Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SILENT NIGHT

This is my favorite Christmas song, sung by my favorite singer, set to pictures of my favorite people.

CHRISTMAS EVE - 1963

The video below is from Christmas Eve 1963 at 2288 Beckley Rd. My God, that is 46 years ago and I was 2 1/2.

Each year Grandpa Willi would disappear to go feed the horses - always just missing Santa Claus.

I have noticed in most of the movies I had recently watched, the evening always ends with me doing the twist.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

THE GOLDEN GLOBES GIVE IT UP FOR GLEE

What do you get when you cross clever dialogue (everything out Jane Lynch's- Sue Sylvester's - mouth), crazy situations (Will's wife's fake pregnancy), great vocals (Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele) and some of the best songs of the past 40 years - Don't Rain on My Parade)?

The answer is : GLEE!!!!

And today they were all nominated for the Golden Globes... Best Comedy, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress....

Congratulations and I cannot wait for your return in APRIL.........

Monday, December 14, 2009

SCHWETTY BALLS



Since I first posted this two years ago the clip has been removed from Blip.TV and Youtube. It is now only hosted at Hulu.

This is my favorite SNL skit and it is so appropriate since it is the holiday season and all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

MANY AMERICANS TOO FAT TO COMMIT SUICIDE


LOS ANGELES—A report published Monday in The New England Journal of Medicine warns that the nation's obesity epidemic has reached a new level of crisis, with many overweight Americans' increased girth rendering them physically unable to end their own, fat lives.

"We've known for some time that obesity can cause heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and other potentially life-threatening illnesses," said report author Dr. Marjorie Reese, director of UCLA's Obesity Pathology Clinic. "But the fact that obesity impedes suicide is truly troubling. It appears that the more reason people have to die, the less capable they are of doing so. They are literally trapped in their grotesque, blubbery bodies."

Of the one-third of Americans classified as obese, the report estimated 29 percent are too heavy, immobile, or both for suicide to be a viable option. This figure is up from 18 percent in 1996.

A full 70 pages of the report focus on suicide methods that are taken for granted by persons of normal weight but often present insurmountable challenges to their corpulent counter- parts.

For example, hanging oneself is most often out of the question. The report notes that a disturbing percentage of the obese are too large to ascend a footstool, too inflexible to kick it out from under them, and even if they could, are too heavy to remain atop it long enough to put their giant, flabby necks through a noose before the footstool shatters into splinters under their massive girth. Plus, as Reese writes, "even if all other variables were eliminated, the weight of these enormous individuals would probably break any indoor light fixtures or attic roof supports to which they might tie a rope."

Overdosing on narcotics is also impossible, according to Reese.

"Body fat absorbs toxins, so fat people simply cannot ingest enough bottles of sleeping pills to have any effect, much less stop their hearts," Reese said. "And slitting one's wrists in the bathtub is not an option if you can't find a butcher knife thick enough to reach the arteries under your rolls of wrist flab, or can't fit into the bathtub in the first place. All the self-loathing in the world is not going to help the obese get their meaty index fingers through the trigger guard, nor give them the flexibility to raise the pistol to their head. It's heartbreaking."

The report included detailed illustrations of extremely overweight people unable to bend over far enough to fit their heads into ovens, bobbing like corks while attempting to drown themselves, and becoming too winded scaling stairs to reach heights from which they could hurl their enormous bulk with fatal results. Another researcher at the Obesity Pathology Clinic has developed a computer model which demonstrates that even if the obese were able to jump off a skyscraper, their bodies would be "more likely to bounce than splat."

Yet health experts say that there is hope for these hulking individuals.

"The fat need to improve their eating habits and commit to a modest exercise regimen, even if it starts with just walking from room to room inside their houses," said Dianne Evans, a specialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health. "If they keep that up for six to 12 months, most of these people could lose enough weight to be able to kill themselves with relative ease."

But Evans warned that losing too much weight too fast could have serious repercussions.

"What you want to avoid is a situation where someone comes down from 320 pounds to 240 in the span of a single year, and suddenly does not have the suicidal urges they once did," said Evans, who explained that the "sweet spot" of self-hatred and physical suicidal ability is extremely small. "If they mistake their all-but-meaningless improvement for a legitimate reason to live, their fat, revolting lives may be prolonged indefinitely.

The above is courtsey of The Onion News Network.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BOLOGNESE RAGU ALA FETTIT



When I arrived home tonight, fresh vegetables were sauteing and Fettit was elbow deep in ground turkey, sausage, beef and chicken livers. Why you ask?

He was making Bolognese Ragu.

Fettit was trying to recreate the meal we had last night at Giuseppe's on 28th, a non-descript, tiny restaurant in a strip mall not far from the house. You wouldn't even give the place a second glance if it wasn't for the three by ten foot banner that hangs in front of the place like a beacon that states "AS SEEN ON FOOD NETWORK'S DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES."

In the end he was successful. His Bolognese Ragu was every bit as good as Richard Bock's, the owner of Giuseppe's on 28th - only with more meat.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ALL THESE BOOKS ARE CONFUSING ME

I just finished updating the "Books I am Reading" and I realized that I am in the middle of five very different books. Oh wait, it is actually only four:

Four weeks ago, or so, I was at Sam's Club and I picked up South of Broad by Pat Conroy. I hadn't been reading for several months and I found I couldn't put the book down and once I was completed I decided I needed something to replace it with so I got Rainwater by Sandra Brown.

I was enjoying it but one a trip to the store I saw Why We Suck by Dennis Leary and Knock Out (Curing Cancer) by Suzanne Somers. I purchased both of them and started reading both, even though I wasn't finished with Rainwater.

Last week while listening to Rosie O'Donnell on her new Sirius/XM radio show "Rosie Radio," she mentioned The Velvet Rage (Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World) by Alan Downs so I immediately went to Amazon.com and found the book, in hard cover, for only $4.99. I placed an order and it arrived yesterday. I am now about 1/6th of the way through it.

In a single day I will pick up each of them at various times through the day and read a few pages. By the time I fall asleep each night I am confused as hell.

I now think that gays are curing cancer and Suzanne Somers is funny as hell in a straight man's world.

Add to the mix Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Fortunately it sits on my bed stand and I haven't confused myself further - I have not even cracked the binding.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

STILL GAGA FOR THE LADY - AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS 2009

I started to rate the individual performances from tonight's American Music Awards show on ABC, but found I was too tired, uninspired and unentertained to do so.

Instead I want to point out that I enjoyed the showmanship of the Adam Lambert finale and unlike all the nay sayers I have read on the internet in the past hour, I do not believe his career is over before it started.

