Late Night: Obama and the Oscars, Co-Starring Bachmann in Total Overdrive

It wasn’t quite The King’s Speech (12 nominations) but the State of the Union, with members of opposition parties sharing seats, showed True Grit (10 nominations).

I was shocked to learn that Michele Bachmann hadn’t noticed in passing all the news about Founding Father Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his slave Sally Hemmings and apparently had never seen Gone with the Wind (10 wins) clearly set before, during and after the Civil War, or as some call it, the War Between the States. Michele did bring up an interesting hypothesis where John Quincy Adams must have wandered as a shade until 1863, since according to soph-person:

John Quincy Adams… would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

And please, for decades, only white male property owners could vote. Maybe those running for office should have to take an American and world history quiz before they can even file to run.

CNN Retracts Claims of Investigation into Manning’s Treatment by Quantico Commander

screen capture of original story (via emptywheel/FDL)
Up until just a bit ago, the above story, caught on screen capture, was pretty exciting–well now CNN has retracted it. Here’s the back story to the retraction.
UPDATE: MSNBC reports no links found between Manning and Assange!
Now back whence started.

Bradley Manning was improperly put on suicide watch last week by the Brig Commander at Quantico, the United States Government admits.

The reason Manning was put on suicide watch, which denied him clothing and his glasses: He allegedly refused to follow an order given by two officers. No word what that order was.

But only medical personnel are allowed to to make the suicide watch call.

Quantico’s Brig Commander James Averhart does not have that authority.

Wisely the U.S. Army lawyers urged  Averhart to take Manning–who has not yet been charged with a crime– off suicide watch. Averhart complied.

And as above, CNN’s retracted  their elaboration of what  MSNBC reported last night:

The CNN Wire has killed the story slugged US-WikiLeaks-Manning-1 that moved at 2:47 p.m. due to new information. The military spokesman identified in the story says there is no investigation into the decision to put Bradley Manning on suicide watch.

Emptywheel explains it all.

WikiLeaks/Bradley Manning: My Boss Detained at Quantico

Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher, who was one of my bridal attendants over a decade ago, was detained at Quantico for two hours today while trying to deliver a petition requesting humane treatment for Bradley Manning who is accused of providing sensitive government information information to WikiLeaks.  She and Manning’s regular visitor, David House were released minutes before visiting hours (3pm East Coast time) ended.  Manning will thus get no visitors until next week.  You see whut the guards at Quantico did there? Michael Whitney at FDL reports:

Jane Hamsher is with David House who is trying to visit Pvt. Bradley Manning at Quantico today while carrying a petition with 42,000 signatures requesting humane treatment for Manning. The military isn’t making it easy at all and detained Jane and David for two hours. We’re publishing her tweets as well as David House’s tweets here as a post in case you haven’t been able to follow them on Twitter (@JaneHamsher and @DavidMHouse

UPDATE: At 2:50pm the military released Jane and David, and told David he could go off base and come back on to visit Bradley. But visiting hours end at 3pm, so Bradley won’t get a visit. We’ll have more soon.

Sarah Palin + Steampunk: Now That’s a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Steampunk–a style of dress and for some a way of life is based in the worlds of Jules Verne,  H.G. Wells,  Robert Anton Wilson and Alan Moore. Think an alternative  Victorian England  where steam power runs elaborately geared machines, women wear corsets and–as in The Wild, Wild West TV  series and its unfortunate cinematic remake–there’s a nutty villain and outrageous gadgets.

Now The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has transmuted into what could be called The Legs of  an Extraordinary Woman in the new comic book Steampunk Palin. And it’s not satire. But it does include  eight pin-ups, along with the most ridiculous confusing plot line (here below the spoiler alert) as I understand it from the review by Comics Alliance’s Chris Murphy who suffered through reading it–and worse yet through looking at the drawings. Chris, your eyes will stop bleeding soon, I promise. Bless you for your service to your country, nay, the world!

Somewhere in the near future, after a huge war makes the Earth’s oil dry up, politicians and policy makers  gather to figure out a new power source is needed.

Naturally being a big energy expert, Sarah Palin suggests steam power  to run the world’s generators,  as a replacement for  the now long gone oil. Because ya can’t have Tea Party with hot water, youbetcha!

And uh, you can’t have steam without heat and heat is made from generators run on what now? Steam?  But how to get steam to make more steam? Do you build huge distilleries to recycle the steam? but how do you get the energy to manufacture the steel and copper needed to build giant steam generators that…oh never mind, but you see why I am baffled?

