Friday, February 29, 2008

Vinny Mac flips the bird to Congress

By Rick Morris

Vincent Kennedy McMahon is a man who thinks he can overcome any obstacle. He shattered the industry's regional traditions in the 1980s by taking his company national and he beat back the corporate threat of Turner Broadcasting in the late 1990s when they surpassed him as the biggest name in the industry -- but the most relevant experience to present circumstances came in the period in between, when the federal government pursued him on felony steroid charges and he beat the rap.

Now, he's under the gun again as Congress is moving seamlessly from an investigation of MLB's shameful era to a peek at the man who may well have set the example for baseball's juiced-up days -- good old Vinny Mac. He defied an invitation to appear before Congress this past week and now the titans of Capitol Hill are angry.

We've talked about this looming case on The Lounge program for months now. With Democrats back in control of Congress, Henry Waxman now wields the gavel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he is, as we noted, probably the biggest egomaniac in a body full of them. Bobby Rush, the aggrieved party this week when VKM blew off Congress, is no shrinking violet himself.

Vince McMahon has overcome many obstacles in his life. Now, this is not to say that I admire him, because I don't, but I will admit (in a "give the devil his due kind of way") that he has won many high-powered battles in life. But he has never faced the combination of power, ego and thirst for election-year headlines that he'll eventually encounter in the U.S. House of Representatives. He's just arrogant enough to plunge into the perjury trap that is already being baited by Congressmen as we speak. I look for the insane old Irishman to continue to thumb his nose at Congress between now and the hearing he'll inevitably have to attend and that will just inflame his adversaries even more. When you consider the fact that Vince Senior had his promotional base of operations in the Potomac area back in the day, how ironic would it be for his son to have his Waterloo right there in D.C.?

Ron Paul update

By Rick Morris

As promised previously, I'm addressing my earlier report about Ron Paul dropping out of the presidential race. I acted at the time based on information dropped on me exclusively (to others shortly thereafter, but to me first) by a source connected to the congressional race down in Texas. As we get closer to the primary, it has become apparent that the odds of this coming to fruition have plummeted -- plus a review of Paul's late FEC filings shows that he has raised a mountain of money for the congressional race (due, no doubt, in no small part, to my story getting used for fundraising purposes -- you're welcome, Ron!) in the late stages of the campaign, thus removing a key justification for withdrawing from the presidential race (the ability to legally move the caysh to the congressional race). So I will forgo waiting through the weekend to see what happens and simply declare now that the news previously reported by me (not us collectively, only me) will not come to pass -- as I promised that I would if these circumstances materialized.

I make no apologies whatsoever for this matter. I reported news that was provided to me by a source and my decision to accept that information didn't hurt anyone but me (if you don't believe me, you should see how much of my precious time and energy has been taken up by dealing with abusive spamming from the enraged no-life tin-foil hat crowd) -- clearly, it did not hurt the Paul campaign, which used it as a rallying point (and it was not intended to hurt anyone, but you'll never convince the conspiracy nuts of that) to raise big money -- so I see no need to shed crocodile tears when I did nothing immoral. While this blog covers a multiplicity of subjects and is primarily more opinion-oriented as opposed to aspiring to break hard news, we will run with exclusive news items in the future if circumstances dictate. I can say in all humility that I'm going to learn from this going forward in terms of evaluating material from sources. Anyone who wants to gloat at that admission is a fool because we should all be trying to learn from experiences and learn how to operate smarter on a daily basis. My report allowed the Paul campaign to recharge its finances and efforts (unintentionally, as I am not a Paul partisan, but you probably already knew that!), so if anyone still wants to hate on me even after the influx of "Morris money" allows him to come back and win big -- well, that's on them.

FOWL Language

By Tony Mazur

(F.Y.I., I did not come up with the pun in the title. I'm like Dane Cook.)

Sheetz is a chain of gas stations based out of Altoona, Pennsylvania, and holds locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and, of course, Pennsylvania. Sheetz is not necessarily known for their quality of gas, but for their convenience stores. Each store features gourmet coffee and various types of "made-to-order" sandwiches. A very popular chicken sandwich is not only known for its taste, but for its "controversial" advertisements.