Although I am not a fan of screamers, the boy is talented and self-possessed and I am fan just for those reasons and I hope he stays true to himself and his instincts.

My favorite performance of the evening belongs to my new favorite performer Lady Gaga.

A complete original, Lady Gaga blended song and dramatics for a performance that was theatrical, artistic, and entertaining unlike the those the lip syncers (Janet and J Lo). Did anyone see J-Ho fall on her overrated behind?

Below is Lady Gaga's performance at the show.



I just found Adam Lambert's adult rated performance and like the Lady Gaga video, the quality is crap, but it will give you an idea.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The FETTIT'S 5TH ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY - 2009

I am sorry it has taken me so long to get this video posted but my computer has been in the shop for repair since October 20th and I just got it back last night.

On October 24th, 2009 we held our 5th Annual Halloween Party and it was a huge success - every year it seems to get bigger and better and this year my estimate is about 130 people joined us throughout the evening.

The ISM and Brad brought 12 or so highly energetic ladies from the Great Lakes State, and they were joined by Fettit's sisters - Cny-dy and Mar-y from Michigan, and Donna Jean from Salt Lake City.

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did and I am already starting to plan the next event - the 2nd annual Ghetto and Gowns Gala which coincides with Academy Awards telecast being held March 7th, 2010.

I would like to the thank the extra efforts of the Motown Librarians (that includes you too DJ), my son-in-law Jon and daughter Michelle, and the Conforti-Willey's, for all the help and effort they put forth to ensure the party was a huge success.

I am very appreciative of the friends who make it a point to be here each year, even if it is the one time of year we have a chance to get together, and this year we were joined by several new additions (you know who you are) who fit in so well and kept me laughing throughout the evening. Thanks again everyone for making the party such a success.

For those who forgot to sign the guest book and would like an invite next year, please shoot me an email - Gpawilli@aol.com.

Enjoy the video.

Friday, November 13, 2009

BREAKING NEWS - BOY SWIMS WITH T-SHIRT ON

Sometimes I feel I have to educate the world on new and exciting breakthroughs. I guess that is the role I am meant to play since certain subjects and topics are not covered by the "elite" mainstream media.

I found this ground-breaking clip when I discovered the previous one - "De-fagging Your Effeminate Son" and knew I had to post it.


Fat Kid Successfully Avoids Ridicule By Swimming With Shirt On

Saturday, November 7, 2009

DE-FAGGING YOUR EFFEMINATE SON FOR HALLOWEEN

Unfortunately, I found this informative news clip a a tad late, but perhaps you can keep these costumes in mind for next year when your little sissy son wants to dress up like Cher for Halloween.

This is a very helpful segment and I only wish my parents had made me dress up as a fierce soldier with my hands wrapped around a big gun.



How To Find A Masculine Halloween Costume For Your Effeminate Son

My Halloween video coming as soon as my computer returns from the shop............

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LAPTOP STILL IN THE SHOP

I will update the site as soon as I get my laptop back from the shop.

The Halloween Party was a major success and I have tons of photos and will be making the annual video...again... when my computer is returned.

Friday, October 23, 2009

HALLOWEEN PARTY TOMORROW NIGHT

My feet are killing me, my nerves are frazzled and there is still more to do.

Tomorrow is our annual Halloween Party and for the past four days I have done nothing but eat, drink and sleep party preparation. These things to not plan themselves and the menu does not appear from thin air.

I am one of those that does not want to go to Costco or Sam's and buy everything pre-made so today I spent the day making 100 or so jello shots, surprisingly around the same number of spinach balls (a new find suggested by my mother), a vat of my crab dip (which I love and goes over big every time), and a few dozen mini puff pastry quiches (from scratch).

Tomorrow is more mini quiches, meatballs, queso dip and God knows what else, and the Conforti-Wileys will be slaving over a hot stove (and grill) making several dozen hot wings.

The menu includes even more then the items I mentioned and it is all inventoried on a legal pad that I have written, crossed out and re-written several times. I feel like Santa Claus, in more ways then one.

There is still a ton of work to be done on the back patio and new bar area but fortunately we have three out of town elves (Fettit's sisters) who have been incredibly helpful while Fettit spends countless days fretting over baseboards that looked fine, and reseeding and planting the front yard that no one will see in the dark.

Our priorities never align when it comes to parties - especially ones of this size, but I am calling it quits tomorrow at 5 pm to start my annual transformation.

In addition to Fettit's three sisters, his niece arrived today, and the ISM has flown into town from Michigan with a crew of 15 or so costumed crazies - several of whom were here last year as well.

Below is the video of last year's party which included close to 100 throughout the evening. Although I do not have an estimate for this year I do not think it would be a stretch to say we will see at least 130 costumed freaks.

Enjoy last year's video and start looking for the new one in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WEEK ENDING OCT 4, 2009: A DEBUT LIKE BUTTAH!

The following was posted October 7th, 2009 by Paul Frein in Chart Watch:

Barbra Streisand's Love Is The Answer enters The Billboard 200 at #1, edging out Paramore's Brand New Eyes, which bows at #2. The two albums were separated by fewer than 5,000 copies, which means that Streisand's uncharacteristic promotional hustle probably made the difference. She appeared on Oprah, CBS's Sunday Morning and NBC's Today. This was the closest race for #1 by two debuting albums since April, when Keith Urban's Defying Gravity beat out Prince/Bria Valente's Lotus Flow3r/MPLSoUND/Elix3r by a little more than 3,000 units.

By hitting #1, Streisand sets all kinds of records. The diva has had at least one #1 album in each of the last five decades. No other individual artist equals this feat, though John Lennon and Paul McCartney manage it if you combine albums by The Beatles with their individual work. (The Beatles didn't have a #1 album in the ‘80s, but Lennon and McCartney did on their own.)

Streisand, who is 67 and six months, is the second oldest artist ever to have a #1 album on The Billboard 200. Bob Dylan scored in May, a week before he turned 68, with Together Through Life. Streisand's one-time duet partner Neil Diamond is the third-oldest artist to land a #1 album. He was 67 and four months in May 2008 when he scored with Home Before Dark.

Love Is The Answer is Streisand's ninth #1 album, a total equaled by only five other artists in chart history. The Beatles lead the pack with 19 #1 albums, followed by Jay-Z with 11, Elvis Presley with 10, and The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, who also have nine.

Streisand scored her first #1 album, People, in October 1964. This gives her a nearly 45 year span of #1 albums. Only one artist in chart history, Elvis Presley, has had a longer span of #1 albums. The King first topped the chart with Elvis Presley in May 1956 and scored most recently in October 2002 with Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits, giving him a span of nearly 46 years and six months.

Shameless Plug: On Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I count down all acts whose #1 albums span 20 years or more. I've given you the top two, but who are the other acts who made the list? Check back Friday and see.

