Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Check Out Karl Rove's List Of Targeted 2008 House Races | TPMCafe

What a difference four years can make. In 2004, my district bucked the political tide, turning out a decades-long incumbent Republican in favor of Melissa Bean, a "centrist" Democrat. She held onto her seat in 2006, fending off a loony, somewhat self-financed right-winger in a race that started out as "one to watch" and ended up, if not a blowout, at least not a race anyone was tracking on election night.

Today we find Karl Rove's list of seats to defend and seats to try to win in 2008, and guess what? Four years after losing what was considered a solidly Republican seat, the GOP seems to be abandoning it in favor of trying to protect Peter Roskam's new throne in the 6th, where he had quite a battle before beating Tammy Duckworth.

This sure says something about the state of the Republican Party!

Idol Predictions, Round of Ten

An entertaining night, wasn't it? But not the best, vocally, which makes this tough. Despite her unexpected tenacity, I see Haley finally going home this week (but then, I said that last week, too). If not Haley, then who? Chris Richardson would be a good choice after being in the bottom two last week, but going last will save him from his own miserable vocals. Instead, the other Chris and Phil will join Haley in this week's bottom three. Or so I'm guessing. Sanjaya, you ask? After that hairdo, we may be seeing him in May!

Friday, March 23, 2007


Elizabeth Edwards' cancer. - By Sydney Spiesel - Slate Magazine

After reading the article above, I don't know how John and Elizabeth were able to remain so chipper yesterday. I know they have the resources to get the best possible care, but they have a tough road ahead. I wish them well. Anyone who doubted their resolve can have no doubt now. Win or lose--and I still don't see how they win--I think they have brought something special to the race, and I hope this setback only pushes them to make their case about the need for fundamental changes as compellingly as they can.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bad Call

"Idol" Results Show: Time Flies When You're Being Had

Well, it looks like those fifteen calls I made for Melinda should have been directed to Stephanie instead. I know she wasn't going to win, but she sure deserved better than 11th place. Further proof that where you finish within the top 12 has only the slightest correlation to your relative level of talent!

The link above provides a minute-by-minute rundown of the results show last night, commercials and all. As it makes clear, the show is pretty much one big ad with almost no content. Perhaps that's why we're able to watch it in just 15 minutes on the DVR--and spend part of that time ignoring it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Idol Predictions, Round of 11

Here we go again. While the pundit at MSNBC would have you believe that the departure of another boy tonight is inevitable, DialIdol--which showed a chink in its armor last week when Sanjaya was predicted to finish second and ended up in the bottom two--has a lot more girls than boys on its endangered list.

While I missed both bottom three members who got to stick around last week, I am standing pat and predicting, again, that Haley Scarnato and Gina Glocksen will be in the bottom three. They will be joined, sadly, by Stephanie Edwards, who chose a slow Dusty Springfield song ("You Don't Have to Say You Love Me") when a fast one ("Son of a Preacher Man") would have been perfect for her.

Common sense and the curse of going first will prevail, however, and Haley will finally go home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ending Early

the futon critic - the web's best primetime television resource

In the grand tradition of the British version of The Office comes this announcement:
EXTRAS (HBO) - Co-creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have confirmed the series will not return for its third season. The series nevertheless will be sent off with a special (a la "The Office") sometime in the future. No other specifics however were given.
This makes me sad, because the show really seemed to hit its stride in the second season. But if two seasons is all we can have, at least they were good ones. Here's hoping the final special sees romantic resolution for Andy and Maggie that's even more pronounced than the Tim-and-Dawn kiss that brought down the curtain on The Office.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ten Pack

HBO: Rome: Episode Guide: Summary: Season 2: Episode 21

Last night HBO showed the penultimate episode of one of the best shows on television, Rome. Amid all the squabbling over how to feed the people of Rome while Antony and Cleopatra horde their grain in Egypt, the characters managed to bring back one of the show's signature elements from season one: gratuitous sex.

It all served to advance the plot, though. Vorenus had a dream of Niobe, only to be jolted to reality by the bald Egyptian prostitute who had actually shared his bed for the night; we got a better picture of what's going on in his head. Antony and Cleopatra's violent, passionate romps elucidated the intense, destructive nature of their relationship. Pullo and Gaia's fleshy, grasping lovemaking seemed indicative of the secondhand quality of their pairing.

But all of that paled in comparison to the scene with Octavian and Livia. Simon Woods, who took up the role of Octavian for Max Pirkis when the character aged beyond Pirkis's range of believability, clearly gave up food in favor of sit-ups in preparation for this scene, which revealed a whole new set of abdominal muscles that have been heretofore known only to sculptors. To call him chiseled is to understate the case. Ahem...after a tense meeting between Octavian and his mother and sister, we find he and his wife alone. Pounding away at Livia like a jackhammer, Octavian slows down, and she slaps him. Steely eyed, he looks down at her; she slaps him again. Unperturbed, he carries on. The scene cuts to the end of this torrid session; Livia is on top now, her hands at Octavian's throat, apparently enhancing his orgasm by cutting off his oxygen supply.

