday that ruled Emanuel ineligible on the grounds he did not meet the requirement of being a Chicago resident for a year before the election. Emanuel returned to Chicago last fall to run for mayor after serving as White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

The Chicago election board and a Cook County Circuit judge had earlier both ruled Emanuel met the residency requirements. The Supreme Court unanimousy said the appellate court was in error in overruling them.

"So there will be no mistake, let us be entirely clear," the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling today. "This court’s decision is based on the following and only on the following: (1) what it means to be a resident for election purposes was clearly established long ago, and Illinois law has been consistent on the matter since at least the 19th Century; (2) the novel standard adopted by the appellate court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law; (3) the Board’s factual findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (4) the Board’s decision was not clearly erroneous."

"I can say the candidate and our camp are very pleased that this issue is finally behind us," said Emanuel attorney Kevin Forde. He pointed to the high court's ruling that the law was long settled. "They make it clear the law has been settled for 150 years."
Mazel tov, Rahm!

A Message for Rand Paul

Rand Paul thinks citizenship is not a right for those born in the USA to non-American parents. Tell that to the people who died in America's founding. Tell that to those who died in the name of the union. Tell that to those who come to America to live in a better place.
Two Republican senators are introducing a resolution that would end the constitutional right to citizenship that comes with being born on U.S. soil.

Rand Paul (Ky.) and David Vitter (La.) are introducing a resolution this week that would amend the Constitution so that a person born in the United States could only become an American citizen if one or more of his or her parents is a legal citizen, legal immigrant or member of the armed forces, according to a joint press release Thursday.[...]

Paul said the legislation enforces the current immigration rules.

"Citizenship is a privilege, and only those who respect our immigration laws should be allowed to enjoy its benefits," Paul said. "This legislation makes it necessary that everyone follow the rules, and goes through same process to become a U.S. citizen."

The resolution is part of a larger bundle of immigration bills that Vitter introduced at the beginning of the 112th Congress.

Similar legislation to end what critics decry as "birthright citizenship" did not pass in the 111th Congress.
No, Rand, citizenship is not a privilege. It's a right. By your logic, Senator Paul, all of the founders, born as British subjects, should have their citizenship revoked. Using the senator's logic, the slaves who were FORCED here against their will and all of their descendants would not be able to call themselves a United States citizen.

Rand, here's the 14th Amendment:
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Please study this, Rand.

Mid-week recap

Oy vey. I'll never be rooting for the Anaheim Ducks.

Congressman Gary Ackmerman cut off ties to J Street. Good for him.

Rick Sanchez probably didn't watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. How did he miss all the signs?

And let me tell you, after listening to two hours of Sanchez describe how "once you go outside certain parts of U.S. into other parts of U.S. you will perceive you are not part of the club" and that "Jon is using me as a punching bag. And I took it to heart" and perhaps most revealingly "I don't like being called dumb. Because I'm not" and also "what I said had nothing to do with Stewart's Jewishness. I didn't even know he was Jewish. Just felt (at the time) he was elitist" you couldn't help come away with the sense this was a man with a huge, insecure, chip on his shoulder.

Perhaps Stewart recognized this also because according to Sanchez when he talked to him the next day Stewart "came straight to the phone" told Sanchez 'I liked you, you were my favorite."
I love Mad Men. I'd also love for Matthew Weiner to get back to work!

Judd Apatow hosted the Producer Guild Awards over the past weekend. Read some highlights. Charlie Sheen is always fair game.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It doesn't matter who is president...I didn't watch the SOTU during Clinton, Bush, or the past SOTUs by Obama so why start now...

The 83rd Annual Oscar Nominations

Best Picture
Black Swan, Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
The Fighter, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
Inception, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
The Kids Are All Right, Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
The King’s Speech, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
127 Hours, Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
The Social Network, Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
Toy Story 3, Darla K. Anderson, Producer
True Grit, Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
Winter’s Bones, Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Benning, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
The Illusionistr, Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich

Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat

The King’s Speech
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr

True Grit
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Wally Pfister, Inception
Danny Cohen, The King’s Speech
Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network
Roger Deakins, True Grit

Costume Design
Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Antonella Cannarozzi, I am Love
Jenny Beavan, The King’s Speech
Sandy Powell, The Tempest
Mary Zophres, True Grit

Darren Arronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

Documentary (Feature)
Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
Gasland, Josh Fox and Triish Adlesic
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Restrepo, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Waste Land, Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)
Killing in the Name, Nominees to be determined
Poster Girl, Nominees to be determined
Strangers No More, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Sun Come Up, Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
The Warriors of Quigang, Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Film Editing
Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Tariiq Anwar, The King’s Speech
Jon Harris, 127 Hours
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Netrwork

Foreign Language Film
Biutiful, Mexico
Dogtooth, Greece
In a Better World, Denmark
Incendies, Canada
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi), Algeria

Adrien Morot, Barney’s Version
Edouiard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk, and Yolanda Toussieng, The Way Back
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

Music (Original Score)
John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

Music (Original Song)
“Coming Home,” Country Strong
Music & Lyrics by: Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges

“I See The Light,” Tangled
Music by: Alan Menken; Lyrics by: Glenn Slater

“If I Rise,” 127 Hours
Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

“We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3
Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman

Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night, Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute, Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing, Shaun Tran and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary), Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)
The Confession, Tanel Toom
The Crush, Michael Creagh
God of Love, Luth Matheny
Na Wewe, Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143, Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Sound Editing
Richard King, Inception
Tom Myers and Michael Silvers, Toy Story 3
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague, Tron: Legacy
Skip Livesay and Craig Berkey, True Grit
Mark P. Stoeckinger, Unstoppable

Sound Mixing
Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick, Inception
Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, and John Midgley, The King’s Speech
Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scottt Millan, and William Sarokin, Salt
Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, and Mark Weingarten, The Social Network
Skip Livesay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland, True Grit

Visual Effects
Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, and Sean Phillips, Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, aand Nicolas Aithadi, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski, and Joe Farrell, Herefater
Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, and Peter Bebb, Inception
Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, and Daniel Sudik, Iron Man 2

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Toy Story 3, Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Mike Leigh, Another Year
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler, The King’s Speech

Jennifer Lawrence nominated for Oscar

Louisville's own Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated for best actress in leading role. It was announced during this morning's Oscar nomination announcements. Winter's Bone was also nominated for Best Picture. The last two slots were a battle between Winter's Bone, The Town, and 127 Hours.

