Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Useless celebrity of the month: Spike Lee

For many months now, I have been moving away from my previously much more frequent posts labeled "useless celebrity".  I had wondered, in a somewhat recent entry under this label, whether spotlighting celebrities for saying ill-informed things was rewarding them for their behavior; indeed, I didn't even name the celebrity who inspired that particular post, as he probably could have used the attention, and I did not wish to give any to him.

However, when a celebrity crosses the lines of decency and honor, they need to be called out and shamed, and, in my opinion, people who agree with me ought to decide not to patronize any of the celebrity's work until he apologizes for what he has done.

I refer here to Spike Lee, who, as many people know (and many more don't), retweeted what was purported to be the address of George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin.

(Aside:  I am not going to address anything further about the killing in this post.)

Notwithstanding that tweeting anyone's address is a violation of Twitter policies, and also notwithstanding that this would have been little other than inciting of confrontations even if it were Mr. Zimmerman's address, Mr. Lee (and many others) retweeted an address belonging to people entirely unrelated.

Per Fox News:

An elderly Florida couple have been forced to move into a hotel after their home address was wrongly tweeted as belonging to the man who shot teen Trayvon Martin.

The tweets were traced back to a man in California and the address was also reportedly retweeted by director Spike Lee to his almost 250,000 followers.

The couple, aged 70 and 72, have been harassed with hate mail, been hassled by media and had scared neighbors questioning them since the tweet, their son Chip Humble told the Orlando Sentinel.

Fearful for their safety, and hoping to escape the spotlight, the couple have temporarily moved to a hotel.

Well, at least there's a good reason for all this:

The confusion seems to stem from the fact the woman's son is named William George Zimmerman and he lived briefly at the address in 1995.

Way to do your research before doing something utterly stupid, unnamed California tweeter.  But I'm certain that once confronted with the error, the originator corrected it, right?

When William Zimmerman pleaded with the man who tweeted the address, the man responded, "Black power all day. No justice, no peace" along with an obscenity.

Oh.  Spike Lee, by the way, has had nothing to say about this in days.  Certainly he has not apologized to the terrorized couple as of this writing.  Now, he may have been distracted by the racial tweets some have directed at him (which, just to be clear, I do not condone in any way), but I think he owes something to this couple.  Perhaps seven figures' worth of something.

And until he makes this right (if he can), he is deserving of little more than scorn.  And maybe a little pity.

Update 3/28:  Spike Lee has apologized (hat tip to Jim Treacher).  But is it too little, too late?  I know the McClain family has already lawyered up, so I'd be surprised if this story ends here.

Update 3/29:   And he's settled with the McClains.  Good.  I'm glad he did.  I'm not so thrilled, however, at the original idea of tweeting out the address of anyone, killer or not.  And Mr. Lee is now paying for such stupidity.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bristol gets it: calling out hatred is not a one-way street

Bristol Palin, in only the third entry in her new blog, nails it in calling out President Obama for his selective treatment of women who have been publicly insulted.

Now, as I have previously said on my Facebook page, I am absolutely not excusing what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke.  Calling people out for their double standards and/or selective outrage does not excuse the person on my side who says something uncalled for.

Regardless, I think Bristol Palin has a singular vantage point to make her point, as she does in her post entitled "Mr. President, When Should I Expect Your Call?" (which, for those who have forgotten, refers to President Obama's call of consolation, or something, to Ms. Fluke):

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said.  “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture.  I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung.  Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family.  He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.”  (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)

Now, unless I'm quite mistaken, Miss Palin, despite her status as the daughter of a public figure, was not herself a public figure when the insults against her began.  (Obviously that has changed at this point.)  Ms. Fluke, on the other hand, put herself out in front of a faux Congressional hearing and said what she said, and I see a huge difference there.

Again:  none of this excuses any of the comments made about either one.  As I have also acknowledged on my Facebook page, I used the word "slut" once on this blog, in reference to a celebrity, and I regret that statement.

And I do know that then-candidate Barack Obama basically said that Bristol's then-pregnancy should be kept off-limits.  And that is good.  However, a lot of people who revere President Obama totally disregarded that statement from him then, and, really, for the four years since. 

