Iran Boycotts Oscars Over “Innocence of Muslims”

Iran will not submit a film for Academy Award consideration because of  “an intolerable insult to the Prophet,” culture minister Muhammad Hosseini told INSA news.

The “insult” is the hideous piece of schlock filmmaking/BS propaganda The Innocence of Muslims which has provoked deaths, riots and unrest in the Middle East, as well as lawsuits in the United States.  A court in Los Angeles denied an actress’ request to have Google remove the film from YouTube.

Citing the failure of Academy Awards organizers to take a position on the incendiary footage,  Hosseini urged other Islamic countries to follow also boycott. Last year Iran won ran won its first Oscar in the best foreign language film category  with Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation.” According to Variety:

The country’s committee in charge of selecting Iran’s Oscar candidate had already picked helmer-scribe Reza Mirkarimi’s dramedy “A Cube of Sugar” — about a family wedding that turns into a funeral when a member of the groom’s family dies — for Oscar consideration.

By not submitting a film, Iran is kinda cutting off their nose to spite their face, as art and culture are often an ambassadors for goodwill which can open dialog (though obviously as seen by recent events, one asshole with a video camera and a computer can cause a world of pain).

Egypt and Libya may miss the deadline, which is October 1st, though Academy Award officials say the countries lack of entries is “probably not connected to political factors surrounding the Arab Spring.”

The Academy Awards ceremony, which airs February 24, is televised live in over 100 countries. So far no Muslim countries have stated they will block the ceremony’s broadcast.

Late Night: Finally Football Is Fun. Or At Least Entertaining.

 

 

 

Years ago, while visiting New York, I went on a date with a bestselling author who was um, connected. He took me to Da Silvano’s for lunch, and the the next night to a local Italian place where where the waiters called him Mr. Nick and there was no check at the end of the meal. During dessert, a young guy came up to him very worriedly and began discussing

That thing.

That thing I learned was the young guy’s football bookie bets–he owed a lot of money and wanted my date to help get some of the heat off him. Later I wanted to know how the bets were made, the technical stuff (the money is left in certain washing machines at certain laundromats), and how point spreads worked. Mr. Nick filled me in.

Last night’s Lingerie-League-rejects refereed game between the winning Seattle Sea Hawks and the favored Green Bay Packers threw the legal betting industry into a tizzy, as well as fans: President Obama tweeted

NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.

(And the coaches are really, really angry!)

Las Vegas bookmakers claim the scab ref’s winning call on the disputed touchdown

may have swung $150 million in bets worldwide.

Jeff Sherman, assistant manager at the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book, estimated that about $15 million was wagered in Nevada on the National Football League’s nationally televised Monday night game and the total worldwide handle — including offshore sportsbooks, those in Europe and illegal betting — was about $150 million.

KFI640-AM newsradio said it was close to

half-a-billion dollars

in bets that changed hands.

“There was more Packer money than Seattle money,” Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations at the Wynn Las Vegas, said in a telephone interview. “The $150 million is probably a right number taking everything into consideration. Whatever money it was, 100 percent of it shifted.”

Avello further told Business Week:

If you throw these guys [replacement officials] in there again next week, and we’ll see if people decide to take a break. I would like to see the regular refs come back. I think it would instill more confidence in the bettors.

The NFL referees, all 121 of them, who earn $149,000 a year each (compare that to salaries of players!), just want their guaranteed pensions, rather than to have their retirement funds converted into 401Ks which are vulnerable to the stock market. The NFL owners would also like to be able to remove poorly-performing refs and replace them. But given the bumbling calls the current pool of replacement refs are making, that idea seems really bad.

If these idiotic calls and major betting losses continue, the Puppy Bowl may make the prime time.

URGENT: Global Bacon Shortage Looms

Forget about the giant methane plumes spewing out of the Arctic and Greenland melting! There’s a pending global bacon shortage because of weather-related poor harvests. Pork production in Europe fell in 2011 and 2012, the British Pig Association stated. Pork prices in Europe could double in 2013. At cause:

Increased feed costs, an effect of poor harvests for corn and soybeans.

