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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mission Not Accomplished: The True Cost of the Iraq War


President Barack Obama will address the nation Tuesday evening to officially announce that combat operations in Iraq have come to an end, and that the drawdown of 90,000 U.S. troops is underway. When completed, a military presence of 50,000 troops will remain to assist the Iraqi government in keeping the peace. The real question about Obama's speech is, will anyone be watching.

Americans have simply grown bored, tired and indifferent to the Iraq War. Truth be told, it never felt like the nation was at war, except to the soldiers fighting it or to their families. On any given day, in any given city or town these past seven years, one would be hard-pressed to find the sort of collective awareness, unity and patriotism of World War II, or even the turbulence, outrage and protest of Vietnam. Americans simply went about their business, with no personal sacrifice. Housing prices skyrocketed, stock prices soared, personal wealth grew and then the bottom eventually fell out. And now, as Obama proudly goes before the cameras to boast of delivering on his promise to bring the troops home, does anyone really care? They're more worried about their homes, their savings and their jobs. Once again, it's the economy, stupid! Sorry, prez, but America tuned out of Iraq years ago.

For the record, I care very much about Iraq and the toll it's taken on our country, as do many other Democrats who opposed the war from the start. In seven years, over 4400 troops were killed, almost 40,000 injured or maimed, and we've spent close to $1-trillion. But those are just the obvious, and very unfortunate, stats. The war has had tremendous impact on so many other aspects of American life as well.

Ever since former President George W. Bush invaded Iraq under what as much as half the population believes was false and/or manufactured pretenses, the war has served to divide the country like no other event in history. It has driven a sharp political wedge straight down both Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street. America has never been as polarized as it is now. Washington has never been as partisan. The vitriolic relationship between Red and Blue America no doubt has the war as its genesis. Bush, the self-anointed uniter, just may go down in history as the greatest divider we've ever had.

The war has also ravaged the U.S. economy. The $1-trillion cost, coupled with Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy which cost $2.5-trillion, have done more to balloon our deficit than health care reform, the economic stimulus package or any other of Obama's spending initiatives.

Another cost of the Iraq war is the distraction it's been from our mission in Afghanistan, where we took our eye off the real enemy, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, who experts believe were able to cross into Pakistan and base themselves there as a result. The Afghanistan war is now nine years old, with no clear mission or end in sight, and with the country mired by increasing violence and political corruption. Fourteen U.S. soldiers have been killed there in just the last several days alone. It's an undisputed mess.

As for Iraq itself, Obama will not be using the term "mission accomplished" in his speech for a reason. That's because the mission is not accomplished, and won't be until Iraq can demonstrate in a lasting way that it can protect its citizens and sustain its fragile Democracy using its own police and military forces. To be sure, as David Brooks and Paul Wolfowitz wrote in their Tuesday NY Times op-eds, there has been much political, social, economic and national security progress made in Iraq, which is definitely a reason to celebrate. But it will take a couple of years at least before we can truly celebrate the success of this war. The fact is, Iraq is stuck in a six-month post-election stalemate, and, insurgent violence persists, as the recent coordinated multi-city terror attacks which killed 60 demonstrates. Lastly, there is still the great risk of civil war amongst the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions which all have a great stake in Iraq's delicate balance of power.


On another note, get ready for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation's 3rd Annual eBay Auction which launches September 24th. Wanna go to exclusive, one-on-one lunches with stars like Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, Cheryl Hines, Michelle Williams, Kevin Smith, Rosario Dawson, Patricia Clarkson, Rachael Harris, Keri Russell, Susie Essman, Bill Hader, Jeremy Sisto, Mark Cuban among others? Or how about VIP tickets and meet/greet to Joan Rivers' new stand-up show? We'll also be offering VIP tickets to THE COLBERT REPORT, THE DAILY SHOW, RACHEL RAY, ELLEN, Maroon 5 and Jimmy Buffett concerts; plus TV show set visits/meet & greets for THE GOOD WIFE, HUNG, NURSE JACKIE, RIZZOLI & ISLES, BREAKING BAD; CASTLE and UNITES STATES OF TARA; walk-on extra roles on COMMUNITY and IN PLAIN SIGHT; as well as movie walk-ons. Mark your calendars for September 24!

