What Sarah Failin' failed to realize is that fruit fly research could lead to breakthroughs for treating things like autism. This stunning mockery of sensible thought comes from the mother of a child with Down's syndrome, from a vice presidential candidate who claims she'll be a tireless advocate for special needs children across America.
If these right-wing fundamentalist end-times Luddite whack-jobs want to live in the Stone Age, I say we let them do it. But they have to leave the rest of us the hell alone.
Give them Alaska. Seriously. Let's allow the whole damned state of Alaska to secede. Call it Sarah Arabia and build an armed, electrified and razor-topped wall around the damn thing.
Why, Todd Palin will be so huntin' dawg happy he'll piss his seal-skin britches. As a member of the anti-American secessionist Alaskan Independence Party, that dog-sleddin' bastard's been praying for this for years. And Sarah can have her own little nation where she can rule her subjects with Biblical impunity and wage spiritual warfare to her heart's content. Aw, you betcha!
But we must impose the following condition: It will be illegal for any nation to export any scientific advances to Sarah Arabia. That includes any treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, cancer, PMS, anything. They don't even get Blu-Ray.
And no air-drops from Neiman Marcus. So hang onto that wardrobe, Sarah baby.
Palin's nomination as McCain's VP candidate and her popularity among the hardcore fundamentalist fringe highlights how desperate things have become for the splintered GOP. She is not only anti-intellectualism, she's about as anti-American a candidate as we've ever seen.
With less than a week until the election, one thing is clear. The fundamentalist Christianist fringe element must be excised from the Republican party for it to survive. Then and only then can traditional moderate sane conservatives reclaim their place in the American political landscape. Until that happens, the GOP is doomed to spend years in the wilderness. We the people simply cannot let them assume any kind of power if these are the idiots they want in charge of the country.
This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.
I'll add one more to this list: If you voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and/or 2004, a vote for Barack Obama might go a little way towards erasing that dark stain on your soul.
Here is a fantastic gallery of photos from the Obama campaign, taken by Callie Shell of Time. Click the "Show More Photos" link to reveal the full series. These scenes are inspiring, hopeful and honest -- emotions that never once emanated from the hateful and cynical McCain/Palin campaign.
But perhaps the most revealing of McCain's flip-flops was his
promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would "raise
the level of political dialogue in America." McCain pledged he
would "treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat
me with respect." Instead, with Rove protégé Steve
Schmidt at the helm, McCain has turned the campaign into a torrent
of debasing negativity, misrepresenting Barack Obama's positions on
everything from sex education for kindergarteners to middle-class
taxes. In September, in one of his most blatant embraces of
Rove-like tactics, McCain hired Tucker Eskew — one of Rove's
campaign operatives who smeared the senator and his family during
the 2000 campaign in South Carolina.
Many notable right-wingers see the folly of McCain-Palin and how that unholy pairing threatens to continue the failed policies of Bush-Cheney. Colin Powell, Scott McClellan, Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker and a host of others have endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. Some of the best cases against voting Republican are being made by party members sick and tired of seeing the GOP's tattered reputation run into the ground by the far-right fringe.
To wrest control of their party from the fanatics, they maintain that Republicans need to have their asses kicked this November. Then and only then can they rebuild from what's left. In all honesty, I wish them luck. I care for very little that the Republican party stands for (especially after the last eight years), but I'd rather have the GOP run by people who can think and speak knowledgeably about the world than the current bunch of clueless cronies.
First, they had their shot at holding power, and they failed.
They've failed in staying true to their principles of limited
government and free markets. They've failed in preventing elected
leaders of their party from becoming corrupted by the trappings of
power, and they've failed to hold those leaders accountable after the
fact. Congressional Republicans failed to rein in the Bush
administration's naked bid to vastly expand the power of the presidency
(a failure they're going to come to regret should Obama take office in
January). They failed to apply due scrutiny and skepticism to the
administration's claims before undertaking Congress' most solemn
task—sending the nation to war. I could go on.
As for the Bush administration, the only consistent principle
we've seen from the White House over the last eight years is that of
elevating the American president (and, I guess, the vice president) to
that of an elected dictator. That isn't hyperbole. This administration
believes that on any issue that can remotely be tied to foreign policy
or national security (and on quite a few other issues as well), the
president has boundless, limitless, unchecked power to do anything he
wants. They believe that on these matters, neither Congress nor the
courts can restrain him.