While the overall race between Streisand and Paramore was close, it was a runaway in the digital realm, with Paramore on top. Brand New Eyes sold nearly 73,000 digital copies (out of a total of 175,000), which made it the week's #1 Digital Album. Love Is The Answer sold a mere 8,000 digital copies (out of 180,000). Streisand's fans are old-school and want to have it and hold it, thank you very much.

Brand New Eyes is Paramore's biggest hit to date. The group's last album, RIOT!, debuted at #20 in June 2007 and later peaked at #15. The album spawned the top 40 hit "Misery Business." Paramore is fronted by 20-year old Hayley Williams. (As it happens, Streisand was 20 when she first hit The Billboard 200 in July 1962 as part of the Broadway cast album to I Can Get It For You Wholesale.)

Paramore also bested Streisand in the U.K. Brand New Eyes debuts at #1 in the U.K. Love Is The Answer opens at #4 there. This is Paramore's first British #1. Streisand has topped the chart five times there, most recently with 2002's The Essential Barbra Streisand.

As for the other superstar divas, Mariah Carey's Memoirs Of A Perfect Angel debuts at #3, and Madonna's Celebration bows at #7.

Streisand, Madonna and Carey are the three female artists with the most #1 albums in chart history (nine, seven and six, respectively). They are also the three female artists with the most top 10 albums. Love Is The Answer is Streisand's 30th album to make the top 10. Celebration is Madonna's 18th. Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel is Carey's 15th.

Among all artists, Streisand is now in a tie for third place (with the Beatles) for most top 10 albums since Billboard introduced its album chart in March 1945. Frank Sinatra has had 40. The Rolling Stones have had 36.

Diana Krall, who had a #3 album in April with Quiet Nights, produced Streisand's album. This isn't the first time that Streisand has had a hit album that was produced by a successful artist. Barry Gibb co-produced her 1980 blockbuster Guilty and produced the 2005 sequel, Guilty Pleasures.

(The title, Love Is The Answer, is drawn from the song "Make Someone Happy." The warm ballad, which was written for the Broadway musical Do Re Mi, was a Grammy finalist for Song of the Year in 1961.)

Memoir Of An Imperfect Angel is Carey's 10th regular studio album. All have reached #4 or higher on The Billboard 200. Still, Carey is bound to be disappointed by this debut. Her last two studio albums, The Emancipation Of Mimi and E=MC2, both debuted at #1, with first-week sales of more than 400,000 copies. The new album starts with sales of 168,000.

Three rock or hard-rock bands enter the top 10 this week opposite all the divas. In addition to Paramore, we have Breaking Benjamin at #4 and Alice In Chains at #5. Alice In Chains' album, Black Gives Way To Blue, deserves special mention. It's the group's first studio album in nearly 14 years. It's also the group's first release with new lead singer William DuVall, who replaced original front-man Layne Staley in 2006. (Staley died of a drug overdose in 2002).

Eight albums debut in the top 10 this week, a new record. Sales were brisk this week. The week's #9 album (Selena Gomez & the Scene's Kiss & Tell) sold 66,000 copies. That's more than the #1 album (Taylor Swift's Fearless) sold in three different weeks back in January and February.

Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A." was the best-selling digital song in the country for the sixth week. The tune sold 177,000 downloads, lifting its eight-week total over the 1.5 million mark. It's the first song by a female solo artist to top the Digital Songs chart for six weeks since Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" in June and July 2008. "Party" hasn't had nearly as much cultural impact as the Perry hit, but there you are. (Cyrus also has the weeks' #1 theatrical movie soundtrack, Hannah Montana: The Movie, for the 26th time in the past 28 weeks.)

And you had to know I'd work this in somehow: Paramore's new album has a butterfly on the cover. Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand both had hit albums titled Butterfly. (Actually, the band has more in common with Heart, which had a hit album titled Dog & Butterfly.)

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums:

1. Barbra Streisand, Love Is The Answer, 180,000. This new album beat initial sales projections. The advance word was that it would probably debut at #3 with sales in the range of 155,000. Sales through Starbucks, QVC and Streisand's own website added to the total.

2. Paramore, Brand New Eyes, 175,000. This new entry is the group's first top 10 album. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Careful," which debuts at #38.

3. Mariah Carey, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, 168,000. This new entry is Carey's 11th album to reach the top three. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Obsessed," which jumps from #14 to #9.

4. Breaking Benjamin, Dear Agony, 134,000. This new entry is the group's second top five album in a row. Phobia hit #2 in 2006. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "I Will Not Bow," which drops from #52 to #75.

5. Alice In Chains, Black Gives Way To Blue, 126,000. This new entry is the group's fifth top 10 album; its highest-charting release since MTV Unplugged hit #3 in 1996. "Check My Brain" dips from #171 to #173 on Hot Digital Songs.

6. Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3, 89,000. The former #1 album slips from #2 to #6 in its fourth week. Two songs from the album are listed in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. "Run This Town" (featuring Rihanna and Kanye West) dips from #6 to #7. "Empire State Of Mind" (with Alicia Keys) dips from #7 to #8.

7. Madonna, Celebration, 72,000. This new entry is Madonna's fourth greatest hits album to reach the top 10, following The Immaculate Collection, the ballad compilation Something To Remember and GHV2: Greatest Hits Volume 2. "Revolver" enters Hot Digital Songs at #114.

8. Miranda Lambert, Revolution, 66,000. This new entry is the country singer's second top 10 album in a row. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend debuted at #6 in May 2007. The new album also enters Top Country Albums at #1, dislodging Taylor Swift's Fearless from the top spot. "White Liar" enters Hot Digital Songs at #105.

9. Selena Gomez & the Scene, Kiss & Tell, 66,000. This new entry is the first album by the star of the Disney Channel's The Wizards Of Waverly Place. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Falling Down," which leaps from #59 to #41.

10. Pearl Jam, Backspacing, 58,000. The album drops from #1 to #10 in its second week. It's the biggest tumble from the top spot since Sugarland's Live On The Inside fell from #1 to #11 in August. "The Fixer" drops from #40 to #60 on Hot Digital Songs.

Eight albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Three Days Grace's Life Starts Now falls from #3 to #17, Whitney Houston's I Look To You drops from #4 to #13, Miley Cyrus' The Time Of Our Lives drops from #5 to #11, Brand New's Daisy plummets from #6 to #44, Five Finger Death Punch's War Is The Answer drops from #7 to #30, Harry Connick Jr.'s Your Songs falls from #8 to #14, Drake's So Far Gone falls from #9 to #20, and Muse's The Resistance falls from #10 to #25.

