The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OMG, My 82-Year-Old Mother Just Friended Me On Facebook!


What do you do when your 82-year-old Jewish mother from Long Island sends you a friend request on Facebook? My first instinct is to take my laptop up to the roof and toss it off the building like an oversized Frisbee. Quickly. And cancel my Internet service. And never look back. My second instinct is to simply click "accept" and hope for the best.

So I wonder now just what my Facebook relationship with mom is going to look like. Will I be receiving embarrassing status updates like, "Mildred is rinsing her dentures now?" Or, "Mildred just had a nice glass of tea?" Or maybe I'm going to be invited to her senior citizen's rec-room parties, or be forced to read the results of her "Which Sex Symbol Am I" test. Oy.

Here's a very funny, and highly appropriate, video making the 'net rounds. It's about Twitter and why it's perfect for Jewish mothers. Perhaps it'll now apply to my Facebook life as well. Yeah, ma, I'm wearing my sweater......

Why Robert Harris's NY Times Pro-Polanski Op-Ed is an Offensive, Self-Serving Disgrace


Like many in Hollywood and throughout the rest of the entertainment world, novelist Robert Harris has raced to the defense of child-rapist and international fugitive Roman Polanski, his pal and creative collaborator. In his NY Times op-ed piece Wednesday, "Why Arrest Roman Polanski Now?," Harris desperately attempts, as have so many others in the past several days, to create a mind-numbing smokescreen around the central issue of this case: that an innocent, defenseless, drugged and alcohol-plied 13-year-old was sexually violated in every orifice of her body. A despicable act which is very clearly prohibited by very specific law.

Harris's piece is both utterly infuriating in its cavalier and self-serving presentation, and shameful in how blatantly he shows zero regard for America's rule of law. There is so much wrong with his arguments that I will tackle them one-by-one:

Harris begins with: "...His past did not bother me, any more (presumably) than it did the three French presidents with whom he has had private dinners, or the hundreds of actors and technicians who have worked with him since 1977, or the fans who come up to him in the streets of Paris for his autograph."

French presidents? Is he kidding? Middle-aged Frenchmen accept and forgive Polanski's sexually deviant behavior and that's a defense? Perhaps Harris would welcome support from Italy's scandal-plagued, teenage-girl-chasing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi too? Are we really to let Polanski off Scot-free because movie people like him? Or because fans seek his autograph? Perhaps Harris has never witnessed the throngs of idiots who still drool all over O.J. Simpson as if he's America's former football hero instead of the brutal monster who butchered two people. And this may come as a shock to Harris: America's judicial system couldn't give a rat's ass whether certain criminal behavior bothers you or not.

Harris then asks, "Why now?" To which I reply, why the fuck not? The argument that he's been allowed to roam free for 30 years, therefore he should be allowed to stay free is moronic. Just because some lame-ass law-enforcement authorities had their collective thumbs up their asses for three decades does not give Polanski a get out of jail free card. Should we not arrest Nazi war criminals because they've been living in Argentina for 65 years and might be "liked" by their neighbors? Who cares when justice ultimately gets served, as long as it gets served. Let's keep things in perspective here: the Los Angeles DA's office has not committed any crimes. Polanski has.

Also on the "why now" front, Harris contradicts himself when he claims authorities have ignored Polanski since 1978, but then cites five occasions--1978, 1986, 1988, 2005, and 2007--where vigorous attempts were made to arrest him. While Polanski's crime was despicable, I would suspect that from a priority and resource standpoint, no one expected it to be a "red-hot manhunt" as Harris states it should've been if the case was so important. Still doesn't excuse the crime or create a basis for not continuing to pursue the criminal.

Harris then points to a 2008 documentary by Marina Zenovich, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," as the likely reason the Polanski case, and the pursuit, became hot again. Again I ask, who cares what the reason is, or when that reason surfaced? In fact, documentaries are supposed to provoke thought and raise awareness on the issues they cover. That's exactly their reason for being. The irony is, according to Harris unwittingly, that it perhaps took a filmmaker to bring Polanski to justice when for 30 years inept lawmakers could not.

Another misguided element in Harris's defense of Polanski is that his victim, the now-45-year-old Samantha Greimer, wants the case dropped and forgotten. As psychologists will tell us, there is a very twisted dynamic that often occurs between victim and victimizer. Greimer, at 13, was in no position to reconcile this horrific act. And it's likely had a profoundly negative affect on her throughout her adult life, which may be exactly why she needs to sweep this painful memory under the rug instead of having the self-confidence to demand justice for the man who stole her innocence. I ask Harris, should we also let kidnapper/rapist Phillip Garrido go free because his victim, Jaycee Lee Dugard, after 18 years of sexual imprisonment, might bizarrely have some affection for the man who fathered her children and who her children believe is their daddy? In America, we don't let victims decide when our laws are enforced.