The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is 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, August 26, 2010

Racist Maniac Stabs Muslim Cabbie. Congratulations Republicans, Your Hate-Mongering is Working


The despicable partisan-fueled campaign waged by Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and other leading Republicans to demonize the entire Muslim faith is unfortunately starting to influence the misguided racist animals who hear this fear-mongering and in a warped sense of patriotism take it upon themselves to protect America against the big bad Islamic bogeyman they're told is out to get us.

What the GOP leaders and right wing media have been doing is spewing racist venom and heightening tensions over the planned Muslim community center and prayer room two blocks from Ground Zero. They've been stirring the pot of ignorance and hate with broad brush accusations against the center's leaders, its funding sources and alleged connections to terrorists (where have we heard that one before?).

"Are you a Muslim?" is what 21-year-old Michael Enright asked cabbie Ahmed H. Sharif Tuesday night in Manhattan, following up with "Salaam aleikum" (peace be with you) and "How's your Ramadan going?" It quickly turned ugly, with Enright cursing at the driver, screaming "This is the checkpoint, motherfucker" and "I have to bring you down." He then whipped out a hunting knife, slashed Sharif's throat and stabbed him in the face, arm and hand. The wounds required 22 stitches, and Sharif was released from the hospital ok but understandably scared and shaken.

Congratulations Newt. Congratulations Sarah. Congratulations Rudy. And congratulations Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and all the other Republican rabble-rousers who are front and center in this controversy. Sharif's blood is on your hands. You are the ones responsible for this attack....because you are doing exactly what George W. Bush did nine years ago when conflating al Qaeda terrorists with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, turning the masses against an easy scapegoat. You're the ones who are now conflating the 9/11 terrorist attacks with the entire Muslim faith. You're the ones filling Enright's and others' heads with not-so-subliminal suggestions of violence and revenge. Sharif was lucky. The next victim of your incendiary rhetoric and hate-speak may not be.

And, here's the kicker: as Jon Stewart brilliantly pointed out this week, Fox News has accused a Saudi prince as being behind the terrorist-sympathetic group funding the downtown NYC Islamic center. And this radical Saudi is none other than Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Saudi, who's just happens to be the second largest shareholder in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp which, you guessed it, owns Fox News!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GOP's Golden Boy Boehner's Dark Economic Prognosis is About as Fake as His Freakishly Dark Skin Tone


House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) is a hopeful man. He hopes that voters are both stupid and forgetful. He hopes they have no recollection whatsoever of the eight years of largely Republican rule during the Bush years; years that saw a loss of eight million jobs and the failed policies that led to the worst financial meltdown in America's history since the Great Depression over eighty years ago. And he's banking on this memory loss to propel his elitist, do-nothing party back into power in the November midterms. Boehner's GOP needs to have a net pick up of 39 seats to oust his political nemesis, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), and re-take control of the House.

Boehner, the future-Speaker wannabe, challenged President Obama Tuesday to fire his economic team over what he called a failure to turn the economy around. "We do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing stimulus policies."

Boehner's disingenuous assertions ignore reality, and the huge economic improvements Obama's made since taking office. A new Congressional Budget Office report cited the president's stimulus package as having lowered the unemployment rate in the second quarter of the year; creating 1.4 million to 3.3 million jobs; and increasing productivity by approximately 4.5%. Boehner needs to remember where the economy was in January of 2009 as George W. Bush was preparing to exit the White House. The nation's output was contracting at an annual 6% rate, jobs were being lost at a 700,000 monthly clip, and American industry--from automobiles to banking to Wall Street to retail and housing--was on the precipice of disaster. While we still have a long way to go towards full employment and financial prosperity, America's economy has made monumental progress and is clearly headed in the right direction.

In response to Boehner's revisionist history, vice president Joe Biden came out swinging: "For eight years before we arrived, Mr. Boehner and his party ran this economy and the middle class into the ground. They took the $237 billion surplus they inherited from the Clinton administration and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and, in the process, quadrupled the national debt — all before we had turned on the lights in the West Wing.

While acknowledging the GOP's Bush-era complicity in Congress's profligate spending, Boehner boasted of Republicans' near-unified opposition to Obama's stimulus bill, health care reform and environmental legislation. "We began to show people we are different." No, the only thing you're showing people is that your #1 goal as a party is to screw the poor and middle class while obsessively pursuing massive tax cuts for the rich. Sorry, Johnny, but you're singin' the same old Republican tune. The billion-dollar question is, will voters realize that come November....and remember why they kicked you and your useless party out of power in the first place.