People are coming down on Sheetz for their new billboards, titled "Crispy Frickin' Chicken" (seen below). Some are offended by these ads because "Frickin'" is a tamer version of the 'F' word. A spokeswoman says the campaign is geared towards young adults, since many Sheetz stores are located in college towns.

For some reason, the Dignitaries of this blog (un)intentionally created themes for their posts. Jason's revolve around the NFL Draft. Rick's posts discuss the loathsome upcoming election. Nate has uncovered the career of Jean Schmidt. And I have addressed the revolting world of political correctness.

I cannot stand the people who find this offensive. I understand that "frickin'" really implies the 'F' word, but in this case, it's out of context. "Frickin'" rhymes with "chicken", and that's why they chose this slogan for their as campaign. I'm personally not into that cornball, cheesy humor, but it's clever, I guess.

I actually know people who get offended by this word being used in real life. Those are the same folks who use words like "shoot", "heck", "ticked off", and "darn". Aren't those tamer versions of the dirty word?

I don't know what's worse; those who are easily offended by what they hear or see, or the company that caves to them. We've seen that in the radio industry with Don Imus and other (white) hosts and DJs. In this case, Sheetz has pulled the ad campaign and will have the billboards taken down. If I were the CEO of Sheetz, Inc., I would tell them to screw off and go bother GLAAD. I applaud Andrew Puzder, CEO of a West Coast-based fast food restaurant Carl's Jr., for told the Parents Television Council to "get a life" after the uproar over their "provocative" Paris Hilton commercials.

I will play Devil's advocate here. Say "Crispy Frickin' Chicken" offends me. Others are not offended by this slogan, saying that it's just a word. Why aren't other people offended by this, but why is racial humor still looked down upon? We're all heard the 'N' word thousands of times. Why aren't we, as Americans, desensitized to this word?

Censorship is disgusting, and we need to do something about it. Well, not we, because I'm not offended by anything. The Nazis did FAR WORSE harm to my ancestors than white people did to black people pre-1930. That is why my family fled Poland during World War II. And I've heard every Polish joke in the book, and I'm not offended. As a matter of fact, I'll join in on a yuk or two. So let's toughen up our skin, okay folks?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jean Schmidt endorsed by 2,144,597th most popular site on the Internet

By Nate Noy

For those of you that don’t know is the equivalent for ranking Internet traffic that the Nielsen ratings are for television.

Below are the current rankings for the sites that have covered the Ohio-2 primary: has a traffic rank of: 814,365 has a traffic rank of: 1,279,563 has a traffic rank of: 1,860,957 has a traffic rank of: 2,144,597

To the defense of Nixguy I believe he does blog at another site and he has pretty much stayed behind the scenes with his support of Jean Schmidt this time around.

Bill Sloat at has done a sound job reporting the truth about Jean Schmidt and encouraging voters to select the one true conservative candidate in this election Tom Brinkman.

Our blog of course has enjoyed much success due largely to the tireless efforts of Rick Morris and the other FDH Lounge Dignitaries who have been busy blogging about subjects other than my favorite topic: Jean Schmidt. (In fact, our ranking for the last week is up over 200,000 spots.)

That brings us of course to the site that currently is Jean Schmidt’s biggest fan: Matt Hurley at WMD. The one good thing I will say about Matt is that he is man enough to let me post on his blog without deleting my comments. Of course, some people may ask: why do I spend my time posting on a blog that is 1,330,232 spots behind us in the rankings? Well, my response is that I hope somewhere among the tumbleweeds that make up Matt’s audience is the occasional truth seeker.

I KNOW for a fact that my support of Tom Brinkman will bring him at least 298 votes this primary (that’s the number of people that actually wrote in my name in 2006 against Schmidt.) Since Matt does not even live in Ohio-2, and not many people read his blog anyway, I wonder what his impact for Schmidt will be?

Jean Schmidt’s Liberal Base

By Nate Noy

One of the best lies going in the Jean Schmidt “shill blogosphere” is that she is a “true conservative.” Anyone read Rolling Stone Magazine lately?

Two issues that really rattle my cage from the left are: minimum wage and gun control.