One of Harris's more outrageous, infuriating statements is: "I make no apology for feeling desperately sorry for him. The almost pornographic relish with which his critics are retelling the lurid details of the assault (strange behavior, one might think, for those who profess concern for the victim) make it hard to consider the case rationally. Of course what happened cannot be excused, either legally or ethically."

Nice logic here. So, the guy who commits disgusting, unlawful sexual acts on a child is not lurid and pornographic, but those who report on it are? And then he adds insult to injury by saying "what happened cannot be excused" after he devotes almost a half-page column to doing just that.

Let me try to explain to Harris why journalists and bloggers recount in vivid, "lurid" detail how Polanski's middle-aged predatory penis found its way into a drugged and alcohol-plied Greiner's mouth, vagina and anus: because the sexual violation of a child by an adult is such a sick, twisted, perverted, unconscionable, inexcusable abuse. We write about the "pornographic details" to remind everyone, especially insensitive, clueless twits like you, of just how horribly violated this poor child was by Polanski. Perhaps if you think it's so awful to read about such details you might want to rethink your defense of the creep who committed them.

Harris ends his convoluted diatribe by claiming Polanski is a "doting father" who's children "want him home." I'm sure O.J.'s kids want him home too. Again I should remind Harris that in America we don't let children decide the judicial fates of their law-breaking "doting" dads.

In his closing line, Harris smugly quotes the Romans: "So cui bono," or, "who benefits?" The criminal justice system benefits, as does every single child who can feel some comfort and security that we still have laws that protect them from sexually-perverted adult predators who seek to horrifically abuse them.

The simple truth is, Roman Polanski is a pedophile, which is defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as someone with a sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object. There is nothing is this definition that mitigates this behavior. Nothing regarding how often the adult has sex with a child; whether or not the mother was negligent; how long ago the crime occurred; or whether the sexual abuser has any Oscars for filmmaking. Polanski's a pedophile and a fugitive, and it's time, after 30 years, that he finally face justice.

It is outrageously offensive to see the outpouring of support for Polanski from the world's elite artist-class. Are there two sets of laws according to these people? One for artists and another for everyone else? And are we supposed to be influenced by what these apologists have to say in trivializing Polanski's despicable acts, especially Woody Allen, who married the girl who was basically his own stepdaughter after raising her since childhood? Shame on them all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski Must Finally Be Brought to Justice


Roman Polanski 76, is a very famous man, and sometimes for having experienced unfathomable tragedy. Though he escaped Poland during the Nazi occupation, his mother was killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. In 1969 his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was butchered at the savage hands of Charles Manson's murderous disciples.

Polanski's also known great success as the brilliant director of several acclaimed films including "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown." But let's be very, very clear about one thing: none of the above has anything to do with the fact that he raped a 13-year old child, nor should his life experiences be used, as some are suggesting, to excuse this despicable act and keep him from being extradited to the United States from Switzerland, where he was arrested days ago, and ultimately jailed.

Back in 1977, the then-44-year-old Polanski pleaded guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor", 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. He was sent for psychiatric evaluation and released after a 42-days, after which he fled to France fearing imprisonment. He's had an arrest warrant outstanding since 1978.

I'm sorry, but it should not matter how horrifically he or his family has suffered; how talented he is; how much time has passed; or who has "forgiven" him, as his now-45-year-old victim has done publicly. He's an admitted rapist; an on-the-lam coward who's thumbed his nose at the law for over thirty years.

Is there really any debate here? Are there really two sides to this story? He raped a child, for Pete's sake. He plied her with drugs, alcohol, and sodomized her. This was not "consensual sex," as a 13-year-old is neither old enough or mature enough to engage in such acts. In America we have laws against 44-year-old men drugging and raping little children. It's absolutely unconscionable that anyone would imply that his cinematic accomplishments should be reason to cut him slack. How dare they. It's time that Polanski pay the price for what he's done. And, he should now serve even more time for fleeing our criminal justice system. The ultimate message from this case cannot be, "make some great films and we'll let you rape kids without punishment."