On another note, get ready for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation's 3rd Annual eBay Auction which launches September 24th. Wanna go to exclusive, one-on-one lunches with stars like Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, Cheryl Hines, Michelle Williams, Kevin Smith, Rosario Dawson, Patricia Clarkson, Rachael Harris, Keri Russell, Susie Essman, Bill Hader, Jeremy Sisto, Mark Cuban among others? Or how about VIP tickets and meet/greet to Joan Rivers' new stand-up show? We'll also be offering VIP tickets to THE COLBERT REPORT, THE DAILY SHOW, RACHEL RAY, ELLEN, Maroon 5 and Jimmy Buffett concerts; plus TV show set visits/meet & greets for THE GOOD WIFE, HUNG, NURSE JACKIE, RIZZOLI & ISLES, BREAKING BAD; CASTLE and UNITES STATES OF TARA; walk-on extra roles on COMMUNITY and IN PLAIN SIGHT; as well as movie walk-ons. Mark your calendars for September 24!

The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is 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, August 19, 2010

We Are All Victims of 9/11


Something very important seems to be getting lost in the Ground Zero community center and mosque debate. On September 11, 2001, 3000 innocent people died in the horrific attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania perpetrated by the terrorist group al Qaeda. To be sure, the families of those killed have experienced tremendous pain and suffering. No one denies their loss. And a majority of them have voiced vehement opposition to the planned mosque, saying that it is an affront and a dishonor to the victims and their families. But we need to be very clear about one thing: all Americans are victims of 9/11. We may have experienced this unfathomable tragedy on very different levels, but we all suffered that day, and all of our lives have changed since.

No American owns this tragedy more than any other American, and no one gets to speak for the rest of us. We are all entitled to our opinions on this very controversial mosque matter, and that's what seems to be getting lost in all the political posturing. While I did not lose a family member on that fateful day, I did lose a friend. And I live five blocks from Ground Zero, as I have for the last eighteen years. I breathed that polluted and potentially toxic air for months, and I have a very vested interest not only in affairs of national scope, but of those in my personal backyard as well. Does my voice not count? Does my opinion not count? Am I, and countless others like me, expected to yield to the forces of anger, revenge and bigotry simply because I did not lose a family member to terrorists?

The truth is, while I did not lose a loved one on 9/11 I have experienced unfathomable pain and suffering when my wife was brutally murdered in 2006 by a 19-year-old illegal alien, leaving me to raise our 2 year old daughter alone. Was I shocked? Horrified? Angry? Vengeful? Full of hate? Sure. During these past four years I've probably experienced every emotion one could. But this horrible experience did not fundamentally change who I was or what I believed in. It did not change my core values. It did not change my love of country or my respect for our rule of law. It did not give me the right to circumvent the U.S. Constitution or re-interpret the laws which protect and serve our citizenry simply because I was suffering. It also did not make me the de facto authority on illegal immigration, nor turn me into a xenophobe.

I am truly saddened by what's happening in America today. Saddened that so many are forgetting what our nation stands for and the principles on which it was built. America is a refuge for millions who suffer discrimination all over the world. This is where people come to be free, to escape religious persecution, not to find it. The conflating of the 9/11 terrorists with the overall Muslim faith, and the fear-mongering that goes along with all the incendiary political rhetoric being tossed around, conjures up memories of Japanese internment camps, McCarthyism, the KKK and other ugly chapters in U.S. history. Terrorists attacked us on 9/11, not the Muslim faith. As such, suggesting that this mosque shouldn't exist two blocks from Ground Zero is tantamount to suggesting that, because of the priesthood's pedophilia scandals, that a Catholic church shouldn't be two blocks from a school. Both assertions are equally irrational. Have we as a nation learned nothing since the 1940's?