On 1/10/07 Congress passed Vote 18 H.R.2 The minimum wage increase. Those voting yea included:

Ted Kennedy
Barney Frank
Nancy Pelosi
Dennis Kucinich.
Jean Schmidt

Some nay votes included:

John Boehner
Steve Chabot
Jim Jordan
Pat Tiberi
Roy Blunt
Tom Trancredo

ALL “true conservatives” opposed this vote because they actually have some comprehension as to what a minimum wage increase does to the economy.

I have a degree in Economics and anyone that does understands that minimum wage acts as a price floor, creating a deficit in employment, i.e., a higher rate of unemployment. It also leads to much higher inflation rates, which is something the media has finally started to talk about recently. The end result of a minimum wage increase is stagflation, and it is devastating to the economy.

People in general simply are not educated on this issue. I ask them: why not make minimum wage $20 or $25 an hour if it is such a great savior?

So when unemployment rates continue to rise this summer and the price of everything just seems to be going up, people everywhere can look to the likes of Kennedy, Pelosi, and Schmidt for the root cause.

My other hot issue is gun control and gun free zones. Jean Schmidt of course voted to ban guns in Clermont County when she was a trustee there, however she subsequently duped enough people in the NRA into actually believing she was with them on this issue too.

This argument is so, so simple as far as I’m concerned. If the kids at Va Tech or NIU had all been carrying guns, then how many of them would still be alive today? The answer is that maybe the first kid or two would have been killed, but someone in the group would have been able to stop the massacre before it reached epic levels.

Gun bans and gun free zones will NEVER stop the criminals from having guns; they are by definition criminals and could care less about the law. The only thing that these laws accomplish is preventing those of us that are law abiding and would be willing to protect ourselves and others by taking appropriate action against a deranged gunman if necessary.

Jean Schmidt didn’t get that back in Clermont County, I doubt she gets that now either, or she NEVER would have voted for a gun ban in the first place. Her vote will always be for sale to the highest bidder, and folks the public is NOT the highest bidder as far as Jean Schmidt is concerned, she had proven that to us over and over again.

Jean Schmidt’s shill Nathan Bailey

By Nate Noy

Quick question: if you were an unpopular and corrupt Congresswomen how would you try to siphon off some of the anti-incumbent vote in a dangerously close primary election?

Answer: find a shill to help split the anti-Schmidt vote.

Below is what the Cincinnati Enquirer had to say about Nathan Bailey:

Nathan N. Bailey

Bailey, 26, is an accountant who lives in Stonelick Township in Clermont County.

His campaign has been chiefly an online effort, with Facebook and MySpace pages. He said he joined the race largely to encourage young conservative Republicans like himself to vote. He said he admires Schmidt, and that his chief advantage over her would be “I could serve for 40 years.”

Bailey said he has spent $1,355, but accepted only $250 in donations, turning down other offers.

I’ll have to give a “hat’s off” to Schmidt and her corrupt cronies on this one. Everyone knows there will be 50-55% of the voters next Tuesday that won’t pull the lever for Jean Schmidt on a bet. Her ONLY prayer to beat Tom Brinkman is to hope the people in Pike, Scioto, Brown, and Adams Counties (the four counties Bob McEwen trounced her in back in the 2006 primary) accidentally vote for Bailey instead of Brinkman.

Anyone, and I mean ANYONE that “admires Schmidt” is either as corrupt and dishonest as she is, or a shill for her. I hope in the case of Nathan Bailey it is simply the latter. However, once Schmidt is indicted, convicted, or whatever this summer anyone that has been duped into supporting her will certainly feel like the world’s biggest fool. I just hope the voters in Ohio-2 next Tuesday are educated enough to vote for the ONLY OPTION on the ballot: Tom Brinkman.

Jean Schmidt 409th most powerful member of Congress

By Nate Noy

The website has always been a great way for DC insiders to gauge where they should be spending their time trying to influence legislation. Capitol Advantage is the company that compiles and publishes the rankings and is well respected as an independent and unbiased source.

Everyone of course hopes that “their” representative has some pull in Washington, so my question of the day is this: does Jean Schmidt have any “pull” whatsoever?