Let's face it:  Bristol Palin has received a lot of hatred ever since John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate.  Most of this hatred has been because of either her mother or her child.  And she is right to call on the president to make a statement about the insults she has received, and to call for civility toward all women, or, really, all people.  As she says:  "After all, you’re President of all Americans, not just the liberals."  Well stated.  And well worth a read.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Game Change: a hit piece masquerading as truth

Tonight, HBO will air what they believe to be a blockbuster-type movie, "Game Change".  As most people know by now, "Game Change" the movie ignores well over two-thirds of what was covered in the original book.

The original book had a fascinating portion about the 2008 Democratic presidential primary season, covering the implosion of John Edwards, the absolute mismanagement of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and the rise to prominence of Barack Obama.  There were literally hundreds of pages of material detailing how, for example, even when Senator Clinton's campaign appeared to be doing well, it was still reeling.  There were several moments when the Obama campaign was stressing over issues as well.  Brought to life on the small screen, it would truly have been must-see TV*.

But no, HBO and the makers of "Game Change" decided that the portion of the book that needed to be brought to life the most was the portion involving Sarah Palin.  And why not; the conventional wisdom when this movie was commissioned was that Governor Palin would be a huge factor, if not the front-runner, in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.  And HBO planned for maximum exposure for their movie, scheduling it to air the Saturday after Super Tuesday, when, they were sure, Governor Palin would have had a huge day.

And why?  Because they planned to kill her campaign with this movie.

This movie, as has been reported in many places, showcases a fictional version of Sarah Palin who couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted her the C and the A.  Gone is the fighter who took on corruption in both parties, instead, you can find, as John Nolte discovered (to his disgust), some "cold, snippy, power-hungry and cruel" two-dimensional character who "is 'flipping' fascinated to discover Germany was our enemy during the world war", who "had no idea in 2008 that England has a prime minister", and who was "shocked to learn Saddam Hussein wasn't behind 9/11, [needed] a flashcard to memorize what NAFTA is and [had] never heard of the Federal Reserve."

Monica Crowley had little good to say about it or its network either:

The film centers on Palin's selection as John McCain's VP and what a "huge mistake" it was, because, you know, she was such a Big Dummy. There's a brief mention of how McCain actually went into the lead over Obama by about 5 points after her selection and dynamite convention speech. But other that that, she's cast as the sole reason McCain lost. (Never mind that McCain was a terrible candidate, wouldn't go full-frontal against Obama, and that the entire global economy was collapsing. No, it was Palin who single-handedly lost the election for the ticket.)

Her conservative values are mocked, from her belief in limited government to her faith in God. Each time she prayed in the film, the leftwing elites around me in the theater laughed at her. But really, they were laughing at US. This is what they really think of us. This is what Obama thinks of us: "bitter clingers," and all that.

But who is really surprised by this type of treatment given Sarah Palin by HBO?  This is a movie in which the principal stars and executives have given over $200,000 to Democratic causes and absolutely nothing to Republicans.  This is a movie with an executive producer (you might have heard of him...his name is Tom Hanks) refused even to take a copy of a much truer movie about Sarah Palin entitled "The Undefeated".  Oh, and this is indeed the same Tom Hanks who can currently be heard narrating a Obama 2012 campaign video.  Certainly he would produce an impartial movie about his preferred candidate's potential opposition, right?  Don't make me laugh.

But I think the best response to this work of fiction came from SarahPAC:

Bottom line:  "Game Change" on HBO is not worth your time or attention.  Give it a pass, and while you're at it, you might evaluate whether HBO is truly geared toward someone on your side of the political aisle.

p.s.  If you have not seen "The Undefeated", you can check it out tomorrow night on ReelzChannel, or you can buy it right here**:

And, for those interested in the original "Game Change" book, you can purchase that here**:

* I hope I can use that phrase without running afoul of any trademarks.  I know NBC Thursday nights certainly don't deserve it anymore.

** As with all Amazon links on this blog, I get a pittance from all sales.  PLEASE BUY SOMETHING!

A visit to the Alamo (on Slaughter Lane)

As most people in the greater Southwest Austin area know, the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane (at Slaughter and Mopac) opened on Thursday.  Mrs. Snowed and I were fortunate enough to attend one of the preview/training shows earlier this week, and, for the most part, we were happy with what we saw.

The inside of the theater itself was quite attractive and inviting.  The tables are quite different from any other location; instead of the long tables running across the whole row, pairs of seats get one small table.  This worked out just fine for the two of us (though I'm not sure how that would work for an odd-numbered party).  The seats were very comfortable.  The only concern with the design was that, as with many theaters, a loud enough sound from the adjoining theater could be heard in ours, though it certainly was not too terribly distracting from our movie.