Fear is ugly, and it makes people do and say awful things to each other. And the proposed community center and mosque near Ground Zero has, and rightly so, stirred the passions and emotions of many. But we cannot allow one group of 9/11 victims to demand that other 9/11 victims abrogate their core principles or change their perception of America's core values. We are all 9/11 victims, and we all have a say on this subject. And that includes the many Muslims who died that day as well, and their families. More so than anything else in this debate, American pluralism, and the U.S. Constitution which guarantees it, is what needs to be defended and honored.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Open Letter to Newt Gingrich



Dear Newt (May I call you Newt? Not because I seek any sort of convivial familiarity, but simply because you remind me of a slimy lizard):

There's been lots of speculation lately as to your political motives and aspirations, and whether or not you're planning a run for the White House in 2012. So I am here to ask you, in fact beg you, to please run for president. There, I've said it. And I mean it with all the passion and dedication of a card-carrying liberal who wishes to see your political fortunes erupt like Mt. Vesuvius. And if I may be so bold as to ask, even beg, for another favor...please name Sarah Palin as your vice-presidential running mate. This would be a Tea Bagger's dream ticket, and a Democrat's wet dream ticket. My goodness, I believe I just soiled myself a little just thinking about it.

Yes, Newt (snake would be so much more of a fitting name, no?), you should definitely run for president. What else should a delusional, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, hypocritical Republican such as yourself do, just sit around raising tens of millions of dollars a year for your 527? What good does that do the GOP when you can perhaps control the joystick on the Oval Office desk? You know you want it, man! In fact, you want it so bad you can taste it. You've wanted it for so long, and ya know what? You deserve that damn Republican nomination. After all you've done for the party? Who else should get it, some comatose drone like Tim Pawlenty? Paw-leeze! Or some bug-eyed cartoon-character like Bobby Jindal? Or the GOP's Breck Girl, Mitt Romney? Or the Mama Grizzly herself, Palin? No, Newt, this nomination is yours. You're the one all those anger-drippin' Tea Baggers want.

Just think, after you and The Wasilla Wonder are nominated you can start thinking about your cabinet, and how you can stock it with brilliant 21st Century thinkers and bridge-builders like Rand Paul, Ken Buck and Sharron Angle. Sean Hannity could be your Communications Director. Rush Limbaugh your head of Community Outreach. You can even revive Dick Cheney and appoint him your Middle East Special Envoy. I hear they just love him over there. Good grief, man, just think about the bazillions of fired up Tea Party peeps you'd draw to the polls.

Now here's the good part. If you run, we on the left will tear into you like a Republican Congressman on a House page. We'll remind everyone at every turn that you cheated on and shamelessly and unceremoniously dumped two sick wives. How you had an affair with your much older high school teacher and your much younger aide before marrying these mistresses. How you asked wife #2, Marianne, to "tolerate" your tawdry affair with future wife #3 Callista in some sick, kinky open-marriage fantasy. We'll resurrect the 1982 House Banking scandal and your 22 bounced checks. We'll bring up your 1984 and 1995 book scandals. We'll dust off the GOPAC scandal and revisit your illegal use of non-profit funds for political purposes. And we'll expose your "family-values" hypocrisy 'round the clock like a McDonald's drive-thru. We'll slap the immoral, radical, fringe, dangerous tag on you so often and so hard you'll feel like you went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson. We'll play your smug, arrogant, defiant "It doesn't matter what I live" quote so much you'll feel like you're in elevator-music hell. And by the time we're done with you, even someone like Dennis Kucinich will be able to beat you. And just think...I haven't even mentioned yet what we'll do with Ms. Hopey-Changey-I-Can-See-Russia-From-My-Window.

So whattya say, Snake, you up for the challenge?

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's Truly at Stake in the Ground Zero Mosque Debate



The controversy over the proposed Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero rages on, with President Obama issuing unequivocal support Friday night on Constitutional grounds, while asserting the next day that he will not comment on the "wisdom" of the decision to build it at that location.

On the other side, shameless politicizing radical right-wing fanatics like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are fanning the flames of hatred with their incendiary rhetoric, comparing Muslims behind the mosque project to Nazis and serving as the self-anointed spokespeople for 9/11 victims and their families.



But the truth is, not every 9/11 family opposes the center. In fact, there's quite a large group of supporters.

"There is no simple, singular 9/11 group who really should or could speak for all 9/11 family members," said Donna Marsh O'Connor of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a coalition of over 250 families who support the building of the mosque. O'Connor's 29-year-old pregnant daughter was killed in one of the World Trade Center towers. "This is not a small issue, this is what America has always been -- a place where people come to escape religious persecution. I can understand people saying that this is a slap. This does hurt. But we don't change fundamentally what our nation is about because it will hurt people."