For the first time in 15 weeks, the top 10 on The Billboard 200 contains all 10 of the best-selling albums in the country. Has Billboard revised its controversial policy of excluding catalog albums from the top 10? Alas, no. This week's flood of debuts simply pushed the top catalog title, Michael Jackson's Number Ones, out of the 10 best-sellers. The compilation sold 32,000 copies this week and would have ranked #19 on the big chart if catalog albums were eligible to compete there.

AFI's Crash Love bows at #12. The band's last two studio albums made the top 10. Sing The Sorrow reached #5 in 2003. Decemberunderground hit #1 in 2006.
Dethklok's Dethalbum II bows at #15. This beats the initial Dethalbum, which debuted (and peaked) at #21 in September 2007. Dethklok is the death metal band in Metalocalypse, an animated cartoon series on the Adult Swim TV network.
Avett Brothers' I And Love And You opens at #16. The Americana/roots-rock group features brothers Seth and Scott Avett. This is by far the group's highest-charting album to date. Second Gleam reached #82 in July 2008. Rick Rubin produced the new album.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's God & Guns bows at #18. This is the Southern rock band's ninth top 20 album. The band had seven consecutive top 20 albums in the ‘70s and returned to the top 20 in 2003 with Thyrty-The 30th Anniversary Collection. Kid Rock's 2008 smash "All Summer Long," which featured a good chunk of Lynyrd Skynyrd's anthem "Sweet Home Alabama," doubtless introduced the band to a new generation of fans.

Jordin Sparks has a double dose of good news this week. Her current hit, "Battlefield," tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads, and her 2007 hit, "Tattoo," tops the 2 million mark. "Tattoo" is Sparks' second song to top the 2 million download mark, following "No Air," her 2008 collaboration with Chris Brown. Jordin is only the second American Idol alumnus to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads with two songs. Kelly Clarkson was the first to do it. Carrie Underwood and Daughtry each have one song above 2 million.

"American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. The zesty tune was a Grammy nominee for Song of the Year earlier this year. "It's a happy song," Estelle told Paul Zollo in his annual roundup of the Song of the Year nominees for the Grammy program book. "It brings you back to like a 1970s roller-skating vibe; to being a kid." West has topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads with four of his own hits, "Stronger," "Heartless," "Love Lockdown" and "Gold Digger" (featuring Jamie Foxx).

Eleven songs from Glee are listed on Hot Digital Songs. This week's highest-ranking Glee entry is their rendition of Queen's 1976 hit "Somebody To Love" at #10. Who knew this whole Glee thing would be so big?

Heads Up: Michael Buble will storm next week's chart with Crazy Love, his bid to broaden his appeal beyond the modern-day Sinatra image he had honed. Buble's last studio album, Call Me Irresponsible, hit #1. (So the old image was working pretty well.) Two other artists who have had #1 albums are due next week. Toby Keith will be back with American Ride; Backstreet Boys with This Is Us. Also due: Tokio Hotel's Humanoid, Kiss' Sonic Boom (a Wal-Mart exclusive), Relient K's Forget And Not Slow Down, Air's Love 2, Brandi Carlile's Give Up The Ghost, Bebe & Cece Winans' Still and Fat Joe's Jealous Ones Still Envy. There will also be two holiday albums: Now That's What I Call A Country Christmas and the Irish Tenors' Christmas.

BARBRA STREISAND SURPRISES WITH 9TH NO. 1 ON BILLBOARD 200

Below is the article from Billboard.com confirming the news that Barbra Streisand's "Love is the Answer" debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Album Charts:

While many were focused on a battle between Paramore's "Brand New Eyes" and Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" for the top slot on the Billboard 200 this week, Barbra Streisand trumps them both. "Love Is the Answer" earns Streisand her ninth No. 1 on the chart, opening with 180,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The debut extends Streisand's lead as the female act with the most No. 1s in the history of the Billboard 200. It's also the her best sales week and highest charting album since 1997, when "Higher Ground" started at No. 1 with 207,000.

"Answer" beats the arrivals of Paramore's "Brand New Eyes," which enters at No. 2 with 175,000, and Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," arriving at No. 3 with 168,000. First-week sales projections had estimated that Paramore would finish ahead of the two divas. As it turns out, Streisand surprised many with how well her album sold in non-traditional ways -- such as through Starbucks, QVC and via her Web site -- and that likely threw a wrench into forecasting sales.

"Brand New Eyes" gives Paramore its best sales week and highest charting album ever. The band's sophomore album, "Riot!," peaked at No. 15 in 2007. "Eyes" also starts at No. 1 on the Top Digital Albums tally with a whopping 73,000 downloads.

Carey's "Memoirs" begins its Billboard 200 life with 168,000 -- off quite a bit from the opening of her last set, 2008's "E=MC2." The latter effort bowed at No. 1 with 463,000, her biggest first-week sum ever.

Those titles are just three of the record-breaking eight entries in the top 10. Rock band Breaking Benjamin's "Dear Agony" arrives at No. 4 with the act's best sales week -- 134,000. It's the Hollywood Records band's first release since 2006's "Phobia" debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 125,000.

Alice in Chains visits the top 10 for the first time since 1996 as its new album, "Black Gives Way to Blue," bows at No. 5 with 126,000. The album is the band's first with new vocalist William DuVall, who replaced the band's late frontman Layne Staley in 2006.

Madonna's new greatest hits set, "Celebration," starts the party at No. 7 this week with 72,000. Rounding out the top 10 entries are Miranda Lambert's third album, "Revolution" (No. 8 with 66,000) and Selena Gomez and the Scene's "Kiss and Tell," which debuts just a little behind Lambert's sum at No. 9 with 66,000. Only two albums in this week's top 10 also appeared on last week's chart: Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" falls from No. 1 to No. 10 with 58,000 (down 69%) while Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" drops from No. 2 to No. 6 with 89,000 (down 34%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Oct. 4) totaled 6.87 million units, up 16% compared to the sum last week (5.93 million) and down 8% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (7.50 million). Year to date album sales stand at 263.4 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (305.3 million).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

LOVE IS THE ANSWER DEBUTS AT #1



Billboard has just announced that "Love is the Answer," the new jazz-infused album by Barbra Streisand debuts at #1 this week. This makes Barbra the ONLY recording artist (whether male, female or group) to have a number #1 album in five consecutive (or non-consecutive) decades.

In 1968, the first song Barbra sang in her film debut, "Funny Girl" was the prophetic "I Am the Greatest Star," and it is as true today as it was more then forty years ago. Having been the only artist to ever have a #1 album in four decades, she has now topped herself.

CONGRATULATIONS BARBRA!

LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE

My stranger-friend, Rosie O'Donnell is currently starring alongside Tyne Daley (among others) in Love, Loss and What I Wore. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it east before it is either closed or she is has moved on.

SOME NAMES IN THE NEWS



ROMAN POLANSKI

There has been so much made of Roman Polanski's "capture" in Switzerland and I think who really cares? Put the criminal, who admitted to the crime a thousand years ago, in jail and let's move on. I don't care that he is a famous film-maker. You drug and rape a 13 year old, you go to jail.

DAVID LETTERMAN

So David Letterman slept with a few women who work for him - is he a congressmen, a senator or a member of the clergy? No, he is a comedian. The only person who should care about this is his wife. No one was forced to do anything - it is no one's business.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Phew, she isn't going to kill herself over the unexpected death of her friend Michael Jackson. Oh thank God! I feel so much better knowing that. I was really worried - pause - NOT! Does anyone really believe this crap that is put out there? Yes... I actually have had family members tell me things they have read in the tabloids as if real news.

Liz is having a little procedure on her heart to stop a leaky valve. Sounds like it is an old Cadillac or something.

MACKENZIE PHILLIPS

Mackenzie is a HOT MESS who needs to keep her mouth shut about the consensual sexual relationship she had with her father. It is distasteful and the only reason she wrote about it is because she needs the money.

After their initial encounter she could have called the police. She is just as much to blame as her drugged out father. It's gross and no one needs to hear about it.


TYLER PERRY

In anticipation of his (and Oprah's) new movie "Precious" which I can't wait to see, Tyler Perry is opening up about the abuse he suffered as a churrin. His father verbally and physically abused him. A male member of his church congregation molested him and a childhood friends' mother stuck a key in her snatch and made him retrieve it.

Why do I need to know these things? I do not need to know that his hand has been fishing keys outta cooch? So is this why you dress up as a 300 pound elderly black lady in all of your movies?

BROOKE SHIELDS AND JIM BELUSHI

I saw a headline today, "Brooke Shields and Jim Belushi unharmed in airplane mishap." It appears that an airplane carrying Brooke Shield and Jim Belushi rolled into an SUV - after it had landed and was um.... PARKED! The "incident" broke the side view mirror and scratched it vehicle. Everyone was unharmed.

It is a slow news day when this is being reported as news. I didn't call CNN on Saturday while working in my yard when I accidentally pushed my wheel barrel into the side of the house. No one was harmed.

Now, I do like Brooke (I was just commenting to Fettit this morning about how gorgeous she still looks in her eyelash growing commercial, but Jim Belushi? I don't care what happens to him. I do not think I have ever seen any of his work, and I doubt I am missing anything.

and Finally...........

DANCING WITH THE STARS

First I have to say, I am not a regular watcher of the show. I find most of it just foolishness, but last night there were two things on the show that kinda creeped me out.

After flamboyant judge Bruno Tonioli told Donny Osmond that his Rumba was "a bit Swan Lake," the toothsome, middle-aged, Mormon (read boring) man lunged at the judge and attempted to kiss him. Those Osmonds will do anything for votes and ratings. First Marie "passes out" and now Donny is embracing his "inner-homo" trying to play to the gay vote? Cheesey and a little yucky!

My other squeamish moment from Dancing With the Stars was THE ENTIRE TIME TOM DELAY WAS ON THE SCREEN. I had a trying time watching him. If his pathetic, "Oh, My feet hurt," or the motivating "my dad would never let me be a quitter," wasn't enough to turn me off, his Dentu-grip smile and the fact that I could actually smell his Drakar Noir through the television certainly did. He looks like someone who would offer your three year old a piece of candy to sit on his lap and then "innocently" diddle her. YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A NOTE FROM MICHAEL MOORE


This morning I logged into my email and received the following note from Michael Moore. All I can add is AMEN!

For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning ...a note from Michael Moore

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Friends,

I'd like to have a word with those of you who call yourselves Christians (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bill Maherists, etc. can read along, too, as much of what I have to say, I'm sure, can be applied to your own spiritual/ethical values).

In my new film I speak for the first time in one of my movies about my own spiritual beliefs. I have always believed that one's religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private. After all, we've heard enough yammerin' in the past three decades about how one should "behave," and I have to say I'm pretty burned out on pieties and platitudes considering we are a violent nation who invades other countries and punishes our own for having the audacity to fall on hard times.

I'm also against any proselytizing; I certainly don't want you to join anything I belong to. Also, as a Catholic, I have much to say about the Church as an institution, but I'll leave that for another day (or movie).

Amidst all the Wall Street bad guys and corrupt members of Congress exposed in "Capitalism: A Love Story," I pose a simple question in the movie: "Is capitalism a sin?" I go on to ask, "Would Jesus be a capitalist?" Would he belong to a hedge fund? Would he sell short? Would he approve of a system that has allowed the richest 1% to have more financial wealth than the 95% under them combined?

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what's left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother's and sister's keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you'd have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

I guess that's bad news for us Americans. Here's how we define "Blessed Are the Poor": We now have the highest unemployment rate since 1983. There's a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds. 14,000 people every day lose their health insurance.

At the same time, Wall Street bankers ("Blessed Are the Wealthy"?) are amassing more and more loot -- and they do their best to pay little or no income tax (last year Goldman Sachs' tax rate was a mere 1%!). Would Jesus approve of this? If not, why do we let such an evil system continue? It doesn't seem you can call yourself a Capitalist AND a Christian -- because you cannot love your money AND love your neighbor when you are denying your neighbor the ability to see a doctor just so you can have a better bottom line. That's called "immoral" -- and you are committing a sin when you benefit at the expense of others.

When you are in church this morning, please think about this. I am asking you to allow your "better angels" to come forward. And if you are among the millions of Americans who are struggling to make it from week to week, please know that I promise to do what I can to stop this evil -- and I hope you'll join me in not giving up until everyone has a seat at the table.

Thanks for listening. I'm off to Mass in a few hours. I'll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must've been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

Saturday, October 3, 2009

ABOLISH THE "N" WORD

If you want to be blown away, watch the below video clip. I am crazy about Jonathan McCoy. I saw him on CNN today. At ten years old he wrote and gave a speech calling for the abolishment of the "N" word and the video has received more then 1 million hits on Youtube. He is wise beyond his years and his parents should be very proud.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

MAYBE THIS TIME

Below is a clip of Lea Michelle and guest star Kristen Chenowith singing "Maybe This Time" on last night's episode of Glee. If you haven't watched the show, this is just one example of what you are missing.