Congrats to the Lawrence family!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Jew York State of Mind

Jew York Jets...priceless.

When I was in Chicago, the NBC affiliate had a graphic screw up but it was't as bad. They had a Food Watch in the Chicago vicinity. I looked for manna that Sunday but could not find any.

But the WLKY newscast? They royally screwed up. They didn't do the Commonwealth any favors!

I first saw it when KSR retweeted the original twitpic tweet earlier today, around the time I was eating lunch. Next thing I know, the graphic is on Deadspin (warning: those comments reflect on the state's reputation as one that isn't educated).

Billy Joel must be in a Jew York State of Mind right now...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Keith...

I've seen several postings related to Keith Olbermann on the blogs and faceboook. Some think that he was fired. He wasn't. He wanted out of his contract.

Deadline has all the details.

There is aleady some speculation over Keith's next gig.
Now that Keith Olbermann is leaving MSNBC, could he be setting his sights on Hollywood and Aaron Sorkin’s next TV project? The Golden Globe-winning scribe behind The Social Network has long had a pilot script in the works about a cable news show, and Olbermann could be tapped to contribute rants, says a source familiar with the project.
Seems like a interesting series idea...

22nd Annual Producers Guild Award Winners

The 22nd annual Producers Guild Awards were held last night.

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: The King's Speech
Producers: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures: Toy Story 3
Producer: Darla K. Anderson

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures: Waiting for 'Superman'
Producer: Lesley Chilcott

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Drama: Mad Men (AMC)
Producers: Lisa Albert, Scott Hornbacher, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, Dwayne Shattuck, Matthew Weiner

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Comedy: Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jason Winer, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television: The Pacific (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Eugene Kelly, Todd London, Cherylanne Martin, Bruce C. McKenna, Steven Shareshian, Steven Spielberg, Tony To, Tim Van Patten, Graham Yost

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment and Competition Television: The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Tom Purcell, Allison Silverman, Jon Stewart

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television: Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)
Producers: Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, Sheila McCormack, Ethan Prochnik, Matt Renner

Previously announced:
Milestone Award: James Cameron
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television: Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman
David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures: Scott Rudin
Visionary Award: Laura Ziskin
Vanguard Award: RealD

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't let Dick Lugar retire

Indiana Senior Senator Richard Lugar, so far, has not announced that he will retire from the United States Senate rather than face tea party opposition. Good. Lugar is one of the few Republicans that I liked. Dick Lugar is a statesman, far from what Mitch McConnell will ever be.

I don't know who the Indiana Democratic Party has that can run against Lugar and be successful in such a race. He's unbeatable.

Reading that tea party activists are against Lugar is saddening.
About 180 tea party activists gathered in a Tipton County church this morning to work on a strategy to unseat U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in 2012.

The group signed a letter to Lugar, whom the activist group considers too liberal to represent Indiana Republicans, thanking him for his service and urging him not to run in next year's primary.[...]

At the same time as the meeting to unseat Lugar was taking place in Tipton, more than 50 people gathered in Indianapolis to honor and praise Lugar for his support of the Dream Act. The Act, which Tea Party activists oppose, is meant to help the children of illegal immigrants.

La Plaza, an Indianapolis-based civic organization focused on the Hispanic and Latino communities, along with other organizations, honored Lugar and presented him with a plaque this morning. The organization isn't endorsing him or any other candidates, but rather wanted to thank him for his work.

As he accepted the plaque, Lugar smiled and told the crowd, "I should point out that other Hoosiers are proceeding to Tipton County to plot my political end."

Lugar said the 2012 elections could be the most challenging elections he has faced due to that opposition, but he still believes he has great support. During a fundraiser Friday night in Carmel, Lugar raised $390,000 from the 420 attendees, he said. He has also gotten more than 8,000 signatures in support of his re-election run.

"People are fired up and already ready for this election," Lugar said. "It's encouraging, to say the least."

Olsen sister is newest Sundance breakout star

Lizzie Olsen, the younger sister of Full House stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, is the newest breakout star at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The breakout star of 2010 was Jennifer Lawrence while Carey Mulligan was the breakout star in 2009.
Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the famous twins, made her indie movie breakthrough at the festival with two intense films –the cult-escape drama Martha Marcy May Marlene and the creepy psychological thriller Silent House - and while her last name is associated with the countless goofy, little-girl movies made by Mary-Kate and Ashley, neither one is what you’d call “family friendly.” (Unless you’re the Manson family.)[...]

Just as Jennifer Lawrence broke out at last year’s Sundance festival as a fresh, young actress with intimidating talent, and Carey Mulligan did the year before, Olsen is considered one of the big discoveries this time around.

No one thinks she looks like her famous sisters, however. She is much more frequently compared to Maggie Gyllenhaal or Vera Farmiga.

Evan Bayh jons private equity firm

The New York Times reported yesterday that former Senator Evan Bayh has joined a private equity firm.
Evan Bayh, the former senator from Indiana, has joined Apollo Global Management, the New York private equity firm.[...]

Now, he has joined Apollo as a senior adviser with responsibility for public policy, according to a short statement from the firm. An Apollo spokesman declined to comment beyond its news release.

His move to Apollo follows a steady stream of high-ranking political officials who have joined private equity firms over the last several years.[...]

The politicos give the private-equity firms a presence in Washington at a time when financial-services firms are increasingly coming under regulatory scrutiny. Private-equity firms also own an array of businesses, including energy and health care companies, whose operations are greatly affected by government policy. In recent years, the private-equity industry has sharply increased its lobbying expenditures.

For a lifelong public servant like Mr. Bayh, a private-equity shop holds great appeal. U.S. senators earn a salary of $174,000 per year. Private-equity deal makers are among the most highly compensated executives on Wall Street.[...]

The firm, which currently trades on a private exchange as a result of a complex transaction several years ago, is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the coming months.

Apollo, run by billionaire dealmaker Leon Black, owns a portfolio of businesses, including casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment and Claire’s Stores, the preteen accessories retailer.

The firm, which has $57.8 billion in assets under management, has been aggressively beefing up its management ranks. Late last year it hired Marc Spilker, a former Goldman Sachs executive, as its president. In 2009 it brought on Henry Silverman, the well-known New York financier, as chief operating officer.