First let’s look at the data for the members of Congress from Ohio:

Name Rank in State Score Rank in House
Rep. Boehner (R-OH-8) 1 39.09 5
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH-9) 2 23.53 64
Rep. Jones (D-OH-11) 3 22.02 79
Rep. Regula (R-OH-16) 4 18.00 150
Rep. Ryan (D-OH-17) 5 16.09 179
Rep. Kucinich (D-OH-10) 6 15.09 198
Rep. Hobson (R-OH-7) 7 14.53 207
Rep. Sutton (D-OH-13) 8 14.00 226
Rep. Space (D-OH-18) 9 12.50 252
Rep. Wilson (D-OH-6) 10 11.50 290
Rep. LaTourette (R-OH-14) 11 11.28 293
Rep. Chabot (R-OH-1) 12 11.03 296
Rep. Pryce (R-OH-15) 14 9.53 324
Rep. Turner (R-OH-3) 14 9.53 324
Rep. Tiberi (R-OH-12) 16 9.28 335
Rep. Schmidt (R-OH-2) 17 6.50 409
Rep. Jordan (R-OH-4) 18 2.38 435

No real shocks here, Boehner of course a Minority Leader is near the top and followed by members with significant tenure. As expected Schmidt is near the bottom.

A closer look at how Schmidt obtains her ranking:

The rankings are broken into three subcategories:

Position – Based on numbers of years served in Congress as well as committee assignments and leadership positions the Member of Congress holds. Much of the power a member wields is directly a result of their seniority on a committee or in the chamber as a whole.

Indirect Influence – Refers to the action taken by a member of Congress in 2006 to attempt to affect the outcome of an issue or bill by proactive means. For example this may include, appearing on a Sunday morning talk show, getting newspaper interviews or leading a caucus such as the Congressional Women’s Caucus demonstrates that the Member of Congress influenced the legislative agenda of Congress. This could also include raising and donating money to colleagues or challengers in an attempt to gain allies and support for election to leadership positions or for passing legislation.

Legislation – Refers to the success at each stage of the lawmaking process of the passage of a bill into law in 2006. Members receive points when their bills are passed out of committee, successfully passed on the floor in their chamber, passed by the other chamber, and then signed into law by the President. This also includes attempts to shape the bill through amendments.

For Position Jean scores a 13. A point of comparison would be Zack Space who is a first term Congressman, he scores a 27. Charlie Wilson, another first-termer, scored a 25.

For both Influence and Legislation Schmidt scores a whopping 0, notta, nil, nothing! In other words Schmidt has no pull whatsoever in the media and has failed to introduce or cosponsor any legislation with success.

Basically when Jean Schmidt opens her mouth no one ever listens or cares what she has to say, unless of course she is once again making a fool of herself. NICE, just the kind of “representation” Ohio-2 deserves, but I guess if you people vote for her on Tuesday then you will in fact get what you deserve. It is just a shame that the fools that vote for and support Schmidt subject the rest of us to her uselessness.

Jean Schmidt beware character matters to OH-2 voters

By Nate Noy

Those in Jean Schmidt’s corner should realize how much trouble she is in next Tuesday. Don’t take my word for it, because we all know what I personally think of Schmidt. Instead let’s review the results of the Zogby poll in Ohio-2 from two years ago.

Question 16. In deciding for whom to vote in the Republican primary election in the second congressional district, which is more important to you - the issues in the race or the character of the candidates?

There were 400 respondents, 233 or 55.9% responded character. 144 or 36% responded the issues with the remainder responding that it did not matter or not responding to the question.

Analysis: only 36% of Ohio-2 voters care more about the issues than the character of the candidate. Very, very bad news for Jean Schmidt supporters, because once the Ohio Elections Commission publicly reprimands you (like they did Schmidt) for a “reckless disregard for truth” and making “false and misleading statements” there is little doubt left as to what your true character is.

Question 12. It has been reported that Jean Schmidt has misstated facts about her college education and about endorsements for her re-election campaign. Do you believe...

173 43.3% Simple mistakes with a logical explanation
111 27.8% She lied to help with her reelection
115 28.8% Neither/NS

Analysis: I lost my OEC case against Schmidt in 2006. However, my real victory came in the fact that the AP wire and virtually every news outlet in Ohio-2 ran the FACT that Schmidt had previously been reprimanded by the OEC. The reprimand came a few days before the election in 2006 and was a virtual non-factor. The above poll was conducted before the outcome of the OEC case as well. How many of the 43.3% that previously thought this was a “simple mistake” think that now?