*****************************SPOILER ALERT****************SPOILER ALERT*********************

So anyway, the energy conference is bombed by  the evil forces of Big Oil/Nuclear Energy (wait, I though the oil had all been destroyed in the war).

*Poof * When Steampunk Palin and Robama–yeah, clever that–Obama/Robama– and every one elses awakens, they have been rebuilt in to half human-half machines and Sarah’s breast seem to have truly become a fan boy (0r fan) girl fap fest.

But kudos to the artists that Sarah doesn’t shake down her up-do and take off her glasses to gain even more super powers.

The weirdest part is that the Evil Mastermind Mad Villain behind the oil/nukes profit machine and has his bad guys fight Sarah’s army of good guys (it’s all relative)  is actually Al Gore.  Okay that definitely makes this  an alternative universe. For most people reading this, an alternative universe is one where Gore won the 2000 election; DOMA was repealed and ENDA passed; the genders of people marrying was no longer an issue; the war was over; health insurance was affordable and.. and, too.

Then the Russian start a war on the border with Alaska! Naturally in the end, aided by both Robama and a spare parts-rebuilt version of John McCain (the cyborg building team fixed up his bad arm an gave him a metal one to go with his medals! How thoughtful),  Sarah’s  bipartisan alliance wins against the army (somehow her robot body controls a her own robot army-insert “twiddle knobs/push her button jokes here), and she poses for those pin up drawings. Then makess herself a nice cup of  red-blooded, all American tea. (Okay, I made that last senten up).

Oh and while we’re on the subject of alternative history genres and smash-ups, this summer will bring us COWBOYS VS ALIENS, directed by John Favreau, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Fer realz.

Elton John: “F**CK YOU!” to Anti-Civil Marrigage Equality H8ers

Last night I went to the American Foundation for Equal Rights benefit concert. Full disclosure, I paid for my ticket. AMFR is the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge of California’s Proposition 8, known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Elton John was awesome (more on that later), and it was kinda thrilling to see Theodore Olson and David Boies take the stage together. Olsen said  their plan was for him get to the four Supreme Court Justices that voted his way and the five that voted Boies’ way re: Florida, and that way they’d have all nine. Laughs form the audience. Chairman Rob Reiner said the whole point was being non-partisan. Both John Podesta and the Cato Institute are involved with AFER.

Okay done with the speechifications and on to Elton John: Sir Elton, once he realized the difference between UK civil unions and state civil unions, got involved in the battle against Prop 8. He told the audience of 300 at the start of the 90 minute show that he

would always be there for you standing at the forefront to help you guys

and while he realized he had everything, he didn’t have the right to be married to his partner of 17 years. Midway through the set which included several new songs plus “Levon,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Candle in the Wind,” “I’m Still Standing,’ “crocodile Rock,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and Benny and the Jets,” plus some awesome jazz, boogey-woogey and barrelhouse  piano improv, Sir Elton, who looked like he was having a ton of fun, got serious with a speech ending with the full force of righteous anger toward the churches, the people and politicians who deny equal marriage rights:

Fuck you! Fuck you!

Celebrity spotting was not the purpose of the evening, though  Adam Lambert,  Golden Globe winner/Glee star Jane Lynch and Bruce Vilanch–who our cat Mr Bruce is partially named for (see photo below)–were two rows in front of me.

The event was held at Ron Burkle’s estate in the benefit section of the vast grounds, with one tent for the concert and another for enormous and elegant buffet, with an open bar. The passed hors d’oeuvres included mini-burgers, brie and pear tarts, shrimp and wee pizzas, plus tables loaded with salads, green beans, vegan mousaka, braised short ribs on puff pastry and some amazing desserts including homemade s’mores.

But Elton, OMG! It was incredible to see him up close like that and for such a good cause.

Mr. Bruce

Bruce Vilanch

Tuesday Late Night: Bad Vibes?

TSA’s super-frisky frisking vs their really rad–as in radiation–full body scan prompted  witty  manufacturers to churn out underwear with the 4th Amendment  screened in metal ink. The magic undies send a firm message about privacy while shielding (what could be) the fun stuff  from prying eyes.

But  libertines, courtesans, romantics and even Ted Haggard had better think about what they’re packing in their hand-held luggage, since a Minnesota man, Terry Allen Lester,  has developed a new tool terrorists could use to shake things up: a remote controlled exploding vibrator. Lester had planned to send it to an ex-girlfriend as a holiday gift. Wow.