The food, of course, was excellent.  Honestly, I've never had a meal at an Alamo Drafthouse that wasn't very good.  The only thing that we noticed was that there seems to be a dearth of gluten-free options (though, as we discovered, more than one menu option becomes gluten-free simply by removing the bread on the side--the menu does not make this terribly clear).  The waitstaff was helpful in guiding those of us with food allergies to good choices.  There were moments when we were reminded that this was a training screening, but overall the staff was top-notch.

The one huge concern for this location is the parking.  Parkside Village, the shopping center Alamo anchors, is managed by Stratus Properties, which has been a presence in Austin for a while, and so I'm sure they ensure that the proper amount of parking is provided for all their properties.  The City of Austin, of course, requires a fair amount of paperwork in site packages to guarantee this.  I therefore have to assume that the amount of parking is adequate to satisfy these requirements.  Alamo's website itself states confidently, "There will be ample parking day and night in the surface parking lot."  With that said, though, we saw many, many people who had been forced to park all the way at Slaughter, a distance of at least 500 feet from the front doors.  Now, we did notice that a few parking spots were blocked by construction equipment, but not enough were blocked to have housed all the people who had to park far away from the building.  Given that some of the other tenants at Parkside Village (such as, say, the AT&T Store by which many of the aforementioned people parked) have not completed their finish-outs, I believe that parking will be a major concern at this location, more than any other non-downtown location in Austin (and I say this after having dealt more than once with the not-so-great parking at the South Lamar location).

Don't let that stop you from checking the Alamo Slaughter Lane out.  Just add a few extra minutes on the front end to drive around the lot.  The movie and dining experience, once you get inside, will more than make up for it.

(Full disclosure:  I have worked for a company that did business with the Alamo Drafthouse.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Facebook posts: 3/5/2012

For those who need the reminder, this blog has a public Facebook page.  It now also has a easy-to-remember URL:

Since I've gotten more in the habit of posting links to my Facebook page (articles that interest me but about which I do not have time to write a decent entry), I figured I would compile those links here for your benefit (along with the comments I posted on the FB page).  And I'll also include further cajoling to like said Facebook page, or maybe hit the tip jar, or something.

On Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke, and selective outrage:

  • Rally for Rush:  This isn't about a personal attack (or these same people would be concerned with similar personal attacks by liberals toward conservative women); this is about a coordinated effort to destroy Rush Limbaugh.
  • A little discussion on my wall:  A question to those who are bent on getting Rush off the air: were you similarly upset when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut, or when Bill Maher repeatedly called Sarah Palin the c-word, or in many, many other similar liberals-insulting-conservative-women situations
  • The left's respect for women: a look back:  Language warnings apply.
  • Where's My Presidential Phone Call?  "The media played up a carefully orchestrated story designed to shield the President from criticism that his health care mandate was a violation of religious freedom. Why is that not a story? Because if the Obama campaign slips and allows this election cycle to refocus on the economy, he will lose." Dana Loesch nails it.
  • AOL Drops Rush for “Slut” Remark, But Allows This? Hypocrites.  More selective outrage.

Various and sundry other stuff:

Be sure to like my page, so you can see these links when I post them.  Thanks.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Andrew Breitbart, 1969-2012

Like most ardent followers of American politics, I was completely shocked to hear this morning of the very sudden death of Andrew Breitbart.  Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Mr. Breitbart had an impact on the American political scene. From his early days with the Drudge Report to now, he had a hand in shaping the conversation.  Now, I certainly did not agree with everything he said or did (two quick examples:  dancing on Ted Kennedy's grave, even if he seemingly left a woman to die; and his habit of retweeting every piece of hatred directed at him), but to say that he did not make a difference would be silly.  One only needs to look at all the filth and vileness spewed by some people since the announcement of Mr. Breitbart's death was made to see that he had an impact.

And what was that impact?  For many conservatives, it was the inspiration not to sit back and take what some on the left have been dishing out for so long (aided and abetted by certain media outlets, of course), but to speak out for what is true and what is right.  While he will be missed, he has left more than a few people ready to step up to continue where he left off.

As an example of how he inspired many is his CPAC speech from just three weeks ago, courtesy Mediaite (h/t The Right Scoop) (language warning applies):

While I never met him, many people I have met online considered him a friend as well as an inspiration, and my thoughts go out to them, as well as his wife and four children.  Godspeed, Mr. Breitbart.