Apollo’s hiring of Mr. Bayh fills a hole at the firm, which has lagged its competitors in establishing a base in Washington.
Best of luck with the new job, Senator!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stop what you are doing...


I'll say no more. Bob said what MANY across the commnwealth are thinking and have been thinking for sometime.

Two suns in 2012?!?

There could be two suns in 2012.
Earth could be getting a second sun, at least temporarily.

Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, outlined the scenario to Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.

P>When that happens, for at least a few weeks, we'd see a second sun, Carter says. There may also be no night during that timeframe.

The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says... or it could take longer. The explosion could also cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole 1300 light years from Earth, reports

Breaking News: Jack Conway to host presser

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will be hosting a presser at 2 pm on Friday. Developing...

Two Kennedy cousins running for Senate in 2012?

Is there a chance that two Kennedy cousins might be running for the United States Senate 2012? I certainly hope so. There's speculation that Ted Kennedy, Jr., the one of the late Ted Kennedy, might run for the now-open Connecticut seat with Joe Lieberman's retirement announcement.
The late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s son, Ted Jr., is among the names being floated as potential candidates for Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s seat in 2012.

Kennedy, the middle child of the late senator and his former wife, Joan, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Lieberman’s seat, which the 23-year senator is giving up when his term ends next year. One Kennedy family friend called the 49-year-old attorney, who lives in Connecticut, a “great candidate.”

“No one knew Lieberman would be getting out. I think Teddy would be the odds-on favorite were he to enter the race,” the friend said. “But I don’t know if this is the right time for him.”

Another Kennedy insider said Ted Kennedy Jr. is a “natural” for the seat.

“Why wouldn’t he be interested in the seat?” said the source. “He is his father’s son.”[...]

His inspirational eulogy at his father’s 2009 funeral had some observers eyeing him for higher office.
As for Joe Kennedy III, some are speculating that he could run for his great-uncle's seat in 2012.
The musings of an obscure assistant district attorney about the national political scene don’t typically generate any buzz.

But when said ADA is named Kennedy and his utterance comes on the floor of the Great and General Court, almost 50 years to the day after his great-uncle John F. Kennedy took the rostrum to deliver his “City on a Hill” speech, things can be a little different.

So when Joseph P. Kennedy III on Tuesday publicly deplored the “atmosphere of hate” enveloping American politics, hitting themes similar to those uttered by the president-elect 50 years ago -- “men of dedication, with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest” -- the discussion on Beacon Hill rapidly turned to whether the family had, at last, found an heir to the great family legacy, and a real politico among the fourth generation removed from the ward politics of Boston. A run against Republican Sen. Scott Brown next year, perhaps, or a bid to take one of the state’s nine post-redistricting House seats.

Bay State sources said Kennedy eyed the open House seat that Rep. Bill Delahunt vacated last year, and was circulated by strategists close to the family in 2009 in case a seat had opened in the rush to succeed his uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“He’s definitely in the market to run for office. That was clearly evident today,” said state Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, who represents the East Boston district where presidential grandfather P.J. Kennedy founded the clan’s dynastic roots.
G-d, I hope we get more Kennedy members in Washington. And soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Alison Lundergan Grimes for Secretary of State

Alison Lundergan Grimes will be announcing her candidacy for Secretary of State tomorrow.

If you are able to handle the pending snowpocalypse (or snowmageddon, mind you), then here's the schedule of events for Thursday, Janaury 20, 2011.

10:30 a.m.
Lyric Theater
300 East Third Street
Lexington, KY

1:00 p.m.
Kentucky State Capitol
Capitol Rotunda
Frankfort, KY

4:30 p.m.
815 West Market Street
Louisville, KY

Joe Lieberman for Defense Secretary?

Hey, it makes sense to me. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking to retire. This is a win-win for Democrats. President Barack Obama could nominate Senator Joseph Lieberman for the position. Connecticut has a Democratic governor in charge of appointing the replacement. If a strong Democrat is appointed, it gives them a leg up with fundraising and mounting a campaign over the next two years. Arizona Senator John McCain thinks its a good idea.

Sen. John McCain has the perfect next job for his friend Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who announced Wednesday he won’t run for re-election to the Senate next year: Secretary of Defense.[...]

“You know it’s funny you mention it,” McCain said in a phone interview with CNN when asked if Obama ought to consider the move. “I really hope that the president would consider him. I hadn’t thought about it but I sure hope, whatever happens, he will play a major role on national security issues.”

McCain said Lieberman would be qualified for the job, calling his colleague “one of the most informed members of the Senate on national security issues and homeland security issues.”
Sen. Lieberman is the reason I was first involved in politics. To put it simply, chances are that had Al Gore not selected Lieberman as Vice President, I wouldn't have ever started this blog and Lazy Tuesday would likely have never gotten as big as it did.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RIP: Sargent Shriver

Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, has died at the age of 95. Shriver was diagnosed with Alzheimers. May he rest in peace. My condolences go out to Sarge's family and the entire extended Kennedy family.
R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, the United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died Tuesday. He was 95.[...]

Mr. Shriver was found to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. That fall, white-haired and elegantly attired, he attended the inauguration of his son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Republican governor of California. But in recent years, as his condition deteriorated, he withdrew from his long life of public service.

Married to President John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice for 56 years, he was bound inextricably to one of the nation’s most powerful political dynasties. It was an association with enormous advantages, thrusting him to prominence in a series of seemingly altruistic missions. But it came with handicaps, relegating him to the political background and to a subordinate role in the family history.

“Shriver’s relationship with the Kennedys was complex,” Scott Stossel wrote in “Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver,” a 2004 biography. “They buoyed him up to heights and achievements he would never otherwise have attained — and they held him back, thwarting his political advancement.”

The book and reports in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications suggested that Mr. Shriver’s hopes to run for governor of Illinois in 1960 and vice president in 1964 and 1968 were abandoned to help promote, or at least not compete with, Kennedy aspirations. Mr. Shriver’s vice-presidential race in 1972, on a ticket with Senator George S. McGovern, and a brief primary run for president in 1976 were crushed by the voters.[...]