The Smoking Gun reports that Lester:

placed “gun powder, BB shot, and buck shot from shotgun shells” into the modified device, which had “black and red wires that connected to a trigger with a battery port,”allegedly was planning on giving the vibrator as a Christmas gift to one of three former girlfriends, with whom he had relationships that “ended badly.”… The woman who contacted police said Lester told her that “when the device was inserted into the female he would pull the trigger and it would blow them up.”

Lester, according to tsg:

also left behind tools, cords, cables, and the remains of a drill that was disassembled “to use the parts for the vibrator bomb.”

So first the threat of liquids led to  passengers being ordered to drink carry-on formula and breast milk; the shoe bomber made security lines even more sole-less;  the panty bomber and and rumors of  exploding breast implants gave us gate rape. But if you stop having sex the way you like it, then the terrorists (and uptight nutbags) have won. Keep America free by keeping her sexy!

So will  TSA  post a new sign telling travelers to put sex toys in plastic tray along with computers and cell phones and eagerly start rifling carry-ons for bullet-vibes, the rabbit and ben wa balls?  Is nothing sacred?!

Late Night: Pigskin Parade’s Footballers vs. the Commie Comic Foil


Spoiler alert: Plot points revealed!

Pigskin Parade (1936) features Judy Garland as the perky and talented sister of Amos Dodd, a hick kid illegitimately recruited to a Texas university in order to beat Yale in the season’s big game.  There is a hitch, though. Dodd is a hillbilly melon farmer who has never gone to school (but he is a super talented harmonica player,  music runs in that family!). Amos doesn’t have his admission credentials in place, so the clever members of football frat Delta Delta Pi come up with a solution:
One of the transferring DDP  members, Herbert Terwilliger Van Dyke, has already declared his loathing of football, arguing that the sport is a capitalist plot designed by meat barons. (Van Dyke is played by Elisha Cook, Jr. who five years later would appear in a completely different role as  Wilmer the gunsel in John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon.)

Though an obviously wealthy nerd, H. Terwilliger Van Dyke–as he calls himself–has actually done jail time (two months in jail in New Jersey!) by turning against his class and putting his beliefs  into action.  As H. Terwilliger Van Dyke tells his Texan frat brothers, while attending the (fictional) East Coast Bradley University, he:

crashed a brick through the window of a bank. The capitalistic faculty at Bradley expelled me.

As seen in the video above, the stalwart Texans set up Van Dyke by pretending to support his

vital message to the collegiate youth of the nation,

published in his  manifesto, Youth vs Capitalism: A Militant Message to College Students so they use HTVD’s credentials to get Amos into school after the budding radical is arrested re-creating the New Jersey bank window crashing escapade while tossing around copies of his manifesto. Wow, the frat boys are outside agitators!

So let’s see, the football coach knowingly recruits an ineligible, illiterate talented football player while members of the team:

• encourage vandalism
• get a frat brother arrested
• perpetuate what today would be considered identity theft in order to enroll the ineligible and illiterate Amos Dodd (and his sister) in college so the team can win against Yale
• finagle funds to pay for the sibling’s tuition
• force a false identity on Amos’ sister Sairy Dodd (Judy Garland) in order to encourage Amos to participate in the ruse.

Wow. So Pigskin Parade basically is saying that it’s better to be an unethical college sports coach or simply malicious, deceitful and cruel than to be a Commie. God/s bless America!

Riot on Sunset Strip: Concert Goers Attacked with Rubber Bullets and Mace

Firing bean bags and rubber bullets while spraying mace into a crowd of concert goers, Los Angeles Sheriff Department deputies closed down Sunset Boulevard from Doheny Avenue to San Vincente Boulevard for two hours last night. Backed up by members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s riot squad and the Beverly Hills Police Department, LASD arrived as patrons exited a punk rock nostalgia show featuring Ill Repute, TSOL and Youth Brigade at the Key Club on Sunset Blvd.

The riot began around 10:30 p.m. Thurssday night, and closed down Sunset Blvd. — the scene of much earlier clashes between law enforcement and non-mainstream types, like 1966′s hippie riots immortalized in the film Riot on the Sunset Strip and the punk rock riot when Black Flag played the Whiskey in August of 1982. Their second show for that hot August night was canceled and the Whiskey’s then-manager told the Los Angeles Times that

it wasn’t really a riot until the police showed up.

Kinda’ like last night.

By 11:00 p.m., patrons of other clubs were told to go to their cars or stay inside. Here’s an eyewitness account which differs substantially from that given by law enforcement.

