Friday, July 30, 2004

With Dick Cheney as Angela Lansbury....

I'd never seen either version of The Manchurian Candidate. Until tonight. Throughout the movie, all I could think was:

Angela Lansbury is really Dick Cheney (Mrs. Islen)
James Gregory is really George W. Bush (Senator Islen)

I hope I don't need to explain why!

The 1962 edition is a surprisingly sophisticated movie. Other than To Kill a Mockingbird, I always felt that most movies made before about 1967 were quite simple. But the original Manchurian Candidate is a movie fighting both McCarthyism ("I have before me a list of 254 Communists...") and Nixon (notice the fop-sweat when Harvey and Sinatra got nervous?). It's a surprisingly good movie, and I regret not having seen it before.

It's probably too late, but I urge anyone planning to see the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate to see the 1962 version first. Remember, this movie was shot about two years before Kennedy was assasinated, and only seven years after the McCarthy hearings were considered more dangerous than Communism itself.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I'm Beginning to Wonder if "Shove It" Was a Set-up...

The video was only recorded by Pittsburgh's Channel 4. Scott Baker is Channel 4's correspondent on site in Boston. It's unclear if Scott Baker was with the camera operator. Scott Baker is rumored to be quite conservative. He's the ex-husband of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's outspokenly conservative columnist Ruth Ann Dailey (and the current husband of a recent ex-Miss America).

The Tribune-Review is a notoriously pro-Bush paper. Given their manner of "reporting" (constant Kerry-bashing, et.c.) Teresa Heinz Kerry is likely not happy with the paper. Both Scott Baker and the WTAE camera operator must know what the Tribune-Review's editorial editor, Colin McNickle, looks like. Heinz Kerry might not have known what Colin McNickle looks like, but she'd surely know his name.

It's possible that Scott Baker had the camera operator "keep rolling" when he saw McNickle start to question Heinz Kerry, or arranged for the columnist to be there.

I started wondering about this this morning. During the afternoon news, Scott Baker, who's normally pretty reserved while reading the news, was almost gleeful as he recounted the "Shove It" incident, nearly 2 days after it happened. As the main reporter at the Democratic National Convention for WTAE, he didn't mention any of last night's speeches one time during the 5pm news. Baker's behavior is reinforcing my notion that he could have helped arrange the incident.

Another Possibility: It later occurred to me that maybe Heinz Kerry herself wanted the incident on camera. When a TV camera is as close to you as it was to her on Sunday, you know it's recording (the lights make this really obvious). So when she learned that Colin McNickle had been talking to her, she went back and made a point of saying what she did in front of the camera. That way, a "shove off" could not become a "fuck off" or something worse because it had been recorded in front of witnesses.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Blogging the Democratic Convention from Pittsburgh....

OK, so I didn't make it to Boston this week. I had volunteered to work months ago, but came to the conclusion I was too burnt out and withdrew my name from consideration about two months ago. But I am watching the Democratic Convention on C-SPAN with great interest. And President Clinton just gave a dynamite speech. So, I wrote him a fan letter:

Dear Mr. Clinton:

My husband and I make pretty good money. We aren’t millionaires by any means, but we’re doing well. And we’ve been paying less in taxes since Bush came into office. We’ve been feeling, well, a little guilty about it. So I’ve been making a point of giving some of these “ill-gotten gains” to Democratic candidates and progressive organizations.

You are the first rich person with the balls to remind the vast majority of Americans that the Bush tax cuts are making them support rich people like you. Thank-you! I hope they remember this fact on November 2 and vote for John Kerry. I’m from Massachusetts and I proudly voted for Senator Kerry. My entire family is voting for him this November. And don’t worry about loosing your tax cut – you or Senator Clinton could always write another book.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

And Now That I've Seen Fahrenheit 911...


I have a review of it here.

I've had a weird few days. I've had bronchitis, on and off, for over a month. I keep almost getting over it, but then I'll do something (like walk a lot or swim or hang out in a smokey bar) and I'll get sick again. Wednesday night, I felt really strange, then felt wiped on Thursday. Usually, when I have bronchitis, I don't feel all that bad, I just cough an awful lot. I got to the doctor's on Frday morning and they gave me a bunch of new medications (luckily a bunch of samples for a change!). That reduced my coughing, but I was still very tired. Today, when I was at the movies, I had a really bad coughing fit and have returned to feeling rotten.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Oh to Be in Pittsburgh Today! (July 6, 2004)

Wow, it's been a very long and very interesting day.