And his impact on American life was significant. On the stage of social change for decades, Mr. Shriver brought President Kennedy’s proposal for the Peace Corps to fruition in 1961 and served as the organization’s director until 1966. He tapped into a spirit of volunteerism, and within a few years thousands of young Americans were teaching and working on public health and development projects in poorer countries around the world.

After the president’s assassination in 1963, Mr. Shriver’s decision to remain in the Johnson administration alienated many of the Kennedys, especially Robert, who remained as the United States attorney general for months but whose animus toward his brother’s successor was profound. But Mr. Shriver’s responsibilities deepened. In 1964, Johnson persuaded him to take on the administration’s war on poverty, a campaign embodied in a vast new bureaucracy, the Office of Economic Opportunity.

From 1965 to 1968, Mr. Shriver, who disdained bureaucracies as wasteful and inefficient, was director of that agency, a post he held simultaneously until 1966 with his Peace Corps job. The agency created numerous antipoverty programs, including Head Start, the Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America, the Community Action Program and Legal Services for the Poor. (The Office of Economic Opportunity was dismantled in 1973, but many of its programs survived in other agencies and continue to aid thousands of disadvantaged people.)[...]

In later years, he was a rainmaker for an international law firm, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and he retired in 1986. He was also active in the Special Olympics, founded by his wife for mentally disabled athletes; he became its president in 1984, chairman in 1990 and chairman emeritus in 2003.[...]

Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., known as Sarge from childhood, was born in Westminster, Md., on Nov. 9, 1915, the son of his namesake, a banker, and Hilda Shriver. His forebears, called Schreiber, immigrated from Germany in 1721. One ancestor, David Shriver, was a signer of Maryland’s 1776 Constitution. The Shrivers were Roman Catholic and socially prominent, but not especially affluent.

On scholarships, he attended Canterbury, a Catholic boarding prep school in New Milford, Conn. — John F. Kennedy was briefly a schoolmate — and Yale University, graduating with honors in 1938. He earned a Yale law degree in 1941. He joined the Navy shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor and was an officer on battleships and submarines in the Atlantic and the Pacific, winning a Purple Heart for wounds he sustained at Guadalcanal.

After the war, he joined Newsweek as an editor. He met Eunice Kennedy at a dinner party, and she introduced him to her father, Joseph P. Kennedy. In 1946, Joseph Kennedy hired him to help manage his recently acquired Merchandise Mart in Chicago, then the world’s largest commercial building. In Chicago, Mr. Shriver not only turned a profit for the mart but also plunged into lay Catholic affairs and Democratic politics.

After a seven-year commuting courtship, Mr. Shriver and Ms. Kennedy were married by Cardinal Francis Spellman at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York in 1953. Eunice Shriver died in 2009.

In addition to Maria Owings Shriver, he is survived by four sons, Robert Sargent Shriver III of Santa Monica, Calif., Timothy Perry Shriver of Chevy Chase, Md., Mark Kennedy Shriver of Bethesda, Md., and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver of Miami; and 19 grandchildren.[...]

He took root in Chicago. In 1954, he was appointed to the city’s Board of Education, and a year later became its president. In 1955, he also became president of the Catholic Interracial Council, which fought discrimination in housing, education and other aspects of city life. By 1959, he had become so prominent in civic affairs that he was being touted as a Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois in 1960.

Mr. Shriver did nothing to discourage reports that he was considering a run. But with the rest of the Kennedy clan, he joined John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. As he and other family members acknowledged later, the patriarch, Joseph Kennedy, had told him that a separate Shriver race that year would be a distraction. So he resigned from the Chicago school board and became a campaign coordinator in Wisconsin and West Virginia and a principal contact with minorities.

As the election approached, the campaign learned that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been sentenced in Georgia to four months of hard labor for what amounted to a minor traffic violation. Mr. Shriver suggested that Senator Kennedy call a distraught Coretta Scott King, who was terrified that her husband might be killed in prison. His reassuring call, and another by Robert F. Kennedy to a judge in Georgia that led to Dr. King’s release, helped produce a windfall of black support for Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy broached the idea for a volunteer corps in a speech at the University of Michigan and crystallized it as the Peace Corps in an appearance in San Francisco. Mr. Shriver, who as a young man had guided American students on work-and-learn programs in Europe, seemed a natural to initiate it.

Mr. Shriver, who scouted talent for the incoming administration, including cabinet members and others who came to be known as “the best and the brightest,” was assigned after the inauguration to the task of designing the Peace Corps, which was established by executive order in March 1961.

As director, he laid the foundations for what arguably became the most lasting accomplishment of the Kennedy presidency. As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary this year, more than 200,000 Americans have served as corps volunteers in 139 countries.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An update...

First and foremost, Ricky Gervais was hilarious at last night's Golden Globe awards. Yes, he may have gone over the top at times but he was playing to the crowd and not the viewers at home.

Anyway, over at my improv blog, I interviewed TJ Miller, a very funny comedian.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

(On Monday, we observe the anniversary of the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. This is my way of paying tribute to the late civil rights activist.)

I Have a Dream
Delivered August 28, 2963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Winners

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Award Nominations
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
2011 Golden Globes
For the Year ended December 31, 2010

Best Motion Picture—Drama: The Social Network, Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Drama: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical: The Kids Are All Right, Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision, Gilbert Films; Focus Features
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical: Annette Benning, The Kids Are All Right
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical: Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3, Disney * Pixar; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World (Denmark), Zentropa Entertainment; Sony Pictures Classics
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Director—Motion Picture: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Screenplay—Motion Picture: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Original Score—Motion Picture: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Best Original Song—Motion Picture: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” Burlesque; Music & Lyrics by: Diane Warren
Best Television Series—Drama: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front Productions, HBO Entertainment
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Drama: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Drama: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Best Television Series—Comedy or Musical: Glee (FOX), Ryan Murphy Television, Twentieth Century Fox Television
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical: Laura Linney, The Big C
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Carlos (Sundance Channel), Film En Stock and Egoli Tossell Film
Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jane Lynch, Glee
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Chris Colfer, Glee

Previously announced:
Cecil B. Demille Award: Robert DeNiro

Forget gambling, the horse industry is hurting worse...

The horse industry is going to be hurting soon...especially with the David Williams bill that will likely die in the State House.
A federal immigration agent came to the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Jan. 3 to chat with horse trainers, many of whom also race in Kentucky.