Glee airs on Fox, Wednesday nights and is a must see!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BARBRA STREISAND AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD

Last night Barbra Streisand returned to her West Village roots and gave a concert at the historic Village Vanguard for the 100 people lucky enough to win the Streisand lottery. My luck never runs that way and although I asked Rosie O'Donnell to take me as her guest (ha) I was NOT in attendance.

Below are five clips from the show that I found on AOL. I have not listened to most of them, but I wanted to get them posted, and I may post my reaction later.

Provecho! Oh.. that means enjoy!

Barbra Streisand - Some Other Time

Barbra Streisand - Wee Small Hours of the Morning

BARBRA STREISAND - MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY

BARBRA STREISAND - IF YOU GO AWAY

BARBRA STREISAND - HERE'S TO LIFE

Saturday, September 26, 2009

BARBRA STREISAND - MAKE SOMEONE (ME) HAPPY

So Barbra Streisand was on Oprah two days ago to promote her newest CD, "Love is the Answer," and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. Her appearance was way too short and she shared the show with Jay Z.

I don't have anything against Jay Z, I actually don't know that much about him other then he is a rapper/producer and is married to Beyonce, but with a career spanning nearly 50 years (so hard to believe) there is more then enough material on Babs to fill a complete hour, or more.

Barbra looked beautiful - actually the best I have seen her look in many years (I suspect she has had some work done, but I who cares) and she was relaxed and funny.

In her brief interview, she and Oprah discussed dolls and Barbra retold the story (for the umpteenth time) of how poor she was growing up that the only doll she had was a hot water bottle with a sweater knitted by her babysitter. She also discussed her fear of performing in public and what lead to her stage fright (forgetting the words in her central park concert in front of 135,000 fans).

Oprah didn't ask her about the new album or anything about possible upcoming projects she is working on (the new Fockers or The Normal Heart movies). There wasn't anything special about the interview other then we got to see a fantastic looking Barbra on TV - which is so rare.

The highlight of her appearance on the Oprah show was her singing "Make Someone Happy" from the new CD (which is being released Tuesday, September 29th.) It’s always a treat to see and hear Barbra singing, whether it is live in concert or on television.

I previously read that Oprah's crew went to Barbra's house and they filmed a tour of the property (guided by Barbra as I understand it.) Unfortunately, this footage was not used on the show.

She also sang her classic "Evergreen,” and while this was not shown, it is available on Oprah’s website.

At 67 years old, Barbra Streisand is still sublime and without contemporary. While the voice has mellowed with age, there is still no one, NO ONE, who can touch her vocally. She is the ultimate interpreter of songs and you feel her every note - even the one she messed up while singing “Make Someone Happy” (see below).

Two other heavy-hitting females are releasing new CDs on Tuesday as well - Madonna and Mariah Carey, and while these two ladies may sell more albums today, neither of them have the charisma or talent of Babs.

Although I read that "Love is the Answer" has become Sony Records' most pre-ordered CD of all time on Amazon.com, I am sure these two other ladies will outsell her next week (because they skew to a younger demographic) but I will be watching to see where Barbra charts with this new CD.

Tonight Barbra is performing at the Village Vanguard in the West Village for 100 lucky fans who entered and won seats (I entered but didn't win). What an experience that would be. I wrote to Rosie and asked her to take me as her date, but she is doing a show on Broadway and will not be attending. I'm sure that is the only reason she isn't taking me.

Tonight's Village Vanguard concert will be streaming later in the week on Barbra's website.

Barbra is doing two other interviews in the coming days and I am hoping someone will talk with her about something new. Set your DVRs to record for her tomorrow on CBS Sunday morning and then on the Today Show Tuesday.

Below is a clip of Barbra singing “Make Someone Happy.”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Teabagger's Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

A friend of mine emailed this to me and I immediately knew I have to include it here. Thanks Brent.

What follows is the Teabagger's Socialist-Free Purity Pledge. I haven't checked, but I imagine it is making it's way around to all fair-minded, responsible individuals.....



I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also, I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

• Social Security
• Medicare/Medicaid
• State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
• Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
• US Postal Service
• Roads and Highways
• Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
• The US Railway System
• Public Subways and Metro Systems
• Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
• Rest Areas on Highways
• Sidewalks
• All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
• Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
• Public and State Universities and Colleges
• Public Primary and Secondary Schools
• Sesame Street
• Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
• Public Museums
• Libraries
• Public Parks and Beaches
• State and National Parks
• Public Zoos
• Unemployment Insurance
• Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
• Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
• Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
• Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
• Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
• Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
• Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:

• Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
• The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
• The government-operated Statue of Liberty
• The Grand Canyon
• The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
• The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
• All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF __________ IN THE YEAR ___.


_____________ ___________________________________
Signed Printed Name/Town and State

Sunday, September 13, 2009

GAGA FOR LADY GAGA

For too many years we have been told by pop performers that they can not dance and sing at the same time, and followers have accepted lip-syncing as the norm. Ever since MTV killed the radio star (i.e. singers who can truly sing), we have been subjected to performance over vocal ability - looks over talent - and although Lady Gaga does not have the voice of a Barbra or Whitney, she sings live.

My disinterest in today's music, and the majority of the pop-tarts we have been force-fed for the past thirty something years, is they can't sing. They can dance, look sexy in their half naked costumes, and grab headlines by being provocative, but they cannot sing. Lady Gaga does it all.

The below video is from tonight's Video Music Awards and Lady Gaga's live performance - not to a pre-recorded track.



Five postscripts:

- Oddly enough, I liked watching Lady Gaga prance around in what appeared to be only panties, and the way it made me feel was a little shocking - almost unnerving.

- When she won the award tonight for Best New Artist her final words were, "...this is for my F#*king fans. You are the best fans in the whole world and I love you, and it's for God and the gays." Where have you ever heard that before? Gotta love her!

- Pink singing live from a trapeze - so why can't the others sing live! I like Pink - the anti-pop, pop star.

- Beyonce was amazing tonight! The portions of her song she prerecorded she didn't even pretend to sing - and her dance moves were amazing. Her generosity towards Taylor Swift (whoever the hell she is) was pure class - she was raised right.

- The typical lip-syncing females did not perform at the VMA's tonight - with the exception of Janet Jackson. I will cut her some slack since she is in morning but she almost never sings without a pre-recorded track. Another offender, Madonna, didn't sing, but she spoke touchingly about Michael Jackson.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FANTASTIC FIND - SAM TSUI - PART DEUX


Below is another video from Fantastic Find Sam Tsui. You can see my original post here:FANTASTIC FIND - SAM TSUI

Below is another video featuring Sam Tsui singing a cover of "Down" by Jay Sean that was uploaded last week . In this video he plays the piano and is joined on guitar by his friend and collaborator/arranger Kurt Schneider, the "mastermind" behind the music and videos. Even with the flub at the 2:30 minute mark, I think these two are fantastic (keeping with the theme).

Enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

PRESIDENT TO DETRACTORS - WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO?

Today President Obama spoke about healthcare reform to the masses gathered at the AFL/CIO annual Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, and asked the cynics and naysayers "What are you gonna do? What is your solution?"

The answer is simple. They don't want change. They want to continue pillaging so they will continue to instill fear and fight the truth with lies and distortions!

Americans need to stop special interests and corporations from deciding what laws get passed.

Corporations are accountable to a board of directors who insist of profit - even at the expense of the American Family - and Congress is accountable to us.

Write or call your congressional representative and senator today and tell them you support Healthcare Reform and you demand action now.



Below is an article of interest I found from "The American Prospect" by Paul Waldman entitled "The Public Option and the Hope of Health Care Reform," dated December 23, 2008.

Since the remarkable results of Nov. 4, there has been much discussion about the new progressive moment in which America finds itself. But it has actually been evident for some time that we're talking about old issues in new ways. Let's take just one -- health care reform-- which could actually happen next year. One thing we know is that there will be a serious, even vicious fight over the issue. What we don't know is whether President-elect Obama will seize the moment, or succumb to the same fear that has stayed Democrats' hands for so long.

In the presidential primaries, all three top Democratic candidates -- Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards -- featured in their health care plans something that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, a public option. The public option is a government health insurance program akin to Medicare, which would be open to anyone. Credit should go to Edwards, who not only was the first of the three to propose it, but who said that if so many people chose the public option that over time it evolved into a single-payer system, that would be fine with him. That kind of talk used to come only from candidates with no chance of winning.

Although the public option wasn't the topic of a great deal of discussion during the campaign, for many progressives it amounts to a beautiful jewel hidden amidst a pile of compromise and disappointment. Ask average progressives what they think ought to be done about health care, and many will reply, "Well, a single-payer system would obviously be the best thing. But since that's politically impossible…" At the end of 2008, some things seem a little more possible than they used to.

That isn't to say a public option is just a modified single-payer system. It would be one option among many for individuals and businesses, and would leave the private insurance system in place (you can read more on the benefits of the public option here). But it does crack the door open for expanding the number of Americans who get their health insurance through the government. And this is what terrifies the insurance companies and conservatives. Their fear is that it will actually work. If the program operates well, more and more people will make the rational decision to choose it over private insurance (what we're supposed to do in a market, after all) and the insurance companies will lose customers.

For all their paeans to the power of private enterprise, we know that private insurers simply can't compete with the government, because they offer an inferior service at higher prices. We know this because of the example of Medicare, which operates more efficiently than private insurance (Medicare spends only around 2 percent of its costs on overhead, a fraction of what private plans do) and gets higher satisfaction ratings. We also know this because the government set up a program to allow private companies to compete directly with Medicare.

It's called Medicare Advantage, and the "advantage" was supposed to be that by allowing private companies to handle insurance for Medicare enrollees, costs could be reduced. Using their free-market mojo, the private firms would naturally bring in the coverage at a lower cost than having the big, bureaucratic government do it.

So does it work? Only if by "work," you mean "do the opposite of what it's supposed to." In fact, the government pays insurance companies more to provide a service it is providing to other enrollees for less. According to this recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, in 2008 the government paid Medicare Advantage plans 12.4 percent more per enrollee than it expended to administer traditional Medicare benefits (see this lengthy postby Maggie Mahar that lists the myriad ways Medicare Advantage amounts to an insurance company scam). It's no accident that the program in its current form was enacted as part of the abomination that was the Republicans' 2003 Medicare drug bill, a giveaway to insurance and drug companies so lurid it will stand as an eternal monument to legalized corruption. (The bill's chief architect, Louisiana Congressman Billy Tauzin, left Congress upon its passage to become the president of PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry. Tauzin's starting salary was reported to be $2 million a year, a well-deserved reward for services rendered.)

One piece of good news on this front is that during the campaign, Obama pledged to "reduce waste in the Medicare system, including eliminating subsidies to the private insurance Medicare Advantage program" (you can read the promise on his campaign web site). That's one more promise he ought to be forced to keep.

But driving a stake through the heart of Medicare Advantage could wait (although Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has already targeted the program's "overpayments"). The Obama team has signaled that it has no intention of putting off its larger effort to reform health care. The appointment of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle as both Secretary of Health and Human Services and White House "health czar" indicates that Obama wants reform that will actually pass Congress (recall that Bill Clinton's 1993 health reform effort never even came to a vote). Our once-in-a-generation chance to reform health care has come again.

There is no doubt that the insurance companies and their Republican allies in Congress will fight the inclusion of a public option with every bit of power they can muster. They'll call it "socialized medicine" -- but by now we should all have realized that Republicans will call any health care reform Democrats propose "socialized medicine" (that's what they said about Clinton's 1993 health plan, whose chief cost containment measure was enhancing the role of HMOs). They'll scream about "government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor." But anyone who has tried to get reimbursement for a medical service from an insurance company that didn't want to provide it knows that government bureaucrats are pussycats compared to insurance company bureaucrats. Republicans will offer some bogus plan of their own, presented for no purpose other than pretending that they're not operating in bad faith. But their goal will be to stop any effort at health care reform – particularly the public option.

Republicans fear that the public option would work, and therefore undermine their broader arguments about the evil of government and the perfection of the market (and make voters thankful to Democrats to boot). All true. The insurance companies fear that the public option would work, and therefore put them out of business. Is that true? Not really. Although there are a lot of variables, a much more likely outcome would be that the insurance companies would continue to exist, but their business would shrink. If we're smart and lucky, we might end up with a system resembling the one they have in France (rated by the World Health Organization as the world's best), where basic health insurance is provided by the government, but most people have supplemental private insurance to fill in the gaps in coverage (the Prospect's Ezra Klein has helpfully laid out the basics of the French system here and here). That kind of hybrid system would still allow "choice,", yet cover everyone and hold down costs.

It's a beautiful dream, one that the insurance companies and their Republican allies in Congress will do everything in their power to crush. So the question is whether Obama will see the public option as something he will fight for, or as a useful bargaining chip to be sacrificed in order to get a bill through the Senate. In one troubling sign, John McDonough, Senator Ted Kennedy's senior health adviser, told Congressional Quarterly that the purpose of the public option was to "provide cost accountability," and "Maybe there are other way to achieve those ends." Ah, the time-honored Democratic tradition of making concessions before negotiations begin.

This is a different environment than it was even a few years ago, let alone in 1993 when Bill Clinton's plan went down in flames. The public is more open to ambitious government solutions to pressing problems than they have been in decades. And perhaps both big business and small business can finally be persuaded that a strong public insurance program is in their interest, since it will save them money (their prior opposition to health care reform has always been more ideological than economic).