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sensing Imminent Defeat, DeLay Redistricts "Dancing" Judges


I used to think former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was batshit crazy. Now, cha-cha-cha'ing around the "Dancing with the Stars" stage as he maniacally lip-synchs "Wild Thing," I'm utterly convinced. The Hammer is certifiably insane. As his Republican colleague Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fl) said, "Doing the cha-cha, it was like a bad car accident. You want to look away but you can't."

But DeLay's smart enough to realize he has zero chance of winning this season's competition, and has taken control of the situation by gerrymandering the judges table and removing the colorful Roberto Benigni sound-alike Bruno Tonioli, who labeled DeLay's performance "half magic, half tragic," telling Texas's dancing fool "You're crazier than Sarah Palin!" He's had Tonioli replaced with ex-American Idol judge Paula Abdul, who can find something to love about anyone, even angry, arrogant, corrupt, polarizing, hate-mongering partisan dictators like DeLay. The Hammer's also maneuvering to oust Len Goodman and have Palin installed in the judges seat instead. Palin is no stranger to dance. She's been side-stepping reality since she entered politics.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama's Sunday Morning Message to the Fox Network and Chris Wallace: "Oh You Can Dance, Allright, Just Not at My Party"


President Barack Obama went on a media blitz Sunday morning, doing five consecutive, brilliantly choreographed interviews on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Univision, while snubbing the Fox Network's "Fox News Sunday" with host Chris Wallace. This is the same Fox Broadcasting Network that chose to air the reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" instead of Obama's health-care-reform speech September 9th. What goes around, comes around, huh?

Seems Wallace didn't take the snub lightly, whining to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly Friday evening about the Obama administration, which apparently has gotten under his not-so-thick skin:

"They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington. They constantly are on the phone, or emailing me complaining, well, you had this guest. Or you did this thing. I mean, they are working the umps all the time. I think it works for the others. It doesn't work with me."

Normally, Wallace does a decent job of containing his partisan leanings, but I guess this rejection was simply too large for the ego to ignore publicly. It's understandable, and to be expected, for various Fox personalities to lash out at Obama and Democrats. But for Wallace to imply that the Obama team is any tougher on the media than, say, the Bush administration, is an absolute joke. No one controlled the message and the audience better than Karl Rove; no president spoke less to the media, or derided them when he did, more than Dubya; and no administration operated under a bigger veil of secrecy than the Bushies. I guess for Wallace, it just seems worse when you're no longer at the head of the table.

So here's my advice to Wallace: next time the president of the United States of America gives a prime time address to a joint session of Congress on a critical issue, ya might want to convince the execs to run it instead of some mindless reality show. Then maybe when Obama throws another party you'll get invited. The truth is, Obama didn't need the right-wing fanatics to win the election, and he certainly doesn't need them to pass health care or push through any other of his critical domestic or foreign policies (he just needs some cajones). If these folks, and the Fox Network, wish to marginalize themselves and extract themselves from the debate, that's their choice. Obama's message to them Sunday morning was clear: I don't need you either.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Acorn Vote: House Democrats Just Stuck a Knife in their President and Party


Watch CBS Videos Online

The Republican attack machine has been on a relentless mission to destroy ACORN, short for the Association for Community Organization and Reform Now, ever since the 2008 election campaign when conservatives saw it as an effective fundraising and get-out-the-vote group for Democrats and then-candidate Barack Obama. Rabid, inflammatory-rhetoric-fueled charges of inappropriate and illegal conduct have been flying ever since, especially as videotapes have recently surfaced showing ACORN workers advising alleged pimps and prostitutes on how to conceal their criminal behavior during the home-buying process.

On Thursday the GOP got its wish, landing a big step closer to "Mission Accomplished," as House Democrats folded like a bunch of $2 lawn chairs and voted under intense Republican pressure to cut off federal funding to ACORN, which had received roughly $53-million over the last 15 years.

The intensely harsh criticism by the right of the community group heated up ever since its sting operation, in which conservatives posing as the cartoonishly-dressed, Huggy Bear-lookin' Mack Daddies and their ho's, walked into a couple of ACORN offices and sought help in buying houses to operate their brothels filled with under-aged hookers. Clearly, the ACORN workers' behavior, caught on tape, is despicable and worthy of discipline and perhaps prosecution. But it's also comical, since you'd think any idiot could've realized how staged this all seemed. Unfortunately though, what it did do was give the GOP House and Senate thugs the smoking gun they needed to begin bringing down this important group.

It's important to note that what we're talking about here with these videotapes are two very isolated incidents of clear unethical and/or possible criminal behavior. Additionally, there's been a few cases nationally of ACORN workers illegally registering non-existent voters. But that's it. In comparison to all the good this organization does, the House's action Thursday, specifically the role played by the Democratic majority, is shameful.