The officer said he was there, in suit and tie, on a friendly visit to urge trainers to enroll in the federal E-Verify employment database and check to make sure all backside workers are legally qualified to work in the United States.

But there was also a more ominous undertone: the implication that the next visit might not be so cordial.

“He said he is an enforcer and his job is to arrest illegal immigrants. He said next time he comes in here he would be wearing his blue jacket with his badge, and he would be arresting people,” said trainer Dallas Stewart, who also races in Kentucky. “He said today ‘I’m your friend and I’m trying to help you out. … The reason people are here is for work, and you guys are employing them, and that’s why we need to get it stopped.’”

Like many in the horse industry, Stewart relies on foreign workers, usually here through the federal H-2B visa program, to take care of his horses. But the guest worker program is capped at 66,000 non-agricultural unskilled workers a year for all sectors nationally. For fiscal year 2011, which began in October, more than 35,600 petitions for spots have already been filed. The number of applications routinely bumps up against the number allowed, leaving employers scrambling for labor sources.[...]

“It’s a certain person who could do this job,” Stewart said of working on the backside of a racetrack. “It’s not for everybody. The people that like to do it and want to do it … it’s not a lot of people.”[...]

To horsemen like Stewart, much of the rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate is irrelevant. But trainers also know the result of the debate could have a very concrete impact on the labor supply.

“I can understand everybody needs to be documented. Let’s get them in there and document them,” he said. “These people are here and ready to pay taxes and do what the U.S. government wants them to do. … Whatever it takes, they just want to do it to work.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kentucky wants your sinuses to pay more...

Oh, Kentucky, please don't make it harder on those in the Ohio Valley. My current health insurance doesn't cover prescriptions. I wish it did but it doesn't. I'd be far happier if this bill fails. I don't want to pay $300 for an office visit to have a doctor tell me what I already know and then pay a larger amount on prescriptions when it was cheaper over-the-counter.

This bill needs to die. I recognize that meth labs are a problem in Kentucky. There's no denying that. But why do our sinuses have to suffer because of cracking done on drugs in this way. Our sinuses should not have to suffer. They did nothing wrong aside from contracting something that made them congested to begin with.
Proponents say Kentucky would likely see its own sharp declines if it passes a similar proposal this legislative session. But opponents of House Bill 15 and Senate Bill 45 say requiring a prescription for popular cold medicine would be too costly for cold and allergy sufferers and lower the state’s tax revenue. Over-the-counter medication is taxed, but prescription medicine is not.

They also argue the current system of electronically tracking purchases of cold medicine such as Sudafed is working, despite an explosion of meth labs in recent years.

The fight over what to do with Kentucky’s meth lab incidents, which numbered more than 1,000 in 2010, promises to be a key issue when the legislature returns to Frankfort on Feb. 1. It also may be the most costly battle of the 2010 General Assembly.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Decoded!

There's a new episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel. It deals with conspiracies surrounding the end of days in 2012.

Brad recently published The Inner Circle, a new thriller set in Washington.

To promote the book, he told MTV what his favorite seven conspiracy movies are. Why seven? Was six not good enough?!?

Tennessee jumps the shark

First, Kentucky wants to out-Arizona on immigration. Now comes word that Tennessee wants to out-Texas in education. I don't get this. The south lost the Civil War. Get over it.

Think Progress has a post on it right now. It's disturbing. There's a reason why people are calling the tea party movement as racist. Because they are. That's not libel or slander to say so. Looks at the fucking facts, why don't you.
Tennessee tea party activists presented state legislators yesterday with a list of “demands” for the 2011 legislative session, which opened earlier this week, including, “educating students [about] the truth about America.” “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States,” according to a document the two dozen activists distributed to reporters. “We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”
You want to give them the truth? Tell them why the south still believes that the confederate flag is harmless. It's not. It's harmful. What that flag represents is racism.

From the Commercial Appeal article, the tea party activists say that history is made up. Just read this:
The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds.
What is Hal Rounds smoking? Wait, there's criticism about the history of owning slaves being "made-up?" Someone saying that the history of slavery in America as being "made-up" needs to have their fucking head examined by a psychologist or psychiatrist because it did happen.

Give me a fucking break, tea party activists. You know, there was a suggestion during a recent episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded (aired on December 30, 2010) dealing with missing Confederate gold. They suggested that the tea party movement could very well be descendants of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a shadowy group that is rumored to be guarding the missing gold. You can download the episode from iTunes and watch.

JJ talks Star Trek 2

J.J. Abrams recently spoke to Collider about the Star Trek sequel, Super 8, and other projects that he is involved with. Some excerpts are below:
When will audiences get to see a trailer for Super 8?

ABRAMS: Probably sometime in March, I think.

Do you have a date by which you have to decide whether you’re going to direct Star Trek 2?

ABRAMS: That’s a good question. I probably do. I don’t know. There’s a script that should be coming in, hopefully by the time there’s a trailer for Super 8, and then we’ll know.

What’s the biggest proponent of that decision for you?

ABRAMS: I guess the idea of not wanting to choose to direct a film, for which I’ve not read a script. It’s a tough decision to make without seeing any pages. That’s not to say that I don’t have all the faith in the world in the spectacular writers. Damon Lindelof, Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman are awesome. My hope is that they’ll write the script, it will be great and we can make a fun, exciting sequel to Star Trek.

In entertainment news...

The first image of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man has been released. Go here now.

ABC is ordering a pilot of Charlie's Angels. Hey, if Hawaii Five-0 can be rebooted, then why the hell not?
The remake of the 1970s series, described as a modern take on the Angels set in Miami, hails from Sony Pictures TV and Drew Barrymore's Flower Films. Alfred Gough and Miles Miller penned the script and are executive producing with with Leonard Goldberg, executive producer of the original series, Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen.
Also, not that I watch Private Practice but tonight's episode will be pre-empted by the reairing of yesterday's Off the Map due to yesterday's preemptions across the networks.

Jonathan Miller's Op-Ed

Former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller had an op-ed in this mornings Lexington Herald-Leader. I could cut it and post excerpts but that won't do it justice. Neither would a simple link. Here it is in full:

Kentucky voices: Call to civic — and civil action
By Jonathan Miller

The tragedy in Tucson has unleashed an absurdly hypocritical spectacle: Hyper-partisan pols, cable TV screaming heads and the blogosphere's ideological flamethrowers, all decrying political vitriol.

