Archive for February, 2009

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The End of America

February 11, 2009

note: This website is undergoing a re-organization and will be idle
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The New Opposition: Republicans Take Minority Role in Two-Party System

February 5, 2009

alex wAlex W    header

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The Republicans are suddenly worried about spending our grandchildren into inherited poverty, but why the sudden change of rhetoric? Are they getting back to their small government roots, or are they just in a position to complain now that they’re in the minority? The Republicans have taken the role of the opposition minority party and so far, it seems like they’re much better at it than the Democrats.

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Che, Part Two-Reviewed

February 5, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 more  in HUMOR   read all posts by Kevin Egan
 

 

 

 

 

 

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At the end of Che, Part One, viewers were left with quite a cliffhanger. After Castro (Demian Bichir) fell to his death in a field of vines and every enemy of Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Benecio Del Toro) had been eliminated through violent means, our protagonist had been dubbed heir to the thrown, while simultaneously shutting out his wife from his affairs. It was an unsettling moment as the door was closed so forcefully in her face. Still, we loved the Guevaras and desperately desired to see more of them. With Che, Part Two, director Steven Sodenbergh pulls no punches, giving us viewers the family epic we had been waiting for. Saturated with plot twists, celebrity cameos (Adam Sandler as Batista) and endings upon endings upon endings, this sequel supercedes the possibilities already established by other films, taking us into unexplored territories.

enecio Del Toro as Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the comedic romp, Che, Part Two.

enecio Del Toro as Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the comedic romp, Che, Part Two.

Part Two begins exactly where Part One left off, except this time around, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) returns to the present time to warn Che about his troubling children and the havoc they are wreaking in the future. This catapults Che on another wacky adventure, outsmarting his old nemesis, Biff (Thomas F.Wilson), and rescuing his family from danger. Then, once Che believes he is clear of all hijinks, an apparition of his mentor, Ben (performed elegantly by the late Alec Guinness) appears, instructing him to go to the Degoba system, to study with an old Jedi master named “Yoda.” While Che follows this path outlined for him by his old friend, his children find themselves in trouble once more, except this time it comes in the form of a shark. Luckily for them, a desperate-for-any-kind-of-work Michael Caine (as himself) shows up to help them in their struggle.

Just like in Part One, Del Toro is again magnificent in the triple roles of Guevara, his wife and his ornery grandfather. And although the “fat suit” he wears through the second half of the film will most likely earn the make-up team an Oscar nomination, it is what Del Toro does with the suit that one finds most appealing. His ability to conjure up deep and funny voices for all three of the characters, as well as contort his face to provide the most comic expressions, is a skill unrivalled in the cinema today. Robert DeNiro himself could do no better.

Without giving too much away in regards to the ending, Che, Part Twoborrows from the classic comedy, Clue, offering multiple endings, each shown separately, depending on which theatre you attend. If you’re like me, you’ll see it more than once, hitting every theatre in town, for no other reason than to ensure you catch all the unbelievable ways in which Che’s fate hangs in the balance. This one’s a keeper!

4 out of 5 stars.  Bring the kids!!!

 

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Putting War Waste on the Chopping Bloc

February 5, 2009

By David Swanson header

In the ordinary course of things in Washington, D.C., and on television, there are two separate conversations. In one conversation, everything that the government spends money on (schools, transportation, police, etc.) must be trimmed back to save money. In the other conversation, the expenses of wars and the military must be unquestioned. After what he said this week on ABC, it will be interesting to see whether Congressman Barney Frank is permitted on television anymore. He combined the two conversations. 

After a right-winger proposed more tax cuts to “stimulate” the economy and denounced any spending programs as not being “stimulus,” Frank pointed out that the largest spending program we’ve seen is the war on Iraq. Host George Stephanopoulos clearly felt the force of some galactic wind about to suck him into a different dimension in which the two conversations are permitted to overlap. He jumped in and said “That is a whole ‘nother show.” But Frank faced the taboo head-on, saying: 

“No it isn’t. That’s the problem. The problem is that we look at spending and say oh don’t spend on highways, don’t spend on healthcare, but let’s build cold war weapons to defeat the Soviet Union when we don’t need them, let’s have hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars going to the military without a check. Unless everything is on the table then you’re going to have a disproportionate hit in some places.”