According to its website, ACORN serves "low-and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities across the country...ACORN members across the country work to raise the minimum wage or enact living wage policies; eliminate predatory financial practices by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and tax preparation companies; win the development of affordable housing and community benefits agreements; improve the quality of and funding for urban public schools; rebuild New Orleans; and pass a federal and state ACORN Working Families Agenda, including paid sick leave for all full time workers...Our issue campaign victories have delivered approximately $15 billion in direct monetary benefits to our membership and constituency over the past 10 years...Since 2004, ACORN has helped more than 1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to register to vote."

In the above context, eliminating federal funding of this important grassroots organization seems unjustified and excessive, and is surely a spineless knee-jerk reaction to political pressure from the right, which seeks to undermine Democrats and the Obama administration at every turn. Which is why it's truly incredible that Democrats aided in this travesty.

But here's why Thursday's funding vote is most troublesome. Firstly, it says to all Democrats that they're still afflicted with the abused-wife syndrome where, no matter how much power voters give them, no matter how big a majority they have, they're still gonna allow Republicans to bully them into voting against their own self-interests. Can you imagine the GOP doing this five years ago when it controlled both Houses of Congress? To the contrary, Republican thugs back then did whatever it could to attain and retain power. When former House Majority Leader Tom Delay didn't like the way voting had been going in certain parts of his home state Texas, he redrew the district lines which served to ensure future Republican victories. Would Delay have ever joined with the minority party to cut off funding to an organization that supposedly benefited Republicans? My God, just what the fuck is wrong with Democrats these days?

Next, and most important, it provides further ammo to the 'community organizer Nazi's' who denigrate this important function and relentlessly slander President Obama, America's most famous community organizer. The right will now use this vote to bolster their outlandish claims that Obama's got dangerous radical roots and philosophies. What is boils down to is this: House Democrats essentially did this week was say, "Yes, Republicans, we agree with you that community organizers are sleazy, untrustworthy and radical, and therefore don't deserve taxpayer funding." That they could do this, now, to their party, their president and the issues that ACORN advocates and supports, is unconscionable.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thank You Jimmy Carter


Jimmy Carter is America's 39th president, a respected elder statesman, and a lifelong resident of the deep South. He's clearly not just some crafty ideologue who's talking out of school. So when the Georgia native says the animosity directed towards President Barack Obama is rooted in racism, it raises yet another serious flag in this increasingly heated debate.

Speaking to NBC's Brian Williams in Atlanta Tuesday, Carter said:

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans....And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

Of the angry opposition the president's been facing, Carter said: "I think it's based on racism. There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

Bravo, President Carter, for having the guts to stand up and say what many believe but are afraid to say publicly for fear of being accused of playing the un-PC race card. But the reality is, much of the vitriol directed at Obama is indeed because he's in a very powerful job that's been held by rich white men for 233 years. It's an ugly truth, and we may not be willing to accept it, but there's a lot of whites in this country who, as Carter's comments basically imply, are repulsed by a black man calling the shots from the Oval Office.

To be sure, the hatred we're seeing towards Obama is rooted in generations of deep-seeded ignorance, fear and insecurity. These racists are trying to delegitimize Obama's presidency in any way they can--no matter how irrational, illogical or offensive--and further fan the "he's not one of us" flames which serve to turn people rabidly against him. Whether it's the "birthers" who claim Obama's not a U.S. citizen; those who've labeled him a socialist, communist, fascist or terrorist; those who kept their kids home last week rather than have them hear his back to school speech; or South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's "You Lie!" outburst at Obama's address to Congress, there's a raging disdain and disrespect for this president unseen in U.S. political history. And it's because he's black. I'll say it again: it's because he's black. Carter has served America well by calling us as a nation out on it.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye West and Rep. Joe Wilson to Collaborate on Rapper's Next Album


It's been a very busy week for award-winning rapper Kanye West and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R). One suffered a very public case of political Tourette's during a joint session of Congress while the other's bout with verbal diarrhea occurred on-stage Sunday night at the MTV Video Awards. And now both blabbermouths will team on West's new album entitled "Wilson & West: Fuck All-A Y'all." The album includes a song the two are co-writing, "Da Obama Drama," about the Congressman's "You Lie!" outburst during the president's health-care-reform address in the United States House Chamber.