Our alarm clock went off at 5am. Now, many days, I'm awake that early, but usually that means I'll wander downstairs and do stuff on the computer until I really wake up (along about 6:30). Today, I had to shower, dress, grab some breakfast and be out the door by 5:30 so I could get to the trolley. I was in Market Sq by 6:15 as I'd volunteered to work on John Kerry's rally, and we volunteers had to be there early. My first job was to be a gopher and run over to a hotel to pick up a suit for the volunteer manager. By the time I got back, I was assigned to help with getting the lines through the metal detectors. As the rally started, I was passing out flags.
There were short speeches by former Steeler Franco Harris, and by Congressman Mike Doyle.

Franco Harris

Franco Harris at the Kerry Rally

Since I'd been out of the square most of the morning, I didn't hear any rumors about whether the VP announcement was happening and, if it was going to happen, who it would be. But as John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry took to the stage, I saw a very good looking man backstage who looked like John Edwards. I called Jim on my cell phone "It's Edwards! I'm looking at John Edwards!" I shot the man a major thumbs up.

"CNN had that 20 minutes ago..." he said. (When I later read my E-mail, I was delighted to find that my message from the Kerry campaign was E-mailed to me before the rally.)

Oh well. So much for being an "insider." And it turned out that very good-looking man wasn't John Edwards, it was John Kerry's chief of staff, who looks like a taller version of John Edwards.

John Kerry

John Kerry Addresses the Audience in Pittsburgh

Teresa Heinz Kerry

Teresa Heinz Kerry at the Kerry Rally

When Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, the crowd went wild. It was great. It's very ironic that the Republicans, of all people, are calling Edwards inexperienced. Compare Edwards professional successes to Bush's professional failures (including his presidency).

I passed out some of the first Kerry Edwards T-shirts, taking one for myself, of course! There were only about 200 or so T-shirt for the 4,000+ folks in Market Sq - believe me, they were hot items.

Modelling a First Edition Kerry Edwards T-Shirt!

Modelling a First Edition Kerry Edwards T-Shirt!

A quick note on numbers - some of the media reported that there were only 500 people attending. I helped collect numbers and we counted somewhere around 2,000 before gates were pretty much opened. So I'm guessing we had
in the 4,000-5,000 range. One Kerry staffer later said we had 8,000 - 10,0000 and that
it was bigger than any other rally ever in Market Square. People running rallys tend to overestimate. I was in Market Square for the Pittsburgh Pirates rally in 1979 and I'm sure there were more people in the square in 1979 for that particular rally. There were only about 20 counter-demonstrators at the Market Sq. rally.

After the rally, I went over to help out behind the stage had to help hold down the curtain in the wind. As I was holding down the curtain, Senator Kerry stopped by. So I shook his hand, wished him good luck and said, "Hey, I'm from Massachusetts and I know John Kerry!" He smiled. I only regret I couldn't get my camera at that moment.

Actually, it turned out I did briefly let go of the curtain long enough to try to snap a photo (this photo was either from AP or Reuters, and I'm the headless person in the background). Unfortunately, the photo I was trying to take didn't come out, and then Kerry had to take a phone call from one of his daughters so he left the area.An AP or Reuters Photo of John Kerry, 7/6/2004

I went to work for a while (one of the joys of working part time in downtown), and decided to go out to the Edwards rally at the airport in the late afternoon.

Suprisingly ontime, the Edwards jet landed, and, within a few minutes, Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth came over to great the crowd of about 300. Maybe it was because I had the Kerry/Edwards shirt, I was one of the first people he greeted! I joked with them that when Jim and I got married in 1977 (same year they did), we did have enough money to pay for our hotel room... I hadn't seen Elizabeth Edwards before, but she seemed extremely nice. I hear she's also a fine lawyer herself.

John Edwards

John Edwards Meets the Crowd at the Old Pittsburgh Airport

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards on the Windy Tarmac

About 200-300 people went to the airport rally, and there might have been 100 media reps of various types. I didn't see any counter-demontrators there at all.

After spending many hours doing political things, I went to the Kerry Meet-up that was happening at the Church Brew Works. I got there early, grabbed a table, and chatted with a number of people (including my boss's step-daughter - it took us a few minutes to remember where we'd seen one another before). I had a fine time until it got too smokey, and will probably have more to say about it later.