As a classmate of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a two-year fellowship program aimed at promoting civility in politics, I'm confident her reaction would be: "Welcome to the (bi-partisan) party!" And as our fellowship reassembles to fulfill Gabby's legacy, we ask you to join us in this critical cause.

In 2005, the Aspen Institute — the venerable Washington monument within the swamp of D.C. partisanship — gathered 16 of us: young elected officials, with a deliberate mix of gender, race, geography and party affiliation. Under the banner of the Rodel Fellowship program — whose mission is to support a "political system based on thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue" — we were joined in the hopes of producing a more responsible approach to America's most important domestic issues.

The Aspen nation-builders surmised that if they could identify future leaders early enough and empower us to connect and debate, we'd ultimately view each other not as partisan opponents but as fellow Americans pursuing our own notions of the common good. In turn, the public would benefit from leadership more accountable to it, instead of to the political parties or special interests.

Even within our group of highly touted talents, amid the torrent of ascendant egos and alpha-dog chutzpah, Gabrielle Giffords was the model of soft-spoken confidence. Despite her impressive resume and astronaut boyfriend (now husband), Gabby was often the one who grounded us, a moral center who made us laugh and reminded us of our shared humanity. She was a force for civility within a group assembled for that very purpose.

Over the next few weeks, as in the wake of Oklahoma City and then 9-11, the body politic likely will tone down its rhetoric and wax poetically about a more reflective public dialogue. Reforms will be offered in Gabby's name before we — inevitably — return to our partisan corners, demonizing and crucifying the other side over the next urgent issue. Gabby's Rodel cohorts are taking on the challenge of trying to ensure that this time is different, that this tragic event sparks lasting positive change. Within hours of the shooting, the group that had not met in nearly five years reconnected by phone and e-mail. We decided the timing was ripe for us to regroup and reboot by broadening our mission: to design concrete programs that will promote bipartisan productivity, and punish those who undermine effective governing.

Transitioning from mere talk to engagement will be a considerable challenge, given the polarized and paralyzed status quo. But with five new Rodel classes, we are now 125 fellows strong, representing a broader spectrum of government and a new generation of American leaders who've demonstrated far less allegiance to the rigid partisanship of our elders.

This movement will not — cannot — be limited to elected pols. Gabby was just one of 20 Americans shot that day, all of whom were participating in a local civic event. As someone who has spent the last decade advocating for public policy that reflects a more compassionate community, I've understood we too often underestimate the critical role played by the average citizen. Now as a recovering politician, I'm inspired by my mentor, Al Gore, whose Nobel Peace Prize proves that sometimes you can accomplish more outside of public office, challenging those within.

That's why each of us who believes that a workable democracy depends on civil discourse must take action now:

■ Attend the next political town hall meeting in your community so your sane voice gets more air time than destructive extremism.

■ Communicate with your elected representatives using all of the new technologies of our social media.

■ Demand more civic education in your kids' schools.

■ Join a group that promotes bipartisanship, such as the national citizen movement No Labels (, which organizes community gatherings to advocate solutions to the obstinate, chronic policy problems that our politics-as-blitzkrieg simply can't fix.

And the time is now. Less than 24 hours before her life would forever change, Gabrielle Giffords e-mailed Kentucky's Secretary of State Trey Grayson, another Rodel classmate, who was recently named director of Harvard's Institute of Politics. Gabby offered her assistance: "We need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

As Gabby — and the nation itself — recover from last week's traumatic wounds, it's essential for the rest of us to take up her mission.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Despite religious attacks, Texas Speaker re-elected

It's nice to know that the anti-Semitic attacks backfired in Texas. Mazel Tov, Speaker Joe Straus.
Joe Straus, overwhelmingly reelected speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, strongly repudiated attacks on his Jewish faith.

"Attacks on people's religious beliefs have no place in this House," Straus, a Republican, said Tuesday after winning the vote 132-15, according to reports filed via Twitter by KPRC, a Houston NBC affiliate.

The KPRC reporter, Mary Benton, said Straus was given a standing ovation.

A small group of backers of his opponents had said that the post should go to a "Christian conservative."

His rivals distanced themselves from such language, saying they were running against Straus because of his relative moderation and not because of his religious beliefs.

Straus won the speakership, considered the state's second most powerful post, two years ago in part because of his ability to work with Democrats.

Three coaches share a common bond

Jason King has done it again. This very moving article about Billy Donovan, Anthony Grant, and John Pelphrey, the head basketball coaches at Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas, respectively, will leave you in tears. I won't post any excerpts but it's very touching and moving.

Sarah Palin: Intellectually challenged

The first question one has to ask is: Does Sarah Palin not have a Jewish advisor? Her statement today has certainly shown that she does not. Otherwise, the phrase, "blood libel," would definitely not have been used.

Given the history of the term and it's background in common vernacular, it's very easy to see why Jewish people, such as myself, are up in arms over the Palin's use.

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman released a statement today:
It is unfortunate that the tragedy in Tucson continues to stimulate a political blame game. Rather than step back and reflect on the lessons to be learned from this tragedy, both parties have reverted to political partisanship and finger-pointing at a time when the American people are looking for leadership, not more vitriol. In response to this tragedy we need to rise above partisanship, incivility, heated rhetoric, and the business-as-usual approaches that are corroding our political system and tainting the atmosphere in Washington and across the country.

It was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder. Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others. While the term "blood-libel" has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.
For more on the history of the term, click here.
The “blood libel” refers to a centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christians – especially Christian children – to use their blood for ritual purposes, such as an ingredient in the baking of Passover matzah (unleavened bread). It is also sometimes called the “ritual murder charge.” The blood libel dates back to the Middle Ages and has persisted despite Jewish denials and official repudiations by the Catholic Church and many secular authorities. Blood libels have frequently led to mob violence and pogroms, and have occasionally led to the decimation of entire Jewish communities.

The blood libel is particularly appalling in light of the fact that Jews follow the Hebrew Bible’s law to not consume any blood, which is found in the book of Leviticus. In order for an animal to be considered kosher, all its blood must have been drained and discarded.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank you, Patrick

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy spoke with Politico and rebuffed Palin in doing so.

