Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gender convergence

Reported yesterday in the NYTimes:
Now experts who shared their latest research at a conference this month say that far from reverting to more traditional sex roles, women and men are becoming more alike in their attitudes toward balancing life at home and at work.

The gender revolution is not over, they say, it has just developed into “gender convergence.”


But filmmakers and film critics are still living in the past.
What (the film "Knocked Up") does feel is honest: about love, about sex, and above all about the built-in discrepancies between what men and women expect from each other and what they are likely to get.

Apparently A.O. Scott doesn't read the rest of the NYTimes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bush's amazing achievement

By Jonathan Freedland From the New York Review of Books

One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bush: I am the dictator

Bush is making a power grab that is so incredible, even the right-wingers are upset.

And if you don't think the Bush gang will come up with some excuse to use the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive to their advantage, you obviously haven't been paying attention.

Excerpt/analysis:

The directive assigns sole power to the executive branch of government.

"The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination."

"The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate. The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive."

"The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency."

"Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies."

more analysis at SourceWatch.org

Times like these call for a little levity - from Whitehouse.ORG:
Transcript of President's Call Reaffirming His Faith in the Competence of America's Alzheimer's Ravaged Attorney General

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Spike's poem

Just because...
My soul is wracked in harsh repose
Midnight descends in raven colored clothes
But soft, behold! A sunlight beam
Cutting a swath of glimmering gleam
My heart expands, 'tis grown a bulge in't,
Inspired by your beauty effulgent


Watch it read by James Marsters here

The next poem he is going to read "The Wanton Folly of Me Mum" refers to his vamping then staking his mother (in flashback) in the episode "Lies My Parents Told Me" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

John Ashcroft - civil libertarian???

I never thought I'd read a story in which the hero turns out to be John Ashcroft.

The hospital visit by Mr. Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., who was then White House chief of staff, has been disclosed before, but never in such dramatic, personal detail. Mr. Comey’s account offered a rare and titillating glimpse of a Washington power struggle, complete with a late-night showdown in the White House after a dramatic encounter in a darkened hospital room — in short, elements of a potboiler paperback novel.

Mr. Comey related his story to the committee, which is investigating various aspects of Mr. Gonzales’s tenure as Attorney General, including the recent dismissals of eight United States attorneys and allegations that applicants for traditionally nonpartisan career prosecutor jobs were screened for political loyalties.

Although Mr. Comey declined to say specifically what the business was that sent Mr. Gonzales to the bedside of Mr. Ashcroft in George Washington University Hospital, where he lay critically ill with pancreatitis, it was clear that the subject was the National Security Agency’s secret domestic surveillance program. The signature of Mr. Ashcroft or his surrogate was needed by the next day, March 11, in order to renew the program, which was still secret at that time.

Since the existence of the program was disclosed by The New York Times in late 2005, it has been reported that it was the subject of a tense debate at the highest levels of the Bush administration, with some officials concerned that the program was not adequately supervised, and others having more fundamental worries.

Around the time of the hospital incident, the White House suspended parts of the program for several months and imposed tougher requirements on the National Security Agency on how the program was to be used.Mr. Comey told the committee today that when Mr. Ashcroft was ill and he was in charge at the Justice Department, he told the White House he would not certify the program again “as to its legality.”

On the night of March 10, as he was being driven home by his security detail, he got a telephone call from Mr. Ashcroft’s chief of staff, who had just been contacted by Mr. Ashcroft’s wife, Janet.

Although Mrs. Ashcroft had banned visitors and telephone calls to her husband’s hospital room, she had just gotten a call from the White House telling her that Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales were on their way to see her husband, Mr. Comey testified. “I have some recollection that the call was from the president himself, but I don’t know that for sure,” Mr. Comey said.

He said his security detail then sped him to the hospital with sirens blaring and emergency lights flashing, while he telephoned the director of the F.B.I., Robert S. Mueller 3d, from the car. Mr. Mueller shared his sense of urgency: “He said, ‘I’ll meet you at the hospital right now,’ ” Mr. Comey testified.

When he got to the hospital, Mr. Comey recalled, “I got out of the car and ran up — literally, ran up the stairs with my security detail.”

“What was your concern?” asked Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who was the chairman of today’s committee session.

“I was concerned that, given how ill I knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that,” Mr. Comey replied.

Mr. Comey recalled arriving at the darkened hospital room, where Mr. Ashcroft seemed hardly aware of his surroundings. For a time, only Mr. Comey and the Ashcrofts were in the room. Meanwhile, Mr. Mueller, who had not yet arrived, told Mr. Comey’s security detail by phone “not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances,” Mr. Comey testified.

Minutes later, he said, Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card entered the room, with Mr. Gonzales carrying an envelope. “And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there, to seek his approval for a matter,” Mr. Comey related.

“And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me,” Mr. Comey went on: He raised his head from the pillow, reiterated his objections to the program, then lay back down, pointing to Mr. Comey as the attorney general during his illness.

In the NYTimes

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sheplers on my shitlist

For several years I bought my cowgirl boots from Sheplers. But no more - I finally realized that their "western wear" includes "rebel" merchandise which features that emblem of slave-owning pride, the Confederate flag.

I told them to take me off their email mailing list since I'm a patriotic American - so instead they put me on their catalogue list and I received one of the catalogues the other day. So now - it's on!

Time to boycott Sheplers.


What the fashion-conscious asshole is wearing this season.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The re-emergence of Social Darwinism in the 21st century

In the NYTimes
Some of these thinkers have gone one step further, arguing that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances.

“I do indeed believe conservatives need Charles Darwin,” said Larry Arnhart, a professor of political science at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, who has spearheaded the cause. “The intellectual vitality of conservatism in the 21st century will depend on the success of conservatives in appealing to advances in the biology of human nature as confirming conservative thought.”

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's a miracle!

The NYTimes will now have TWO FEMALE OP-ED COLUMNISTS!!!!

Gail Collins may not be a Katha Pollitt, Anna Quindlen, or Barbara Ehrenreich, but at least there's now a Sassy Smurf to join catty Smurfette Maureen Dowd in the Times op-ed hive colony.

And here it is only the 7th year of the 21st century!

Another evil director thwarted

My friend Valerie is producing her own play and engaged a director who gave her a contract - as the producer, she should have given HIM a contract - and the contract included a clause that claimed "property rights." When she told me about it, I immediately told her to have the Dramatists Guild look at the contract. She did and, they took out all that SSDC-trying-for-a-director's-copyright crap and, although the director had tried to play it like it was his way or the highway, he signed it.

NO American playwright should sign ANY director's contract without having it vetted by the DG. The SSDC - Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers - is on a mission to turn the theatre world into a duplicate of the film world, where directors are gods and writers are nothing. And their lawyers were SUCH assholes to us during our trial last year - perhaps they thought they could intimidate us by insulting us in the hall after our court appearances, but they were dead wrong.

The SSDC must be forced to back down every single time they try to steal property rights away from a writer - and the Dramatists Guild is just the organization to do it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The B Word


An excerpt from my play THE B WORD is online, along with excerpts from 8 other plays from the recent NYCPlaywrights Spring Reading Fundraiser. Check it out.