Charles Wolf of New York City lost his wife, Katherine, 56, in the attacks. He supports the mosque "100 percent."

Herb Ouida's son Todd died on 9/11, and warns against harsh tone of the opposition. He said, "What we are doing is we are saying to the world that we are at war with Islam. And we can't be. I want my grandchildren to live in a better world."

Frank Tatum's mother was killed in the attacks as well. "I think it's important not to give into the hysteria. We do have religious freedom. I know the wounds are still very open, me myself included but you have to look at the big picture. You can't practice these freedoms only when it suits us. You have to practice them all along."

First responders have also voiced their support for the mosque. Former Emergency Medical Services worker Marvin Bethea, 50, was forced to retire six years ago because of 9/11-related breathing problems. "Even though my life has changed, I don't hate the Muslims....I understand the families are hurt and lost, but how do you sit here and condemn all Muslims as being terrorists? That's just bigotry and hatred. We're a better nation than that. The diversity that we have, this is what New York is about. But we have such prejudices, some of us. We have a long way to go."

Some claim that the building of a mosque so close to Ground Zero dishonors those who died that day. But I'd like to suggest the opposite; the the mosque actually honors the dead by symbolizing the upholding of the laws and freedoms that make America great. I cringe at the thought that those who died so innocently that fateful day would condone the mass discrimination of an entire religion of people in the name of revenge. That's no honor.

We live in a nation of laws. And we live by the rule of law. And the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We don't govern in some ad hoc, knee-jerk, arbitrary manner based on the prejudices, sensitivities or whims of a select few. We also don't govern based on majority rule. If that were the case, despicable groups like the KKK and white supremacists would not be able to march and protest in places like Selma, Ala and Skokie, Ill against the wishes of blacks, Jews and others who find such activity highly insensitive and offensive, and rightly so. But the Constitution is quite clear about the freedoms we enjoy such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, as well as the laws that prohibit religious discrimination. Sorry, but there's no gray area here. We may not like the words or actions of some people or groups and might find them reprehensible, but that still doesn't give us the right to impose our views on the rest of society and expect decisions to be made based on those narrow judgements.

We cannot become a nation where we allow the squeakiest wheel of ignorance and intolerance to get the most grease. We also don't live in a nation where victims of a crime, or their families, get to rewrite the Constitution... no matter how sensitive we are to their pain and suffering.

It's dangerous to suggest that the entire Muslim faith--and by extension the proposed mosque or mosques in general--is fundamentally incompatible with American pluralism, and therefore poses a greater risk to our citizenry than other faiths and houses of worship. And we cannot allow the 9/11 attacks to be used as a pawn in the political and race/religion wars. Let's remember, we're at war with al Qaeda, not Islam.

To be sure, some will find the mosque's location a 'slap in the face' and an act of supreme insensitivity to the families of those who died on that horrific day. But where do we draw that line in deciding the who/what/where of this community center? Is two blocks too close? Should it be three? Five? Ten? Should we also shut down the area's other mosques, Muslim prayer centers which have existed peacefully in the community for many years prior to 9/11? What about the area's strip clubs? Do we close them down too because some might find them offensive and a 'slap' as well? And who gets to decide all this? Clearly, there's strong, passionate views on both sides of this issue, and especially from the 9/11 families. Which is why Constitutional law should be the engine that drives this debate and not the very personal, subjective views of some.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gingrich Family Values: Stick a Fork in Newt


If Newt Gingrich expects to run for president in 2012, let alone win, he better think again. Seems his ex-wife Marianne has a little score to settle, and has gone public in a scathing magazine interview about her former hubby's kinky past, especially as it relates to marriage. Thanks to Mrs. #2, we've now confirmed what most of us have known all along: that when it comes to family-values, Gingrich, like most Republicans, believes there's two sets...one for him and one for everyone else.

So what's in Newt's closet? Well, Marianne unloaded her bombshells in ESQUIRE's September profile of the former House Speaker. Here's some of the juiciest revelations:

-That he met his first wife Jackie when she was his high-school geometry teacher. They married when he was 19 and she 26.

-He later dumped Jackie, while she was recovering from cancer, to marry then-mistress Marianne.