What does this tell us about Octavian? Mostly that he's an odd duck, really, who gets off on a bit of S&M. The sex scene wasn't as illuminating as the pillow talk that followed, as Livia figured out Octavian's plan to deal with Antony while Octavian caught his breath post-coitus. But I have to mention this scene, because Simon Woods is incredible. I was very sad when I heard Max Pirkis would be leaving, but after last night's feast of flesh--Max who?

The series finale is next week. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Idol Predictions, Round of 12

I'm going to predict a bottom three and the person who will go home from now until the end of the contest. My predictions are based on own viewing of the show, opinions heard from others at work, DialIdol stats, and MSNBC polls about the contestants. They are NOT about who sang the best or the worst, but about who I think America will reward with the fewest votes.

Tonight, I expect to see Brandon Rogers, Gina Glocksen, and Haley Scarnato in the bottom three. Brandon will go home. Finally!

As for Sanjaya, I still predict he will last a while (in spite of bizarre hair, hoop earrings, and vocals unfit for the shower). How long? Let's go with longer than Alberto Gonzales will have a job...

Prairie Home Asshole

Fuck Garrison Keillor | Slog | The Stranger's Blog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper

I am beyond incensed to see Garrison Keillor's column in Salon today. Titled "Stating the Obvious," it starts out a paean to the olden days, like much of Keillor's writing, but quickly turns into a screed against gay parenting and gay marriage that plays on several stereotypes while managing to be incredibly hypocritical coming from Keillor, whose romantic history is not, shall we say, one of steady monogamy. Fortunately, Dan Savage has already posted a thorough--and thoroughly furious--reaction, linked above. Read it and I'm sure you'll agree with him that "What Keillor wrote today on Salon is every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter's 'faggot' joke about John Edwards and relies on the same set of cultural prejudices."

As for me, I'm considering cooking dinner tonight over the flames produced by my copy of Lake Wobegon Days. Where all the children are no doubt straight, right?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Small Potatoes

Pace won't apologize for 'gay' remarks - Military Affairs -

General Pace's comments about homosexuality are deplorable, of course, but should we really be surprised that he won't apologize? He thinks what he thinks; it's wrongheaded and cruel, but so are a great many things he and the administration he serves do. Have you heard him apologize for a senseless war that is killing and maiming young men and women who volunteered out of a sense of duty and honor and are instead being wasted in a vain effort to stabilize a region that clearly needs a chance to duke it out without our interference?

Sometimes self-determination means killing each other. We need to find a way to get off the oil that keeps pulling us back into every Middle East conflict so the Sunni and the Shia can work out a thousand years of differences on their own. If Peter Pace doesn't realize that he needs every man and woman willing to serve, whether gay or straight, in his armed forces to accomplish any of the myriad missions the American military currently has and will have in the future, that's only a minor error in judgment compared to the one he and Bush and Cheney continue to commit in Iraq.

UPDATE, 4:30 P.M.: As Andrew Sullivan points out, the times they are a-changin'. From John Warner, a Virginia Republican: "I respectfully but strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral." Reading those words, from that source, I nearly cried. The NBA dumped Tim Hardaway for his comments; Ann Coulter is being dropped from newspapers for hers. Isaiah Washington may be leaving the top scripted show on TV for his. We're still a punching bag for Republicans, as Mike points out in the comments--but maybe it isn't working anymore?

Friday, March 09, 2007


TestPattern : 'American Idol' tough to predict (SPOILERS)

So, Sanjaya is through to the top 12 on American Idol. And Sabrina went home, while the charming but talentless Haley Scarnato is moving to the big stage. For a week or two, at least.

Sabrina's departure is sad but understandable--there were five big belters, and the other four each did more to make their personalities stand out. Gina took the rocker mantle this week, Haley played the cutesy country card, and Sabrina was left out in the cold. (Antonella was so clearly out of her league she doesn't merit another word.)

Sanjaya's inclusion over Sundance, though--that's confusing. Beyond his teenager fan base--apparently at that age your ears aren't fully formed?--I think Sanjaya may have successfully played one of the flaws in Idol's voting system. When he showed off his hula skills on Tuesday, many around the country probably grimaced and didn't hear him mention that he lived in Hawaii for four years. But I immediately shouted, "That scheming little bastard! He's trying to get Hawaiians to vote for him!"

As we learned when Jasmine Trias made the top three, it takes a long time to eliminate contestants who have Hawaii behind them, because the state gets to vote alone, dialing into enough open lines that the busy signals that plague mainland voters are an island myth. If Sanjaya can claim the Hawaiian mantle, keep bringing the teenage vote, and bring in Indian votes as well, I can imagine him sticking around for weeks and weeks. Stephanie, Jordin, at least one Chris (probably Richardson), Haley, Brandon, Phil--I have no trouble at all imagining a scenario in which all six of them have gone home and Sanjaya is sharing the stage with Melinda, LaKisha, Blake, Chris, and Gina--and looking so ridiculous in comparison that the producers finally rig the vote and boot him. In short, say aloha to Sanjaya, top 12 member. It may be a while before we get to say aloha again.