Question 14. Would it make you vote for Jean Schmidt if you knew that she had wrongly stated that she had earned two college degrees when she had actually earned only one?

7 1.7% Much more likely
14 3.5% Somewhat more likely
96 24.1% Somewhat less likely
143 35.8% Much less likely
131 32.8% No difference
9 2.1% NS

Analysis: As I mentioned above people now KNOW Schmidt lied about her fake college degree. Look at the above results: 59.9% of those surveyed would be less likely to vote for Schmidt now that they know the truth.

So 55.9% of Ohio-2 voters consider character their top priority in selecting a candidate and 59.9% are less likely to vote for Schmidt now that they know the truth about her.

The deal is sealed for Tom Brinkman by the fact that Ohio-2’s most well known and well read Christian newspaper endorsed him recently.

Character does matter Jean, and you will find this out when conservatives vote you out of office on Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

RIP William F. Buckley Jr.

By Rick Morris

Today saw the passing of an icon, one of the truly influential figures of the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps fittingly, William F. Buckley Jr. passed away at his desk, probably preparing another brilliant column from his incomparable mind.

Almost singlehandedly, he helped forge what would come to be known as the conservative movement in the mid-1950s, when the New Deal was still the dominant influence in national politics and good old placid Ike was presiding over a solidification of the second American Revolution that FDR instituted by executive fiat two decades before (just as Ike's VP Tricky Dick Nixon would end up strengthening LBJ's Great Society in the early '70s). There was no countervailing force in the USA standing up for the concept of limited government and a muscular, forward-thinking approach in the Cold War. Bill Buckley pioneered the power that would capture the White House in the form of Reaganism a quarter-century later.

There were times when he would take stands that would annoy his friends and followers. I myself was annoyed by a few of his columns, but that's probably not too bad considering that I've read hundreds of them. What he accomplished was as unique as it was impressive: he pulled together strains from disparate sources and created a coherent intellectual and political movement that will outlive him for centuries, even though it is severely bruised at the moment.

I was influenced greatly by his National Review magazine and I was thrilled as a young public policy intern in D.C. to find a treasure trove of old NRs boxed up in the basement of the living quarters I inhabited at the time. I wasn't permitted to take any of them with me, but I greatly enjoyed delving into the chance to see how Buckley and his writers were assessing the important events of the Cold War era as they unfolded. That same year, as a young firebrand attending the Young Americans for Freedom national convention, I had the pleasure of hearing Buckley speak to our banquet. I was thrilled for my good friend Stu Grimes, who had become a national officer of the group and consequently got to be photographed shaking hands with the legend himself. YAF is an important although overlooked part of the Buckley legacy, as he helped found the group and write one of the most important philosophical statements of our time, The Sharon Statement:

"In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual's use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution- the division of powers- is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistance with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?"

It's because of the esteem I have had for so long for National Review that I have not hesitated to criticize it harshly on this blog during this presidential primary season when I felt it lost its way. To reopen those issues today would be disrespectful to Bill Buckley, but I'll note that I firmly believe that the magazine would have been in much better shape had he not bowed out in 2004 -- although I certainly don't begrudge him his right to take it a bit easier in his golden years with his health declining.

The outpouring today on National Review Online is heartening and may portend the beginning of the revival of NR and, dare we hope, perhaps the broader movement it represents. Any column written about him deserves to be read, but I especially suggest the following:

^ the symposium featuring mini-columns from many right-wing luminaries

^ John O'Sullivan's take on how WFB helped to win the Cold War

^ the NRO editorial noting his passing

^ thoughts from many of his appreciative fans

I'm heartened to read in the tributes such an awareness of the specific functions he performed in terms of helping to reshape American political thought. At a time when the conservative movement has lost its way, maybe the refocusing that WFB's passing has brought can regenerate it for a new generation. If you believe in Providential acts as I do, that might have even been the cause of the timing. We can only hope so, and the old genius would no doubt see this as the ultimate tribute. Godspeed Bill Buckley.