-He later dumped Marianne, for mistress and eventual third wife Callista, while she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (apparently Newt has huge issues with the marital vow "in sickness and in health"). While married to Marianne, Newt wanted her to "tolerate" his affair with Callista, who is 23 years his junior.

-In answering an incredulous Marianne who questioned his hypocritical public family-values grandstanding while cheating on her with his much younger aide Callista, Gingrich arrogantly replied: "It doesn't matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I say. It doesn't matter what I live." Talk about delusions of grandeur.

Now don't get me wrong. In general, I sit in judgement of no one, especially those with marital failure and even infidelity. There's often more to a story than meets the eye, and no one's perfect. What a couple does behind closed doors is their business, not mine. But what I do have a major issue with is arrogant, self-righteous morality-cops like Gingrich who sanctimoniously lecture the rest of us on family-values while they're out cheating on their wives, screwing everything in sight. And in Newt's case in particular, even suggesting that the Mrs. sanction the affair. What kind of sick, twisted, radical family-values is that?

We surely remember how these skeevy hypocrites like Gingrich crucified Bill Clinton back in the 90's over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He became just the second sitting president in United States history to be impeached. Yet one by one these witch-hunting hypocrites including Gingrich, Bob Barr, Henry Hyde, Robert Livingston, Helen Chenoweth, Dan Burton, John Ensign, Larry Craig and others were all subsequently embroiled in their own humiliating public sex scandals. These philandering phonies went ahead with their Clintoncide despite knowing they couldn't keep their own pants on. What unmitigated gall.

I cannot tell you downright giddy I am to see Gingrich's marital indiscretions broadcast for the entire world to see in all their disgusting, shameful, specious glory. No one deserves to be metaphorically stoned in public with his integrity and reputation dragged through the mud more than the smug, duplicitous, self-aggrandizing phony Gingrich.

As Stephen Colbert noted about Gingrich Wednesday night, "He's so morally upright he's only had sex after he was married, just not always to the woman he was married to."

It's hard to image Gingrich setting sail next year for a run at the White House. As I've written here on this blog years ago, his serial philandering will keep him from ever sitting behind the Oval Office desk. But if he does decide to defy conventional wisdom and run anyway, it'll be a lot of fun to watch him implode.

When will these glass-house-dwellin' Republicans finally learn not to throw stones...


On another note, get ready for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation's 3rd Annual eBay Auction which launches September 24th. Wanna go to lunch with stars like Jon Hamm, Cheryl Hines, Michelle Williams, Rachael Harris, Julianna Margulies, Keri Russell, Susie Essman, Bill Hader, Jeremy Sisto among others? Or how about VIP tickets and meet/greet to Joan Rivers' new stand-up show? We'll also be offering VIP tickets to THE COLBERT REPORT, RACHEL RAY, ELLEN, Maroon 5 and Jimmy Buffett concerts; plus TV show set visits on RIZZOLI & ISLES and IN PLAIN SIGHT; as well as movie walk-ons. Mark your calendars for September 24!

The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is 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, August 10, 2010

Elite Republican Nepotism Nerds Are Out of Touch with Average Americans' Struggles


An interesting observation was made while watching Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. As usual, the second half's expert panel was mostly Republican, comprised of conservatives Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard; Liz Cheney, daughter of former Veep Darth Vader; and of course, the host himself. The left was held up by Juan Williams, who always tries his valiant best despite often being drowned out by the right-wingers.

When the panel discussed issues pertaining to the economy, jobs, health care reform, entitlement programs and taxes, they came at it all with the usual rhetoric which reinforces the partisan propaganda about how it's the rich who start businesses, create jobs and drive the economy....while liberals just want to give away the store to the have-nots at the expense of the haves through more government hand-outs. Why can't everyone just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and make their own way?, is the common Republican refrain. No free lunches!

But what the children of privilege like Wallace, Kristol and Cheney so arrogantly and cavalierly ignore is that their prominent careers are built on the foundation of nepotism....that good old fashioned tradition of rich mommy and daddy giving you that first big break.

And that's the whole point. 99% of Americans don't have wealthy parents who can give them a start. They don't have a former U.S. vice president dad to help get them exposed and primed for a prominent job as a political analyst. They don't have a "Godfather of Neoconservative" and Commentary Magazine editor dad who helped pave the way for their coveted political and publishing positions. They don't have a 60 Minutes-famous pop who can open the kind of broadcast news doors that the average journalism student can only dream of. And that's why they can be so smug, so insensitive and in such denial. They're the kids who were born on 3rd base and think they hit a triple.