Patrick Kennedy, who lost two uncles to assassins’ bullets, says there’s an obvious connection between the violent rhetoric of today’s politics and the massacre in Tucson.

“When Sarah Palin puts targets on people’s districts? Or you have 10,000 signs on the mall during the healthcare battle saying ‘Bury Obamacare with Kennedy’? When the vitriol and the rhetoric is so violent, we have to connect consequences to that.” said Kennedy, who left congress two weeks ago after serving eight terms representing Rhode Island.[...]

He called Giffords a “very compassionate person, with a generous spirit. She was always asking about me and how I was doing,” in the time just after his father’s death.

After the final vote on health care reform, Kennedy volunteered his services to raise money for Giffords and other Democrats who had voted yes and were facing a tough reelection fight. Kennedy was able to raise about $65,000 for Giffords “virtually overnight,” he said. “She was happily surprised.”[...]

“My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally,” Kennedy said during a speech before healthcare providers and union officials in downtown Providence in September 2009, according to the Providence Journal.

“It’s fine for people to debate the issue and attack the issue, but when they go and stoop to the level of the vitriolic rhetoric that we’ve seen this debate turn up, it’s very, I think, dangerous to the fabric of our country,” he said at the time.

“There are consequences to violent rhetoric,” he said. “Some people can see through TV ratings and right-wing talk show hosts that just try to create some theater, but unfortunately, there are some that can’t see through it. And that’s the danger in it. There is definitely freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not allow yelling ‘fire’ in the middle of a crowded movie theater.”

Kennedy remains optimistic about the future, however, and said he is courting some major corporations to help raise money for veterans returning home with traumatic brain injury.

Quote of the Day

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."
--Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, Global Grind

Ailes also admitted that the network isn't fair and balanced.

The Onion is coming to your TV

The Onion is coming to television. Tomorrow night at 10:30 PM on Comedy Central, Onion SportsDome will make it's much-awaited debut. Then, on January 21st at 10 PM, Onion News Network's FactZone With Brooke Alvarez debuts on IFC.
It's just tragic to see her like this," says Brooke Alvarez as she gazes at video footage of a woman encircled by menacing captors.

But it's not the reporter's condition that shocks the glam host. It's the victim's lack of hair conditioner. Alvarez's indignation flares. "It's hard to comprehend how anyone, even a terrorist, could treat a TV personality's hair that way."

That smell in the air is TV news' not-so-sacred cows being fried up by the folks at The Onion. The satire sheet started in 1988 by University of Wisconsin-Madison juniors Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson has bloomed into a multi-platform hotbed of humor.

This month, The Onion makes the leap to TV with two shows hoping to capitalize on the fake-news phenomenon pioneered by Comedy Central. The network already has turned Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert into headline-generating stars (and hopes to do the same for comic Jon Benjamin, whose newsmagazine spoof, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, launches this summer).[...]

Comedy programs riffing off the media are the best lure for reeling in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 age demographic, says Anne Libera, director of comedy studies in a joint program run by The Second City comedy troupe and Chicago's Columbia College.

"That young TV audience is so media-savvy today, which is why parody works so well," says Libera, whose housemate at Northwestern University was Colbert ("He'd make futon frames in our basement," she says). "There's a lot of comedy on TV now, but I'd argue that there's also a big demand for it from this generation. More than ever, it seems comedy is how people comment on the world around them."

Libera says The Onion has one distinct advantage over The Daily Show or Colbert, which trade almost exclusively in factual events. "By making a lot up, The Onion folks are not tied to the 24-hour news cycle," she says. "They can satirize an idea, as opposed to being forced to satirize an actual event. They've got comedic breathing room."

Bayh to hit lecture circuit

Former Senator Bayh, a phrase that is extremely hard to write, will be hitting the lecture circuit.
We are extremely excited about Evan Bayh joining our roster of exclusive speakers," said Mark French, president of Leading Authorities. "We look forward to the insights his distinguished background will bring to our clients."

Senator Bayh was known as a "people's politician," and had a reputation for focusing on what is best for Americans, regardless of party lines. His signature legislative efforts aimed at strengthening our national security, creating more jobs through the growth of small businesses, protecting American workers from unfair trade practices, and providing tax-relief for struggling families.

DGA Nominees for 2010 Feature Film

There were so many productions worthy of a nod but only five directors can be nominated. Usually, they are the same as with the Oscar nominees but we shall see. I'm surprised that the Coens were left off for True Grit.

DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2010 Nominees:
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Mr. Aronofsky’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: Jennifer Roth
· First Assistant Director: Joseph Reidy
· Second Assistant Director: Amy Lauritsen
· Second Second Assistant Director: Travis Rehwaldt
· Location Manager: Ronnie Kupferwasser
This is Mr. Aronofsky’s first DGA Feature Film Award Nomination.

The Social Network (Columbia Pictures)
Mr. Fincher’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: JoAnn Perritano
· First Assistant Director: Bob Wagner
· Second Assistant Director: Allen Kupetsky
· Second Second Assistant Director: Maileen Williams
This is Mr. Fincher’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He was previously nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008. He previously won the DGA Commercial Award for Speed Chain (Nike), Gamebreakers (, and Beauty for Sale (Xelibri Phones) in 2003 and was nominated in that category again in 2008.

The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Mr. Hooper’s Directorial Team:
· Production Manager: Erica Bensly
· First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
· Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling
This is Mr. Hooper’s first DGA Feature Film Award Nomination. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Movies for Television/Miniseries for John Adams in 2008.

Inception (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Nolan’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: Jan Foster
· First Assistant Director: Nilo Otero
· Second Assistant Director: Brandon Lambdin
· Second Second Assistant Director: Greg Pawlik
· Additional Second Assistant Director: Lauren Pasternack
This is Mr. Nolan’s third DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He was previously nominated for The Dark Knight in 2008 and for Memento in 2001.

The Fighter (Paramount Pictures and The Weinstein Co.)
Mr. Russell’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: Mark Kamine
· First Assistant Director: Michele Ziegler
· Second Assistant Director: Xanthus Valan
· Second Second Assistant Director: Timothy Blockburger
This is Mr. Russell’s first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Take it down a notch for America

Getting back to that whole idea of toning down the rhetoric, which so badly needs to be done, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had actually emailed Trey Grayson about toning down rhetoric and partisanship.
Giffords sent the email to Grayson Friday evening congratulating him for being hired as director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Though from different parties, the two became friends while participating in a leadership fellowship in 2005, Grayson said.