According to man-about-town and punk rocker Andre Boutilier, before he and his friend entered the club to see the second billed act TSOL, there was scuffle at the club’s entrance. The guy causing the problem was joined by a couple of buddies; more bouncers joined in the melee. When Boutilier and his companion entered the club,

We noticed there were no bouncers that we could see, and so we figured they were outside dealing with the situation. After TSOL, we went backstage to chat with the guys. A club staffer came back and said Youth Brigade would not be going on, and told them to pack it up and leave. No announcement had yet been made in main part of [the 450-person capacity club]. We helped the bands get their stuff together and walked out with them chatting on the way to their cars. We saw about 50 or 60 kids out front and overheard them being told that they couldn’t go in, despite having tickets. [La Figa: Well, yeah, the show was over]. That’s when the sheriffs started arriving, just a few cars at first, some of which set up a barricade to the west, towards Beverly Hills. Even before fans left the club, the sheriffs were  announcing that this was an illegal assembly and anyone remaining in the area would be arrested.

Boutilier and his friend had already left the venue and ducked into Shamrock Studio Tattoo. They witnessed the sheriff department’s riot squad take their position. About ten minuted after they were in place, fans were let out of club. It appeared to Boutilier that  in a move coordinated between the club and LASD, patrons were being keep inside until the riot police were in place.

As patrons were exiting, the sheriffs made another announcement that everyone should walk east, while repeating that this was an illegal assembly.

Patrons tried to move eastward, but it was very slow going as 450 people squeezed into the sidewalk, some looking for their friends, others confused. They didn’t move fast enough for the sheriff’s riot squad, which started firing rubber bullets with backup by the LAPD and Beverly Hills Police Department. Both KTLA and FOX News LA covered the scene. Fox’s on-air coverage varies from Boutilier’s and KTLA’s reports; FOX’s spin on the incident suggests the fans started the riot by throwing rocks and bottles, in opposition to the other stories.

Boutilier who I spoke to at 4:00 a.m. before any news aired told me,

stupid kids threw rocks and bottles after the rubber bullets were fired.

(in the video the narrator says “automatic guns; he meant gunfire)

Boutilier sums it up on his FB page:

Police overreact to minor conflict outside club. Shutdown the show before YB can take the stage. Then fire rubber bullets into crowd, unload industrial fire extinguisher filled with mace. Beat up the wrong kids. In their defense some idiot kids throw bottles at the cops that broke at their feet which was stupid of them.

The versions aired by KTLA — yes I’ve watched the local news from 4:30 a.m. on — showed police arriving, firing of rubber bullets, macing the crowd, and then the fans throwing rocks and bottles.

Even with editing footage from the two-hour long riot, the footage on KTLA broadcast supports Boutilier’s version, showing a sheriff’s deputy holding a large canister of mace and spraying several nonviolent patrons at close range as they walked away form the club.

What KTLA didn’t show (perhaps because of fallout from Rodney King video and the MacArthur Park May Day riot?) but Boutilier saw:

The deputy, after he emptied the canister, began hitting  kids with the metal container and several other officers had to pull him off.

The official law enforces chronology is different from that of Boutilier and KTLA. LAPD’s Sgt. S. Ruda told the LA Weekly:

Bouncers at the club got into it with fans outside the club, and responding deputies were met with rocks and bottles…Deputies responded and some patrons started forming a crowd..More deputies responded and they started taking bottles and rocks.


On their website KTLA reports

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrived in riot gear and used rubber bullets and mace to try and tame the hostile crowd. The rowdy group threw rocks and bottles at deputies.

There have have been three reports televised by KTLA so far, each one progressively making fans look worse, but still showing the sheriff’s firing before fans react violently; one kids is shown kicking a street sign, and people are indeed throwing rocks — totally stupid. Don’t you ever wonder where these urban rocks come from? I have walked up and down Sunset plenty of times and never seen a rock. Bottles, yeah, but not a lot of them, and trash cans aren’t that easy to dig into in the hope of finding a bottle. The second KTLA report had a voice over from the Sheriffs’ Dept. explaining that the sheriffs responded to a 911 call from the Key Club and showed up; once patrons exited the club, they started throwing things at the sheriffs.

[all photos, video Andre Boutilier, used by permission]

HIV+ Writer Seeks Personal Stories for Reality Stage Play

Todd A. Heywood is an openly HIV+  journalist based in Lansing, MI who has covered many issues revolving around HIV — from criminalization to disclosure to epidemiology and new discoveries in medicine and science.

Now he is writing a play about the effect of HIV on relationships and what it means to be HIV+ in America during the past decade, and he’s asking for real life stories from gay and straight men and women of all ages.

Here’s the project in Todd’s own words.