The truth is, most Americans do have to fend for themselves in this ravaged economy and ever-competitive jobs market. They don't have rich parents to fall back on. There's no security blanket. No cushion. In fact, for many Americans, all they have is the government. That's their rich mommy and daddy. That's who they go to when they need a start. Need a loan. Need help. Or when they crash and burn and have nowhere else to turn. It's easy for the famous last-named Cheneys, Kristols and Wallaces of the world to sanctimoniously lecture the rest of us on what it means to be independent and self-sufficient when they had their own privileged, elitist version of big government handouts......the family kind.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Will Prop 8 and Gay Marriage Derail the GOP this November?


Just when the sputtering economy was seemingly presenting Republicans with the well-paved road to victory this November along comes Proposition 8 and gay marriage, the political equivalent of GOP crack. And these self-righteous morality junkies just can't get enough. They're addicted to guns, God and gays, as well as immigration and abortion, and relapse during every campaign they wage. Watch it be the death of them in the midterms as they embark on this diversionary homophobic witch hunt while 14-million Americans are unemployed and the poor and middle classes have been financially ravaged. To Republicans, It's the homo's, stupid! Can Karl Rove be far behind?

The economy is still facing unprecedented challenges, especially in the jobs market, as Friday's disappointing employment report indicated. But all the GOP has to offer voters are spending cuts on the lower and middle classes and huge tax cuts for the rich. It's the same old song. Nothing innovative. And not terribly popular with middle-America. Which is why it's so easy for them to lose focus and fall back into their comfortable hot-button social issues trap yet again.

Voters lapped up that polarizing rhetoric during the Bush/Cheney/Rove glory days. They astoundingly put aside their own financial interests and tapped their personal prejudices instead. While Republicans are predicting massive victory this year and a repeat of their "revolution" of 1994, that victory was fueled by New Gingrich's Contract with America which focused on issues that had broad popular support like welfare reform, term limits, tax cuts and balancing the budget. The Gingrich army didn't invade our bedrooms, as the current leadership is trying to do. And that will be political suicide. Voters are much more focused on economic issues this year, and any attempt to divert them away from their pocketbooks will be a disaster for the GOP.

On a completely different note, here's a little question for my Republican friends: how come Obama, who you label as the most liberal president in history, is against gay marriage? And, why would he appoint a Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagen, who's said there's no constitutional right to gay marriage? I'll be waiting for your answer....

Friday, August 06, 2010

An Open Letter to Frightened Married Heterosexuals



In the wake of the overturning of California's Prop 8 ban on same sex marriage, you terrified straight folks are once again regurgitating the old homophobic propaganda that gay marriage threatens the great institution of "natural" heterosexual marriage. You know, the kind that Mel Gibson, O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Joey Buttafuoco, Klaus von Bulow, Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, John Edwards and countless others have been so respectful of.

Of course, nothing could be as ridiculous and unfounded as this threat, which is based on ignorance and self-hatred. I'm sorry, but two gay dudes could literally be fisting each other on my front lawn while blasting Liza Minelli and it still won't threaten my straight relationship in any way. If you truly think it'll threaten yours then perhaps you're not as straight as you think you are. Maybe you actually want some of that gay action, and rather than be honest with yourself about who you really are, you amp up the testosterone and lash out at those who are living truthfully.

Listen, heteros, just what the hell are you so afraid of anyway? Why does it bother you so much...why does it arouse so much anger and passion... at the thought of two gay people in love who wish to marry? Do you think preventing gays from marrying will make homosexuality go away? Do you think preventing same sex marriages will end same sex relationships? Are you paranoid that a roving, predatory, wedding-banded rainbow-cock will come flying into your unsuspecting manly-man mouth if you walk down a street full of married gays? This issue is about human rights. Civil rights. Peace, love and happiness. So how about you just chill the fuck out and live your life and let gays live theirs?

All you petrified straights should get used to the idea that gays and gay marriage aren't going away. You should finally show some decency, respect and appreciation for our gay friends, as they are part of America's fabric. They stand beside you as they fight your wars, teach your kids, care for your sick elders, protect your homes, fight your fires, pay your salaries, do your taxes and more. They love this country just as you do, and they deserve the same freedoms as you, especially went it comes to sharing their lives with those they love.