West outdid his uber-narcissistic, foot-in-mouthed-diseased self Sunday by rushing the stage and grabbing the mike from a stunned teen pop sensation Taylor Swift, during her acceptance speech, to imply that fellow nominee Beyonce, who made "one of the best videos of all time," got robbed.

But the rapper, an outspoken black artist and Obama supporter, said he respected what Wilson did even though he doesn't agree with him:

"Yo, crackaz got balls! My boy's just representin' da hometown 'hood is all... for real."

And Wilson, the Confederate flag-supporting former aide to the late South Carolina 'Dixiecrat' (read: racist) segregation-supporting Sen. Strom Thurmond, oddly sang the rapper's praise in return:

"Kanye's a fine boy, and doing a job that's better suited for those people. He's a colored who knows his place....the recording studio."

The bizarre pairing took an even stranger turn when tennis champion Serena Williams warned the two that they better produce a hit with this album or "I swear to God I’m fucking taking this ball and shoving it down your fucking throat."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Republicans Don't Get About the Joe Wilson Meltdown


It the wake of South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson's very public, very disconcerting hissy-fit during President Obama's health-care-reform address to Congress Wednesday night, only one point matters: the requirement for protocol, decorum and respect for the office of the United States Presidency. Yes, this is America, and yes, as little kids like to often declare, "It's a free country, and I can say what I want!"

But that's just it. Little kids get to do that, not U.S. Congressmen in the hallowed halls of the House Chamber. That's just plain wrong and unacceptable, no matter what political party you belong to. And for Republicans and conservative talk-show hosts to now be waving the Joe Wilson flag as if it's some respectable badge of honor, portraying him as a patriotic hero and using his embarrassing case of political Tourettes as a rallying cry for the GOP, is truly despicable and a stain on America. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Take a quick listen to the right-wing media Axis-of-Evil, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and you'll get the typically shameless rhetoric about how Wilson was doing his patriotic duty to speak up and yell "You Lie!" after Obama said it was a lie to claim that his health care reform bill would provide coverage for illegal aliens. At that moment, Rep. Wilson just couldn't contain himself, blurting out his colossal diss like a petulant child. And now he has influential talking-heads like Hannity coming to his defense and taking up his 2010 re-election cause, featuring prominent links to the incumbent's website on Hannity.com.

This is the same Hannity who is greeted by and greets his callers with the nauseatingly cultish "You're a great American!" Does being a great American mean shouting down the U.S. president during an address to Congress? Does being a great American mean supporting people who show blatant disrespect and disdain for the office of the presidency, the sanctity of the U.S. House Chamber, and the political protocols that have been respected since the birth of our nation? This makes you a great American? A patriot? A hero? This is someone who deserves conservatives' overwhelming support?

Since Thursday, Hannity and others have helped the now-vulnerable Wilson raise upwards of a million bucks so far for his upcoming battle against Democrat Rob Miller in South Carolina's historically Republican-safe 2nd Congressional District. Polls now even show Miller leading Wilson by a point, with 62% of voters disapproving of Wilson's outburst. Democrats need to mobilize and aggressively support Miller now. His website is www.robmillerforcongress.com. (click here to donate the dollars he's going to need to beat Wilson).

The issue is this: Rep. Wilson is not some civilian who shouted his dissent at a truck stop rally. His words were not part of an interview on tv, radio or in the print media. He was not giving a rousing speech to constituents. He was not at a fiery town hall meeting. He was in a holy place to politicians; their equivalent of a church or a temple. His therefore blasphemous remark was truly unconscionable and deserves unified rebuking by those on the right and a Congressional reprimand or censure, as Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) has suggested. House Democrats also intend to initiate a formal resolution chastising Wilson. A very important lesson needs to be made here.

I'm sorry, but some things are just not political. And we all need to be rational about it. I would just as soon excoriate a Democrat as I would Rep. Wilson if that Democrat committed the same reprehensible outburst. And if we as Americans cannot at some point lay down the partisan swords and at least agree that some behavior is simply irresponsible and unacceptable, then we are left with nothing. Then a very important line will have been crossed from which there'll be no return. Civility in politics, what little we know of it in the current climate, will be lost forever.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fox Network: Reality TV Show More Important than Obama's Speech


So President Barack Obama on Wednesday night gave the most important speech of his presidency on an issue, health-care reform, which has taken center-stage in American politics over the past several months. Every single major network and cable-tv news network carried the prime-time address live...except the Fox Television Network, which chose instead to air its hit reality program "So You Think You Can Dance." Talk about side-steps.