The decline in pork production is mirrored in the United States where severe drought has impacted crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the cost of soybeans and corn to go up, and pig farmers to cut herd size to control their operating losses.

photo: Wikipedia/creative commons

Saturday Night Live Leaks “Romney Videos”

 

Hell hath no fury like a sketch comedy show shunned. In his leaked fund-raising video, Mitt Romney told his supporters why he wouldn’t appear on the Saturday Night Live:

And– and there’s– I was asked to go on Saturday Night Live.  I– I did not do that in part because you– you wanna show that you’re fun and you’re a good person, but you don’t wanna– you– you also wanna be presidential.  And Saturday Night Live has the potential of– of looking slapstick and not– and not presidential.

Now NBC has released a sketch from SNL skewering Rmoney’s leaked video, featuring Jason Sudekis as the candidate, that paints Mittens as racist, out of touch, and hating the poor in a series of secretly recorded videos airing on Fox and Friends.

For good measure, SNL goofs on “Fox and Friends” Along with satirizing the hosts’ gig as Rmoney apologists, a series of fact checker corrections scroll at the end of the segment, including:

A wind turbine has never cut off the head of a pretty girl in a convertible…The Negro League is not ‘back and better than ever.’

 

HT: The Wrap

“West Wing” Cast Reunites for McCormack in Michigan Supreme Court Race

 

 

This video, reuniting the cast of The West Wing comes courtesy of the Bridget McCormack for Michigan Supreme Court campaign–McCormick is the sister of West Wing’s Mary McCormack who played the national security adviser to Martin Sheen’s President Josiah Bartlet. Sheen is featured, as are Lily Tomlin, Allison Janney,  Bradley Whitford and other favorite cast members.

While it highlights Bridget McCormack’s qualifications for the non-partisan judicial seat with rapid-fire, witty dialog, the video also points up a very important issue that McCormack wanted to emphasize:

The primary purpose of the video is to promote the nonpartisan section of the ballot, where the officially nonpartisan judicial races are listed.

McCormack said she was taken aback by the drop-off in voting from the top of the ticket — this year, the presidential contest — to the bottom where the nonpartisan races are listed. In the last 10 years, it has run from a quarter of all voters to nearly two in five.

There’s a shorter version of this four-minute video that leaves out McCormack’s pitch for bench focusing on the need to vote not only for the party tickets–whatever your party–but also the non-partisan sections. In Michigan and fourteen other states that’s where you’ll find propositions, judges and more. And while the shorter version doesn’t have an explicit message about McCormack’s qualifications–including  actress Mary McCormack’s character describing the candidate’s sister (herself)  as

whip-smart and incredibly hot.

Talk about meta.  The script for the video was written by Mary McCormack’s husband, and captures–as well as playfully satirizing–Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue. Sorkin was not involved in anyway with the production of the video which the candidate says will not be aired as a commercial.

 

Duh! Clint Eastwood’s GOP Comedy Routine Could Boost Movie’s Opening Weekend

The stunt presenter at the GOP convention was Clint Eastwood, who played a doddering, crotchety, ill-natured but loveable old coot talking to an empty chair. In the actor’s new movie, Trouble with the Curve which opens tomorrow, Eastwood plays a doddering, crotchety, ill-natured but loveable old coot who talks to baseball players.

It doesn’t take much of a stretch to realize that Eastwood saw the offer to appear before a national audience as major promotional opportunity for the father-daughter baseball story, which once again showcases Clint in the same light as his most recent roles in Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino  (doddering, crotchety, ill-natured but loveable old coot) and sort of like his doddering, crotchety, ill-natured but lovable young coot Philo Beddoe in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can, but opposite Amy Adams instead of an orangutan. Though they both have red hair.