In addition to my love of investigative informative reporting, I have a deep seated love of theater. I have directed over 100 plays, written several pieces that have been produced in Michigan and other states, and I have won several awards for my acting. I recently met with the artistic director of a local professional theater company in Lansing and during our discussion, the idea of a play exploring the impact of HIV on relationships would be a fantastic piece of theater which would help people to understand what living with HIV in America in 2000′s is about.
As such, I am now soliciting stories from those living with HIV as well as those who have been touched by HIV.
  • Are you in a magnetic relationship?
  • How did you meet?
  • How did you disclose?
  • What were the reactions?
  • How does one partner being negative impact your relationship?
  • What do your friends and family think?
  • Have you faced criminal charges because of your HIV status? Why? When did it happen? What were the circumstances? What was the outcome?
These and other issues are important. Help me tell our stories! You can send your story to TellingHIVStories@gmail.com. You can do this with audio, video, or simply write your story out. Your name and identity will be protected and I will be the only one with access to your email address. Please make sure to put in your email a way for me to send follow up questions to you!

photo: Bill Ohi, used through creative commons

GOP’s Latest Embarrassments: Freshman Fundraiser and Sarah Palin

The Michael Steele trainwreck is a thing of the near past, and his misdeeds are now eclipsed by a double  wallop: An expensive fundraiser for GOP freshmen Congress people, and what at least is being speculated on as being a warming towards the LGBT community.

The GOP fundraiser designed to feather the nests of  GOP freshmen for the 2012 elections was conceived by incoming Rep. Jeff Denham of California, a two-time State Senator,  and features House Speaker-elect John Boehner on the invite– though the dandy-but-manly Orange Crush will not be attending the $2,500 per person ticket affair to be held at the W Hotel reports Politico. However lobbyists will be attending, along with political action committee members and other GOP supporters who will be gobbling the canapes. And some may even shell out for the $500K package that includes tickets for eight and a VIP suite at the W (was that hotel chosen to make the location easy to remeber or as a tribute to the two former presidents/POTUSES/POTI?).

Denham of course will benefit from the fundraiser since it helps fill his reelection coffers as well as those of the 86 other wet-behind-the-ears Congresspeople.  Denham has been working with the National Republican Congressional Committee to help raise dough for the newcomers and created a leadership PAC which funneled $100K to the NRCC. Only eleven newbies have joined the committee, and a number have declined the offer.

Wait, $2,500 aticket? That’s 2.5x higher than Nancy Pelosi’s 2008 freshman prom where tickets were $1000. Okay, yeah there’s the increased cost of living,  but seriously I didn’t think things were that out of control!  And aren’t the Republicans supposed to be all about austerity and stuff like government spending?  Oh, but it’s okay to spend a lot to get into government. I see…and granted  the GOP has proposed $35 million spending cuts in the Congressional budget, which will reduce staff size and office supplies, but still that

Well, what do you get for that ticket? A performance by that anti-GOP-envisioned family values singer LeAnn Rimes who recently performed a number of songs (including one in a sexy Santa outfit) with the Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles and earlier this year confessed to an extra-marital affair. Hey, maybe it’s the GOP’s way to lure more free thinkers and libertines into the Grand Old Party.

Several news sources (including my own local teevee channel KTLA which  has great coverage of car chases) have speculated that Sarah Palin may becoming more free thinking in her views of the LGBT community.  She retweeted the following message from openly lesbian NRA member and conservative commentator Tammy Bruce:

Bruce says she was not commenting on DADT, but rather tweeted this remark in response to the recently publicized videos shown aboard the USS Enterprise several years ago, made by now-recently-relieved-of-command Navy Capt. Owen Honors when he was aircraft carrier’s second-in-command. The videos included gay slurs, homoerotic shower scenes,  and really dumb bad acting by creepy Capt Honors himself.

(Side note: if the diversity-dishonoring Honors was second-in-command, how did the first-in-command feel about the videos? Why did he allow Honors to continue to make them? Isn’t that giving tacit okay on that attitude, and what has happened to him?).

Conservatives4Palin are making the case that Bruce’s tweet is more a comment on society and psychology than of stance on DADT, DOMA, ENDA and other LGBTQ issues.

The people Bruce is mocking are those on the right and the left who spend every waking hour of their day thinking about homosexuality. In the same way that someone is not necessarily anti-gay if he or she opposes repeal of DADT and civil unions, someone isn’t necessarily endorsing homosexuality if he or she supports repeal of DADT and civil unions.

Speaking of psychology, here’s a  clue for Conservatives4Palin: “Complaining about” is very different than “thinking about.”

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