How better to continue dumbing-down your audience than to censor what they see and hear that just might spoil their partisan delusion. Why give them another side of an issue? Why expose them to a radical/socialist/communist/fascist/terrorist like Obama, right? (can you actually be all of those things at the same time, as he's been accused?) Why let your viewers see the speech and make up their own minds? Because that would spoil the fun and prevent despicable blatant liars like Sean Hannity, of the Fox News "Fair and Balanced" cable network, from deceiving its audience with its decidedly unfair and unbalanced reporting.

For example, on his program after Obama's speech, Hannity, during an interview with Republican pollster/analyst Frank Luntz, said that Obama"said tonight that insurance company executives are bad people!" " But if his viewers had actually seen the speech, they'd know what the president actually said: "Insurance executives don't treat their customers badly because they're bad people; they do it because it's profitable." Really Hannity? The president called insurance company executives bad people? Seems to the rest of the non-lying world that he actually said just the opposite. But I suppose the truth doesn't matter when you're the unfair and unbalanced network.

At least Obama had a good-natured sense of humor about it all as he rehashed his key points to attendees at a rally Thursday:

"Just in case folks weren't tuned in last night ... if they were watching So You Think You Can Dance. A show Michelle likes, by the way."

So You Think You Can Dance. Need I say more....


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"It's a Lie...It's a Lie!" Obama Finally Comes Out Swinging


On August 26th I wrote the following:

Obama needs to accept that voters elected him president and gave Democrats congressional majorities to bring about change and not be a bunch of weak-kneed, spineless namby-pambys who still fantasize about bi-partisanship. The president needs to grow some balls and start acting a little Bush-like in pushing through his agenda. It's time to stop singing Kumbaya.

So here's some advice to Obama on how and where he needs to get tough:

1. Health care: stop pussyfooting around while conservatives destroy your reform bill. Get on the tube in a primetime address to the nation and forcefully dispel the myths being perpetrated by disingenuous Republicans. Look straight into the camera and tell Americans that they are being lied to...Get tough, dammit!


And that's exactly what President Obama did in his Wednesday night address to Congress to spell out the details of his health-care reform bill.

"The game is over," he warned his opponents. The speech was brilliantly crafted, forcefully delivered and very specific about the benefits and the costs, while also dispelling the "bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost."

The President aggressively addressed Republicans' deceptive rhetoric head on:

-On the death panel claim: "It is a lie, plain and simple"
-On providing health care for illegal aliens: lie
-On federal dollars used to fund abortions: lie
-On being forced to change insurance companies: lie
-On reducing medicare benefits: lie
-On increasing the deficit: lie
-On government taking over the entire health-care system: lie

While he gave serious props to Republican Sens. John McCain, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley for their bi-partisan efforts with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy to provide health insurance to children, the disabled and to create a patients' bill of rights, Obama made it very clear that he will not allow the nattering naybobs of negativism on the right to derail health-care reform. "Not this time," he said. He wisely spent much time speaking directly to the American public, in particular independents and seniors (key groups in next year's midterm elections), stood his ground on the 'public option' and assured them he'll deliver on the promise of change on which they elected him.

To be sure, the days and weeks ahead are going to be critical for Obama, as he'll now likely begin a massive private White House campaign to woo moderate and conservative Democrats to support his plan. As for Republicans, who during Obama's speech sat stone-faced, angry and dismissive (i.e. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va) with his head buried in his Blackberry), they've just heard the last note of Kumbaya...


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Text of Obama's Speech to School Kids is Released. Oh My God, Republicans Were Right!


The White House on Monday released the text of President Barack Obama's highly controversial speech to the nation's school children Tuesday. As expected and feared by those on the right, the speech, I'm embarrassed to say, is truly shameful and full of dangerous radical views. Here it is:

"Hello children, both Democrats and those whose parents belong to that less desirable party. Today is a very big day for you. Your first day back to school. I hope you enjoyed your Summer vacation. I tried to enjoy mine, but certain members of an un-named right-wing political party have made the past two months a living hell for me. But this isn't about me, so let's discuss why I've decided to talk with you today.

Education. It's the backbone and foundation of our society. It's what makes America great. And you as young school children represent America's future. It's important that you study hard, set goals and expand your horizons...and most importantly, that you desperately try to convince your Republican parents that they are 100% wrong about every domestic issue from taxes to health care reform to abortion, gun control and gay marriage. But I digress...

Each and every one of you has the same ability to succeed in life no matter what obstacles you face. If your family is poor, you can still go to college...unless of course the Republican Party, should it ever return to power, completely guts Pell Grants, student loans and other tuition-assistance programs.