(Turner Movie Classics saw an opportunity with Clint’s convention appearance and ran his spaghetti Westerns those whole weekend after the convention to capitalize on the the Empty Chair momentum, reminding us of what a crotchety young gunslinger he once was).

CNN’s The Wrap explains:

In an online survey conducted by ticket broker Fandango earlier this month, 61 percent of respondents said that they would be more inclined to see the film in the wake of his appearance with “the invisible Obama.” His occasionally rambling ant-Obama diatribe set off a storm of social media responses, most negative…

For potential filmgoers, it probably doesn’t hurt that the growling, obstinate crankiness displayed by aging baseball scout Gus in trailers and commercials for “Trouble With the Curve” doesn’t seem such much of a stretch for the 82-year-old Eastwood.

Eastwood made short work and corned beef out of his GOP appearance, telling Extra:

I figure if somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get.

#DEFENDTHEARTS: Graffiti Artist Will Take to the Skies to Protest Romney’s Art Elimination Plans

Mitt Romney said that if elected he’ll eliminate The National Endowment for the Arts, NPR and PBS. Acclaimed graffiti artist Saber–whose work was featured in two museum exhibitions, MoCA Los Angeles’s blockbuster “Art in the Streets”  and “Street Cred” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art–is designing a sky-high protest of Rmoney’s plans to gut the arts in America:

This extreme conservative has no appreciation for the arts or American culture, despite the fact that creative people are the backbone of this country. It’s time to fight back and prevent these publicly funded and uniquely American organizations from being eliminated. To do this, I’m going to use the same tactic that I used last year that successfully generated much press and attention in both the real and internet worlds: BY TAKING OVER THE SKIES.

Last year, to protest Los Angeles’ moratorium on murals Saber raised funds for five skywriting planes to deliver a message to the City Council and Mayor Villaragosa. The words

#ART IS NOT A CRIME

#END THE MURAL MORATORIUM

hung in the blue skies above city hall.

Here’s Saber’s plan:

For over an hour, a fleet of skywriters will circle a major US city (or cities, depending on the amount raised), using 250 characters to create provocative statements that are visible from 20+ miles away. By incorporating social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I will generate global attention and direct personal involvement from supporters of the Arts, at all levels. The more money that is generated the more I can extend this project to other cities.

*I NEED YOUR HELP to hire the fleet and document the taking over of the American skies. Don’t let Mitt Romney eliminate these programs that help define our American cultural experience and that are vital to our country’s future. #DefendTheArts

Saber is soliciting donations ranging from $75 to $99,000, and donors who contribute before 12:01am on Saturday, September 21 will receive a limited edition print.

Saber points out why art is important for America:

1.Stronger communities . . . University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.

2.Arts are an Industry . . . Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, promotes tourism, and advances our creativity-based economy.

3.Arts are an export industry . . . U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) grew to $64 billion in 2010, while imports were just $23 billion—a $41 billion arts trade surplus in 2010.

Saber also urges anyone interested in the arts in America to visit usa.arts.org to learn more about saving the arts.

 

H/T: CARTWHEEL

Feel Good Fast Food? Chick-fil-A Will “Cease Donating” to Anti-Gay Organizations

 

Oh goodie! Everyone now has a free pass to eat at the conservative Christian-founded Chik-fil-A, excepts vegans because there is no kale patty there. The fast-food company’s non-profit arm claims they have dropped their support of anti-gay groups in order to pursue the mighty dollar, worshiping Mammon and putting profits before the Chick-fil-A’s founding family principlesUm, no more like non-profits before the IRS. Let’s read between the lines here at this article from the Chicago Phoenix:

After months of negotiations with [Chicago] Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno over its anti-gay positions and donations, Chick-fil-A has agreed to cease donations from its non-profit charity to anti-gay organizations and issued a company-wide internal mandate calling for the equal treatment of all employees and customers.

WinShape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-A, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations — some classified hate groups — including Focus on the Family, according to The Civil Rights Agenda, which worked with Moreno and company executives in an advisory capacity as they negotiated to adopt new policies. Repeated attempts to confirm the information with Chick-fil-A have been unsuccessful….