You and those joining you will also find yourselves discussing color,
lighting, shadows, construction, characters, dialogue, acting, history,
sources, influences, and messages both obvious and buried. Anything and
everything. It truly is a democracy in the dark. Everything worth
noticing on the screen will eventually be seen by somebody. For
example, I had been through "Citizen Kane" at least 30 times before I
took it to the Savannah Film Festival, and someone noticed a detail I
had never seen before.
Everybody's got their favorite movie car chase. Some people go straight for The French Connection. Others swear by Ronin or Vanishing Point or Mad Max II: The Road Warrior or Bullitt.
I've been thinking about car chases since I saw a screening last month of Steven Spielberg's first full-length film, Duel. The whole movie is one pulse-pounding car chase about a traveling salesman (played to nebbish perfection by Dennis Weaver) who finds himself pursued by the a psychotic driver of a big rig. Legendary screenwriter Richard Matheson was in attendance at this Writers Guild screening and afterward talked about the project and why it still ticks along like a finely-tuned engine.
Spielberg's later blockbuster, Jaws, would follow the same essential template as that of Duel. Both are simple, almost mythic tales of an average person facing off against an unstoppable killing machine. I recall watching Duel when it originally aired as a TV movie of the week in 1971. That mindless truck was at the time the scariest monster I'd ever seen. I don't think I'd watched this movie since in its entirety and, honestly, I was worried it wouldn't hold up that well. I'm thrilled to report that Duel still packs a primal wallop. It's lean and efficient storytelling, even with the extra 12 or so minutes Spielberg added for the film's overseas theatrical release. Grab the DVD and see for yourself why this killer thriller still resonates in today's pop culture.
Duel is certainly up there in the pantheon of great car chase movies. For my money, though, the car chase in Friedkin's 1985 cop thriller To Live and Die in L.A. is the most thrilling, unpredictable and increasingly suspenseful car chase ever filmed.
Based on a novel by Gerald Petievich, this garish and seedy flick sells itself like a slick hooker who's been up all night snorting rails and watching Miami Vice. The film's deep orange hues pulse like burnt neon -- the entire color palette will leave aftertrails on your eyelids. The thumping New Wave soundtrack by Wang Chung practically conjures its own pile of cocaine on your coffee table. That's a kind way of admitting that this movie's aesthetics are dated in many ways, but their cumulative effect is undeniable. You get a true sense of what it must've been like to surf the shiny edges of this L.A. world.
Friedkin's movie vibrates like a meth-head approaching the speed of light. It boldly features unsympathetic, corrupt lawmen decades before Shawn Ryan's TV series The Shield. And damn, that incredible car chase has always floored me. In it, two desperate Secret Service agents pull an audacious robbery designed to fund the
takedown of a major counterfeiter (played with sneering aplomb by
Willem Dafoe). As the agents speed away, things start going horribly wrong. And then they get
worse. Much worse.
Here's a great essay by Michael Crowley that pins down why this car chase takes your breath away:
Technically and artistically, every choice
Friedkin makes during this sequence is exceptional. The chase is slow
to develop. It’s not even clear that this is a car chase until after
it’s begun. The compositions are superb; the editing sparkles and is
frequently abstract. Friedkin even temporarily transfers the point of
view to the pursuers without any formal introduction or establishing
shots. By reusing set-ups, he induces a transitory sense that we are
seeing the same action twice, or that Chance is driving in circles
rather then being pursued. The rhythm of cuts and sounds as Friedkin
percolates between perspectives and omniscient compositions escalates
the sensual intensity ...
I love this essay because it recognizes so many things about this movie that even I hadn't noticed. But what it says about the centerpiece car chase is, like Duel, startling in its leanness, its efficiency. The car chase in To Live and Die in L.A. is not just an eye-popping series of slick stunt moves. It's not adrenalized action for the sake of action. In fact, it's not about the cars at all. It's about these downward spiraling lawmen and the events that brought them to this precipice and how it changes them. This is a car chase that serves as a searing cauldron for the characters.
Car chase as cauldron. Take a moment to just sit and think about that.
And here's something to think about for the script or story you're working on. If there's a scene that doesn't work in some way as a cauldron for your characters, be it a complex car chase or a simple dinner scene, what in the world is it doing there?
When future historians study why Sen. John McCain was so soundly crushed in the 2008 presidential election, cartoons like this one may serve to illustrate how his hate-filled rhetoric fueled even more vitriol from the far-right fringe of his misguided party ... and alienated a majority of voters who once might have supported him.