Yes, you are our future. We need your collective brainpower. We need you to find a cure for aids and cancer. We need you to protect the environment by helping to develop alternative energy sources, green jobs and other environmental protections...because the Republican Party refuses to accept that global warming exists, and only cares about protecting oil companies and corporate polluters.

And since you asked, let's talk health care reform. Many of your parents would like you to believe that my "public option" package would kill your grannies. You march right into your living rooms tonight and tell your parents they're full of shit! Just like that. And tell 'em Uncle Barack said so. Trust me kids, if anyone's lying here, it's mommy and daddy. And another thing, if there's a political party that cares about the old, the poor, the sick, the hungry, veterans and puppies, it ain't the Republicans. Republicans wanna kill puppies!

Now the last thing I'd like to discuss with you is the need for you to get involved. Care about your community, your city, your state, your country. Even me, your president. Ask how you can help. How you can support what I'm trying to do to fix the economy, end our two wars and get America back to being the greatest nation in the world. But I can't do it alone. I need you to join the Young Democrats Club. Visit our website. Go to meetings. Wear our uniform. Learn our secret handshake. We're the fun party! And we're smart, too. C'mon, we both know that any party who sees Sarah Palin as their future, well, that's pretty dang scary, right?

So go home, tell mommy and daddy that we had a simple little chat today, and that everything's ok. Then help me in this revolution! Watch your email for further information.

Good day kids, and God bless (I say "God" with a wink because, as everyone knows, I'm a God-less communist/socialist/fascist/Muslim terrorist who hates Jesus and America).

Have fun at lunch!"
President Obama


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Obama School "Controversy:" Has America Gone Completely Insane, or Just Plain Racist?


On Tuesday President Barack Obama will address the nation's school children in a speech promoting education, ambition, perseverance and the need to become civic-minded. It's a terrific message designed to challenge and inspire today's youth. But as expected, the issue has been hijacked by the right-wing lunatic fringe that's either gone completely mad or lost all control of its racial bigotry. Either scenario is equal parts frustrating, infuriating, shameful and scary. Wild, unfounded accusations of "indoctrination" are flying at the president, and many children will be kept home from school to avoid the speech. It's "America's Parents Gone Wild."

I try to understand the opposition's concerns--which has unleashed a torrent of emotion and vitriol from many parents--but I simply can't. Because there's nothing rooted here in logic or rational thought. To the contrary, it's based on ignorance, fear and, yes, racism. I suspect that a majority of the most fervent protests are originating in those parts of the nation where the black population is the smallest, and where blacks hold few positions of power. Is it possible that these "concerned" parents simply don't want their very conservatively-raised children getting the message that it's ok for a young black man to be so powerful? Maybe the thought of their children being "lectured" by a black man repulses them? Doesn't it seem ironic that, in an effort to prevent their children from being "indoctrinated" by supposedly radical views, these parents are perpetrating the biggest mind-fuck of all on their kids by censoring outside influences and instead heaping on them their own generations of intolerance and prejudice? So who then is doing the actual indoctrinating?

It's just plain moronic all this talk of indoctrination and of Obama "spreading his socialist views"on school kids. I mean, after all, we're talking about the office of the United States Presidency for crap's sake. This isn't 50-Cent or Pamela Anderson addressing our kids. Have people simply lost their minds?

To be sure, the movement to prevent Obama's speech on the above grounds, and to boycott school Tuesday, is the single most unpatriotic event in modern history, and so disrespectful and offensive to the president and what the office stands for. In fact, on its merits, it's truly unfathomable. The people behind it should be ashamed of themselves.

The people stirring up all this school-speech trouble are no different than the misguided tea baggers, the town-hall goons, the birth-certificate 'truthers' or those who say Obama's a radical, a terrorist, a socialist, a communist and someone who's out to destroy America. Nah...he's just black, people. Get used to it. Because, whether you like it or not, he's gonna be running things for another seven-plus years.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Republicans Scream "Stay Away From Our Kids, Obama! If Anyone's Gonna Fill Their Heads With Partisan Crap It's Gonna Be Us!"


The latest controversy that has Republicans' panties in a collective snit is President Barack Obama's plan to address the nation's school children Tuesday in a speech designed to motivate, challenge and inspire excellence through education. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, not if you're a closed-minded conservative who views Obama's address as a form of "indoctrination."

A parent interviewed on Fox News Thursday morning said she's so angry that she's keeping her children home rather than subject them to Obama's speech: "This is government of the people...it's not about us having to do for government but what the government should be doing for us."