The company outlined its shift in policy and practice in a letter addressed to Moreno (1st), who in July declared that he would block the popular fast food chain from opening a new location in his ward unless they changed their anti-gay policies. The letter, signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate reads, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” [emphasis mine]

So let’s see. The company was facing a difficult time expanding into Chicago. And will not be supporting political agendas. Giving money to groups that work to keep marriage equality off the ballot, or who work to defeat marriage equality at the ballot, is a political agenda.

Meanwhile the anti-marriage group National Organization for Marriage states that they have never received any funds form WinShape. The group which has campaigned heavily against marriage equality said in a statement form their president Brian Brown:

Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation donated money to our organization—this is false. The National Organization for Marriage has never received funding from them. We support Chick-fil-A’s philosophy that every person is treated with ‘honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender;’ and we will continue to endorse ‘Chick-fil-A Wednesdays’

Moreno, who made headlines this summer when he said he would seek to block Chick-fil-A opening in his ward, told the Chicago Tribune that Chick-fil-will issue a statement on non-discrimination.

Moreno said the statement will be included in a memo called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” to be distributed to all corporate employees and restaurant operators. The alderman said the memo will state the company’s commitment to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” It also would state that it is the company’s “intent … not to engage in political or social debates.”

The statement does not seem to cover employment discrimination. Since 20o2 the privately-held corporation has been sued at least twelve times for discrimination.  While Chick-fil-A spokespeople didn’t return calls from reporters, it has not contested Alderman Moreno’s statements.

Over at our sister page, Pam’s House Blend, Pam Spaulding wonders

how the  all of those people who lined up for the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and spewed bible-beating homophobia to justify the corporation’s open support for hate groups (insisting it was really just about ‘free speech” opposing marriage equality)…

 feel about the company now. The bottom line is at the corporate level , Chick-Fil-A realized institutionalized homophobia is bad for business.

And I wonder if NOM will quietly disband Chick-fil-A Wednesdays. But how can you keep filk away after they’d had waffle fries?

Late Night: The Dumbing of America

 

This song by Randy Newman is a parody. Not the funniest parody, not super satirically biting, and minus the images, it looses a lot. But sadly there are a number of commentors on YouTube that just don’t get that.  Is America getting stupider? Both Clint “I figure if somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get” Eastwood and Rick Santorum seem to think a large percentage is.

 

 

BARF! Protestors Puke at TransPacific Partnership Talks

 

Barf! Puke! Vomit! The top secret TransPacific Partnership talks in Leesburg, Virginia made the Biotic Barf Brigade sick, so they spewed their outrage regurgitating at the Lansdown Hotel on Thursday where the free trade talks were being held. Frankly, the hotel’s carpet would make me throw up no matter what event was on. At first I thought the huge lime green stripes down the purple rug were actually the Biotic Barf Brigade’s stomach contents. Seriously, time to redecorate.

The timely chymesters were evicted by sickened security. Later security had to remove actress Q’orianka Kilcher who helped  deliver

over 350,000 protest signatures to an official with the US Trade Representatives negotiating the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

Kilcher was arrested for trespassing. Before her arrest she stated:

The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and it is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content, because these agreements would never see the light of day if US citizens and congress were allowed to see what is being proposed in our names. While hundreds of corporate advisors have access to the information contained within these documents, the American public, the media and even members of congress do not. This sort of secrecy is highly undemocratic and is a complete disregard of all the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution to avoid exactly this sort of thing.

The Biotic Barf Brigade and petition delivery were part of a week long series of protests and activism opposing the TPP, who claim that the trade agreement would imperil access to generic drugs in Third World and developing nations, weaken food safety regulations, and destroy natural resources. Proponents state that the TPP would protect international copyrights and intellectual property. Protestors are also disgusted by the secrecy surrounding the talks.

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