To be sure, gays are not the first group to be discriminated against when it comes to marriage. Prior to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1967, interracial marriage was against the law in many states. Think about how unfathomable it would be for it to still be illegal today. Well, this narrow-minded, infuriating, fear-based effort to keep gays from marrying is just as unfathomable..

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Federal Court Overturns CA's Prop 8 Ban on Gay Marriage. Closeted Republicans Everywhere Rejoice



California's controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages, was overturned Wednesday by a U.S. district judge in San Francisco. The decision was a major victory for gay activists.

Prop 8, or California Marriage Protection Act, was a voter-approved ballot measure in the November 2008 elections. It reversed the prior California Supreme Court ruling that gay couples had a constitutional right to marry.

In his 130-page ruling, Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote: "The evidence shows that Prop. 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution, the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians and because Prop. 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes the Prop. 8 is unconstitutional."

The suit was brought by plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a Burbank couple seeking to marry, and was argued by the legal team of Ted Olson and David Boies, bitter foes in the Gore v Bush battle of 2000.

As expected, gays from New York to California rejoiced over the decision, and were no doubt joined in celebration from the likes of Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Bob Allen and countless other closeted, formerly gay-bashing Washington conservatives humiliated in salacious gay-sex scandals. And while no seemingly heterosexual Republican politician currently serving could outwardly show his euphoria over the ban's reversal, we're certain it was a very different story for those in the GOP (Gay Ole Party) closet.

Bristol's Baby Daddy's Another Baby's Daddy!



First it was true teenage love, and then an unwed pregnancy and an imminent gunshot kiddie wedding. Then it was a sensational tabloid split, with Baby Daddy trashing his famous almost-in-laws. Then poor Grandma was horrified as these two crazy attention-starved, money-grubbing kids got back together, disingenuously avowing their love on the cover of People as Baby Daddy confessed to having lied about Granny's many warts. Then the unthinkable happened: Baby Daddy lied yet again, telling his Baby Mama he was headed to California for a hunting trip but instead visiting his other baby...the one his almost-soon-to-be-teen-bride didn't know about. And once again Baby Daddy, the nightmare who may finally go away for Granny, abruptly got kicked to the cold, Alaskan curb.

Welcome to the Palin family, where good old fashioned conservative family values are about as foreign as the Russian skyline.....ya know, the one Mamma Grizzly can see from her Wasilla window. While daughter Bristol and Baby Daddy Levi Johnston are the gossip gifts that keep on giving to Democrats, they've given Mama G nothing but fire-breathing heartburn. How can Ms. Death Panel possibly spin this PR fiasco? Remember during the 2008 campaign how she claimed Bristol's situation demonstrated true family grit? Yeah, maybe for The Adams Family.

And now with Palin on the campaign trail once again, with self-righteous, morality-police guns ablaze, it's comic relief listening to her Tea Party drivel about family values and "taking back America" to the way our Founding Fathers would want it. But ya know what would really make the Founding Fathers heads spin? The Palin family's media-whorish, amoral behavior. You betchya!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Mama Grizzly's Cojones



Sarah Palin's mouth is an indisputable train wreck. The self-proclaimed Mama Grizzly over the weekend was at her rhetorical best yet again. Commenting on Fox News over Arizona’s controversial immigration law, The Wasila Wonder said that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) “has the cojones (balls) that our president does not have.” And make no mistake, if anyone should know about balls it's the Alaskan Tea Bagger.

The current midterm election landscape has been fertile ground for Palin who, without official political perch or requisite intelligence, has been mouthing off against everything from health care and financial reform to the $20-billion BP claims fund. She's become the Queen of the Party of Hell No, relishing her role as rabble-rouser-in-chief.

But the key question remains: outside of her hard-core right wing Tea Party groupies who salivate at her every word like she's the Depression-era FDR, can Mama Grizzly's inciting, divisive, substance-lacking rhetoric appeal to moderate Republicans and independents as the GOP works to regain control of Congress, or will her hate-speak turn off these all-important voters? So far, like her Tea Baggin' pals Michelle Bachmann, Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, Palin offers nothing meaningful to the debate and excites no one beyond her narrow-minded, race-baiting base.