So much for the selfless principle behind President John F. Kennedy's stirring, patriotic plea to the American people during his 1960 inauguration address: "Ask not what your country can do you for, ask what you can do for your country." This woman couldn't have presented the typical Republican 'I-don't-give-a-shit-about-anyone-but-me' philosophy any clearer.

And right-wing media pundits have piled on. In her column Thursday, Michelle Malkin incredulously warns that Obama's campaign calls for kids to "Create posters of their goals." She raises this flag as if there's something wrong with challenging our children to aspire. To have goals. Am I missing something? Just what is Malkin and her Republican brethren so afraid of, anyway? That kids will think Obama's a cool guy who makes a lot of sense? How about giving them some credit for being able to make their own determinations and draw their own conclusions?

Not likely. These Obama-hating conservatives and their dumbed-down, myopic philosophies appeal to the lowest common-denominator of their party, which is why it got trounced in the last election. There used to be a time when a presidential address to children would've meant something. When it wouldn't have been turned into some cheapened partisan charade played by self-serving political operatives trying to shape the next election. Or by ignorant, fearful voters who've been brainwashed into thinking that Obama is the devil-incarnate out to poison their children's minds.

'Indoctrination?' Really? Does anyone really think Obama is going to very publicly abuse his power by making some sort of blatant amoral partisan appeal to our children while the whole world, including his rabid critics, watches? Do you think he thinks he'd get away with something that obvious? Jeez, people, I know the president's behavior seems odd given that in eight years George W. Bush couldn't string together two sentences without mangling the English language, and that he had the intellectual curiosity of a slug, but how about we just take Obama's intentions at face value? That he's a president who cares about children, what they think, and who wants to engage them in the national discourse.

What a terrible concept: a U.S. president talking with school kids about the importance of education, of expanding their intellectual horizons, of setting goals, and of getting involved in civics. Wow. Truly despicable lessons to impart on children, huh? Why expose our kids to such irresponsible 'indoctrination' when we can just keep 'em home that day and fill their heads with the really objective stuff like abortion is murder; gays are evil; guns are good; Obama and Democrats are destroying life as we know it; and that God is a Republican.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

President Scarborough? "Morning Joe" Would Be a Viable Threat To Obama in 2012


The ever-shrinking right-wing-nutjob base can have Sarah Palin. My early money for the Republican Party's next presidential nominee is MSNBC pundit and former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough.

In case you haven't noticed, this Joe has been more ubiquitous lately than a cup of Starbucks Java on a New York morning. He's everywhere these days, all dressed up (suits vs fleece) with only one place he'd probably love to go: the White House. And if he plays his cards right, he could give President Barack Obama a very difficult challenge in 2012.

Scarborough's been smartly playing the moderate card lately, which is not what we can say for some of the other 2012 "front-runners" like Palin, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. These guys are so fringe in their ideology that they could never appeal to the all-important middle.

So what does Morning Joe have going for him? To begin with, he has legislative experience, having served Florida's 1st Congressional District from 1995-2001. And, having the hometown advantage in this hotly contested state would be a huge asset in a run for the presidency.

He's also a shrewd operative and knows the issues. He's a fiscal and foreign policy conservative and, though it's been eight years since he was in Congress, where he was socially conservative as well, he's embraced the center, especially when it comes to the environment, immigration and human rights. He's extremely articulate, charismatic and telegenic with a warm squint in the eye and a winning grin. A straight-talking George W. Bush-basher who's savvy and calculating enough to sense he can capitalize on his party's incredible frustration and dissatisfaction with its past and current leadership, as well as tap the wave of disenchantment among Democrats and Independents. He's a young (46) Tonight-Show-ready guitar player who could be the closest thing ever to the GOP's version of Camelot. And, he has great national exposure through his morning television program as well as constant appearances on other high profile NBC shows such as Meet the Press.

Scarborough presents one of the biggest potential threats to Obama, who voters will be judging, one way or another, over his handling of Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy and health-care....and how far he's perceived to have shifted the country's politics uncomfortably to the left. To be sure, the president is facing many uphill battles while staring at precipitous declines in his approval rating. He has failed to connect with voters over his health-care reform bill; needs to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs; has been under attack for racking up massive deficits; needs to figure out a successful Iraq exit strategy; and is stuck with a difficult war in Afghanistan, which is getting worse by the nanosecond. He's going to have to be nothing short of a miracle-man these next 2-3 years if he's to survive politically and fend off challenges from viable opponents like "The Scar."


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.