In the email, which Grayson provided to cn|2 Politics, Giffords said she wanted work with Grayson on ways to encourage tamping down the current tone of political discourse.

“After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down,” Giffords wrote to Grayson.[...]

Grayson said in a phone interview Sunday that he and Giffords have kept in touch mostly through email since meeting as part of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship for your leaders. He said the two of them often lamented the divisiveness in politics.

“That is something she and I have been quite passionate about — to run for office in the right way and for the right reasons,” Grayson said. “I think Gabby was really sincere in that email … And I am going to to redouble my efforts” to highlight moderation in the discourse and working across party lines.

The latest...

From the various articles I have seen in the past few hours, it's become increasingly clear that the shooting was religiously motivated.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman's alleged assailant.[...]

"The group's ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic," says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.
Ron Kampeas wonders if heated rhetoric played a role in the shooting. It wouldn't surprise me. Just by watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or various MSNBC shows, we see some of the disturbing footage that airs on FOX News.
The 8th District in southern Arizona represented by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords comprises liberal Tucson and its rural hinterlands, which means moderation is a must. But it also means that spirits and tensions run high.

Giffords’ office in Tucson was ransacked in March following her vote for health care reform -- a vote the Democrat told reporters that she would cast even if it meant her career. She refused to be cowed, but she also took aim at the hyped rhetoric. She cast the back-and-forth as part of the democratic process.

“We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of protesters over the course of the last several months,” Giffords told MSNBC after the middle-of-the-night attack, which left a window shattered. “Our democracy is a light -- really a beacon -- around the world because we effect change at the ballot box and not because of these outbursts of violence and the yelling.”

She called on all leaders -- of both parties and in the community -- to consider how they cast their arguments. Giffords, who last week took the oath of office for her third term, noted how her re-election bid was being treated by 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.

“The way she has it depicted is that she has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district,” Giffords said. “When people do that they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”[...]

“You have a vice-presidential candidate for a major party who runs ads with targets saying ‘remove Gabby Giffords’ and a young man with issues,” Mark Rubin, a Tucson-area lawyer and a Democratic Party activist, told JTA. “You're going to spend a long time convincing me it doesn't have something to do with it.”

Spencer Giffords, the congresswoman’s father, wept when the New York Post asked him if his daughter had enemies.

“The Tea Party,” he said, referring to the conservative insurgency that targeted her, resulting in one of last November's closest elections.
Just look at some of the Rand Paul supporters. Remember the curbstomping?

Another article looks at her openness and Judaism.

RIP: Debbie Friedman

Mi shebeirach avoteinu M'kor habracha l'imoteinu. May the source of strength who blessed the ones before us help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, and let us say: Amen. Mi shebeirach imoteinu M'kor habracha l'avoteinu. Bless those in need of healing with refuah sh'leimah, the renewal of body, the renewal of spirit, and let us say: Amen.

It's very fitting to post the words to Debbie Friedman's rendition of the Mi shebeirach prayer, a prayer for healing in the Jewish religion. Obviously, the prayer is longer than the song. It's also fitting to sing it with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in your thoughts and prayers. Friedman passed from complications from pneumonia this morning.
Debbie Friedman, who combined American folk music with Hebrew liturgical texts to create a popular contemporary form of Jewish music, died today at a hospital in Orange County, Calif.

She had been hospitalized for pneumonia, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. Ms. Friedman was in her late 50s.

Her career began when she was a young woman during the Vietnam War era, when music by the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan was popular.

At the time, Ms. Friedman, who played the acoustic guitar, was attending a Minnesota synagogue. She found services there "dull and passive," she told the New York Times in 1998.

"It infuriated me," she said, "and I wanted to do something about it, provide an avenue of expression that was meaningful. And it came so easily, as if the music was already there, waiting to come out."

May she rest in peace.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sheriff attacks media vitriol

Politico, today, reported on the comments made by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik during interviews and press conferences that he held today. Many of the comments were aimed at the media vitriol. If I had to guess the vitriol that the sheriff refers to is likely that of the likes of the rhetoric that comes from FOX News and other conservative commentators.

Here's an excerpt from the press conference:
When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.[...]

Let me say one thing, because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.
In an interview that aired on MNSBC, Sheriff Dupnik comments:
I want to tell you right now that people like myself are very, very angry at what’s going on in our country, and I think that it’s time that we take a look at what kind of hatred that we inflame by all the crap that goes on. I’m a close friend of Gabrielle Giffords’, and she is one of the most beautiful human beings that you can imagine. I think it’s time that this country take a little introspective look at the [inaudible] crap that comes out on radio and TV.

Seth Rogen Caught Off Guard

The news that Knocked Up would be recieving a spin-off caught star Seth Rogen off guard.
Still, the question remains: Will Heigl or Rogen pop up at any point in the new film? MTV News put that very question to Rogen when we caught up with him while he was promoting "Green Hornet."

"I don't know," he admitted.

Rogen went on to explain that he had some knowledge that Apatow was working on "Knocked Up"-related material, but didn't know if a project was locked in or if there's a part in the script for him.

"[Judd] mentioned it to me off-handedly a year ago, and then I just read about it just like everybody else," Rogen explained. "I was like, 'Oh man, it looks like it's really happening.'

"So, I don't know," he added. "I'm going to call him today and see what the deal is."
It wouldn't be a spin-off without Rogen. They could always have Katherine's character being away on assignment.

Other news on the Apatow front: Lena Durham's pilot was picked up by HBO as a series.
HBO has decided to pick up the Judd Apatow-produced comedy series Girls, which has been described by New York Magazine as a version of Sex and the City with younger characters.

Girls was created by Lena Dunham, who is best known for writing, directing, and starring in the 2010 independent comedy film, Tiny Furniture, which received Independent Spirit Award nods for Best Cinematography, Best First Feature, and Best First Screenplay.

Dunham is set to star in the New York City-based comedy series. Dunham’s Tiny Furniture co-star, Jemima Kirke, will be a part of the cast. Adam Driver, Zosia Marmet, and Allison Williams have also been confirmed as cast members in the forthcoming HBO series.