Late last year, Frank proposed cutting the military by 25 percent. When I spoke with his chief of staff, he told me that he thought 10 percent could come from ending the occupation of Iraq. So, Frank is apparently thinking of the military and war budgets as a whole and proposing to cut a quarter, with 15 percent coming out of the standard military budget. “If we are going to get the deficit under control without slashing every domestic program, this is a necessity,” Frank said. Now, I’ll be the first to point out that 25 percent is grotesquely insufficient, and that there is a perverse sort of unstated public apology here, in that Frank led the charge to throw $700 billion at Wall Street tycoons and has sat by as trillions more has flown out that golden door without any pretense of oversight. But when someone in power gets something right, our focus should be on moving it forward, not analyzing the purity of heart of a politician. 

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Iceland on the Brink

February 5, 2009

The Independent   header
Two years ago, Iceland was top of the UN living index. Now it is in the frontline of the global economic crisis after the failure of its banks, reports Sophie Morris in Reykjavik.

s-iceland-largeJust a few short years ago, Iceland had much to be proud of. The good times were rolling so fast that one expected the country’s almost round-the-clock summer daylight to last all year. Business was booming, society overfed, and the capital, Reykjavik, was in vogue as a travel destination for rich revellers, gastronomes and culture lovers.

Iceland is a country of dramatic natural beauty: lunar landscapes, spouting geysers, sheer glaciers and craggy volcanic rock formations; an impressive but inhospitable isle floating in mid-Atlantic isolation. When, in 2007, it topped the UN’s Human Development Index for its high standard of living, literacy and life expectancy, the tiny community of 310,000 felt they had proved their educated, hard-working and resilient character on an international scale.

The previous year, America had abandoned its long-standing naval air station at Keflavik. Symbolically, the move set Icelanders free from more than seven centuries of foreign domination, first as a Norwegian and then a Danish colony, and for the past 65 years, less formally, under the wing of the US.

“The Vikings” had risen again, and this is the admiring title the country bestowed upon the small group of aggressive businessmen whose high-risk investing bloated the island’s economy to 10 times its GDP, buying up chunks of the British and Continental European high streets in the process. French Connection, Debenhams, Karen Millen, Oasis, Warehouse, Mappin & Webb, Hamleys and many more fell into Icelandic ownership. So did West Ham United football club. When Icelanders visited Copenhagen, they would strut into its smartest department store to buy expensive fashions from “their” shop. Like many British chains, it too was owned by the “Viking” Jon Asgeir Johannesson’s Baugur group: one in the eye for the mother country.

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VALENTINE’S FOR PALESTINE

February 4, 2009

video by John Harrison. 
Visit the official VALENTINES FOR PALESTINE website:

The show in downtown LA will be held at the Lost Souls Café on Thursday February 12thAfter the LA show, pieces will be permanently displayed in the Arts & Crafts Village in Gaza City 

Submit donated work to:
124 W. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

for additional info, email: ValentinesforPalestine@gmail.com

Many thanks to Bambu for giving us permission to use his song “When Will The Time Come”. Visit his site:

http://www.bambu.la

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“Advertisements for Herself: Come Back, Not-So-Little Sheba”

February 4, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
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No one understood why a decade or so ago, “Sheba,” not her real name, subsequently herein known as “She,” gladly tossed aside her barely scuffed 27 pairs of second-hand cowgirl boots and tottered away from her vaguely glamorous if sodden dream-job of two decades as a professional, um, mainstream journalist, profiling more than 1.2 thousand of the most famous of American celebrities, Oprah included, in an award-winning nationally syndicated magazine interview column praised by some deluded Podunk media maven for her “ability to go up the aorta and into the ego.”

Only now, nearly but not quite completely recovered from her ensuing dissolute downward spiral of booze, drugs, pretty boys, whips, chains, Ben-Wah Balls, capsicum nipple paint, intermittent hooking, petty theft of rare Fifties flea market finds, compulsive fellatio, Pizza binges, Margarita orgies, filthy public poetry performances, sordid swing and swap scenes, bulimia, rampant hypochondria, fetishizing rejection and abuse as sexual foreplay, stalking, lascivious solo shows at the Fringe Festival, exorbitantly witty phone sex banter, garden-variety exhibitionism, and general self-indulgence and excess in the name of art, can She reclaim the books She wrote during that troubled, dissolute decade and offer them to the world for possible publication.

Hard to believe, but, all her life, or at least up until then, She actually believed She was well-balanced. Silly gurl! How could She be the last to discover She probably suffered from a maladaptive emotional syndrome known as “Hysteroid Dysphoria”? Meaning, someone pathetically obsessed with being the center of attention through any means possible: lurid language, loud clothing, intrusive laughter, exotic jewelry, excessive cleverness, peculiar-looking male companions, bitchy whining, aberrant sexuality, weirdly human pets, spellbound hangers-on, you name it.

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