Up until now, Barack Obama has displayed a keen understanding of when to compromise and when to fight. He surely knows that his attempt to reform our ridiculous health care system is going to be a fight from start to finish. Let's just hope he doesn't give up on the best thing about his plan.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ENCOURAGES CHILDREN ACROSS THE USA


Below is the speech President Barack Obama will deliver tomorrow at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."


So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn.

And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.


I'm certain there is a lefty (read communist), subversive (probably subliminal) message in the text that I am not smart enough to decode. Perhaps I needed the encouragement of a president (or teacher) when I was in school.

GO'HEAD MISTER PRESIDENT!

Friday, September 4, 2009

REPUBLICANS DEMAND EQUAL TIME TO CORRUPT YOUNG MINDS

In response to President Obama’s planned speech to school age children set for next week across the country, a republican organization, The Right is Right, has invoked the “equal time rule,” and has disseminated pamphlets to the nation’s school superintendents (except those in California and Massachusetts), suggesting four alternatives to counter the president’s far reaching, left-leaning agenda. School districts are encouraged to pick from one option below to be held immediately following daily Morning Prayer:

Option One - All children are encouraged to watch the season premier of Dancing with the Stars and write an essay on the merits of Republican Tom Delay’s old-white-man foxtrot versus Afro-centric singer Macy Gray’s Samba.

Option Two – Actually two separate sessions – one for girls and one for boys:

-Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin presents a discussion on the importance of abstinence entitled “Everything I Taught Bristol and How To Learn From My Mistakes.” Governor Palin will also demonstrate how to “Woo Voters with a Wink and a Nod.”

-The boys’ session will be conducted by Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell. He will instruct the boys on how to keep your bitch in her place, and explain why if you let her work outside the home, she will be indoctrinated into a life of bull-dykery.

Option Three - Students are encouraged to discuss the dire consequences of Obama Healthcare reform after viewing the new documentary entitled “A Foreign Born, Socialist Negro Wants to Kill Grandma and Sweet Crippled Aunt Gertie.” A strict dress code is enforced for this option: White sheets required.

Option Four – The final option is entitled “Earning your Wings” and consists of a field trip to the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. This session explains how through church fund raising and the assassination of the President of the United States, students can guarantee themselves a place in Heaven. Following a showing of the short film “Why Teddy and Queers Deserve Brain Cancer,” there will be a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served during the raffle where one lucky attendee will win a one way greyhound bus ticket to the Washington DC, $50 spending money, a high powered rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition.

Interested parties are encourage to learn more, and obtain educational materials, from “The Right is Right” by calling toll-free 1-877-336-6887 (877-EFN-NUTS).

REPUBLICAN

In response to President Obama’s planned speech to school age children set for next week across the country, a republican organization, The Right is Right, has invoked the “equal time rule,” and has disseminated pamphlets to the nation’s school superintendents (except those in California and Massachusetts), suggesting four alternatives to counter the president’s far reaching, left-leaning agenda. School districts are encouraged to pick from one option below to be held immediately following daily Morning Prayer:

Option One - All children are encouraged to watch the season premier of Dancing with the Stars and write an essay on the merits of Republican Tom Delay’s old-white-man foxtrot versus Afro-centric singer Macy Gray’s Samba.

Option Two – Actually two separate sessions – one for girls and one for boys:

-Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin presents a discussion on the importance of abstinence entitled “Everything I Taught Bristol and How To Learn From My Mistakes.” Governor Palin will also demonstrate how to “Woo Voters with a Wink and a Nod.”

-The boys’ session will be conducted by Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell. He will instruct the boys on how to keep your bitch in her place, and explain why if you let her work outside the home, she will be indoctrinated into a life of bull-dykery.

Option Three - Students are encouraged to discuss the dire consequences of Obama Healthcare reform after viewing the new documentary entitled “A Foreign Born, Socialist Negro Wants to Kill Grandma and Sweet Crippled Aunt Gertie.” A strict dress code is enforced for this option: White sheets required.

Option Four – The final option is entitled “Earning your Wings” and consists of a field trip to the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. This session explains how through church fund raising and the assassination of the President of the United States, students can guarantee themselves a place in Heaven. Following a showing of the short film “Why Teddy and Queers Deserve Brain Cancer,” there will be a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served during the raffle where one lucky attendee will win a one way greyhound bus ticket to the Washington DC, $50 spending money, a high powered rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition.

Interested parties are encourage to learn more, and obtain educational materials, from “The Right is Right” by calling toll-free 1-877-336-6887 (877-EFN-NUTS).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY?



What follows in italics is Michelangelo Signorile's description of his conversation (above) with nut-job "Pastor" Steven L. Anderson, who resides not far from me.

This is my interview with Pastor Steven L. Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Temple, AZ. He has prayed for President Obama to die, calls for the execution of gays and told me it would not be murder if a group of gays and lesbians were gunned down with a machine gun, or if the president were killed. He does not believe the killing of Dr. George Tiller was murder. He also said, after I told him I was gay, that he hopes I "get brain cancer like Ted Kennedy" and die and insisted I must be "molesting children."

I am appalled that a "so-called" man of God would advocate the murder of another human being - specifically our President - Barack Obama.

It's it frightening on so many levels. This "man-of-the-cloth" not only holds un-Christian views, he has a platform in which he is able to spread his hate. What also frightens me is this man is not alone.

Hate queers all ya like, but nowhere in the New Testament does it say (unless I missed that part) it is allowable to kill another person. Sure the "Old Testament" has "An Eye for an Eye" (Exodus 21:23–27) but if we are going to cherry pick the bible, lets start having fun. This could be a really great conversation.

George W. Bush ordered the senseless murder of thousands of innocent men and women, both Iraqi and American, and at no time did I ever hear anyone propose murdering him. What has Barack Obama done that so incites this type of hatred among the "religious" right?

If there is one political figure in my lifetime deserving of incarceration, not assassination, it is George W. Bush, or perhaps more appropriate Dick Cheney.

The "right" truly scares me.

Because of their position within churches, these freaks, yes I said freaks, are able to whip up the masses and gain support for their extreme agendas.

Heed my warning!

All blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and gays better start watching their backs. These people are no different then Hitler. Their way is the only right way. They want to rid the world of people that do not look like them, think like them, or worship like them.

It is time to rise up against the haters in this country. Point your fingers and lift your voices because these people, who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ are the ones who will bring this country to anarchy.

As "they" like to say - What Would Jesus Do? Like Martin Luther King, and Gandhi, he was a man of peace and would not condone murder, or incite others to commit it.