Goon Squad/7th Inning Slouch February 28

By Rick Morris

This Thursday's editions of the new FDH Pitch-and-a-Puck programs on
will continue in the grand tradition you have come to expect from us.

On THE GOON SQUAD (7-8 PM EST on STN), I will be joined by STN hockey analyst Kyle O'Rourke to review the NHL trade deadline moves and his recent columns on STN. We'll also be joined by Hockeyology and columnist Russ Cohen for his perspectives on the deadline deals.

On SEVENTH INNING SLOUCH (8-9 PM EST on STN), my co-hosts Mike Ptak and Tony Mazur will join me in breaking down the big moves in baseball's offseason. We reviewed major transactions on our last program; tomorrow night we dig a little deeper to examine the comings and goings that will help shape the upcoming season.

The FDH Thursday night lineup on STN then culminates with THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (9-11 PM EST on STN). Join us tomorrow night for a fun-filled evening that will take you all over the sports landscape on STN.

My favorite Jean Schmidt lie

By Nate Noy

OK, by now everyone KNOWS that Jean Schmidt is a sloppy compulsive liar who could never be trusted, from her OEC reprimand for a “reckless disregard for truth” and making “false and misleading statements” about her fake college degree to the lies on TV in the cover up that followed.

Of course there are the lies she told to Ohio farmers regarding her support of lifting the embargo in Cuba (until anti-Castro groups with a larger checkbook changed her mind.) There is her plagiarism scandal, her lies in a deposition regarding her fake college degree, the money she took from USEC (the company bringing the nuclear waste dump to my hometown in Piketon, Ohio) and her support of that effort.

There also is the lie that she is a “conservative” that believes in the 2nd Amendment (she voted to ban guns in Clermont County when she was a trustee there) and the fact that she voted to devastate our economy by voting to raise the rates of inflation and unemployment.

But MY personal favorite Jean Schmidt lie is one that has gone completely under the radar since October 2004.

The website marathon publishes results of marathons. As everyone knows Schmidt has made her marathon experience an integral part of her persona, in fact one of her paid shill bloggers often uses “94-lb marathon runner from Loveland” when spewing her paid shilling for Schmidt. When I was researching Schmidt for the OEC complaints I filed against her in 2006 I came across the following results:

Chicago Marathon 10/10/04: Jean Schmidt (F52) 4:02:37 11147th place.
Columbus Marathon 10/17/04: Jean Schmidt (F52) 4:13:37 2401st place.

For those of you that have never actually completed a marathon this may seem plausible, however those of us that have run a marathon with a competitive time KNOW that only a small handful of super athletes could ever accomplish this feat. In fact Road Runner Sports has a guide to marathon recovery, in which it states the following about day seven following a marathon:

7. Elevate your legs whenever possible. When you're watching TV, lie on the floor with a pillow supporting your lower back and your legs against a wall. Let your co-workers know that they're apt to find you with your legs on your desk occasionally during the day-you're a marathoner-they'll understand!

People that run marathons can barely walk a week later, and if Jean Schmidt really did run two marathons under 4:14 in one week then she should have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated or something. Of course Jean Schmidt does have a twin sister, so my question for the day is: did Jean’s sister run the race for her in Chicago or Columbus?

You may ask, why would someone bother to have their twin run a race for them? Well, the answer to this is in Schmidt’s character and the medical condition I personally believe she has:

Diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental and behavioral disorders, defines antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
reckless disregard for safety of self or others
consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

Sound like Jean Schmidt to you? Sure does to me!

A mnemonic that can be used to remember the criteria for antisocial personality disorder is CORRUPT[1][2]:

C - cannot follow law
O - obligations ignored
R - remorselessness
R - recklessness
U - underhandedness
P - planning deficit
T - temper

As I’ve said before Jean Schmidt is a psychopath that likely would have been in jail many years ago had she not had a multi-millionaire daddy to bail her out at every turn.

Additionally we all now know that she will soon be facing an IRS investigation for her blatant and intentional disregard of campaign finance law. We also know that she stands no chance in the general election in November. The fact that anyone may actually vote for her next week still boggles the mind of those of us that know the truth about her.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NHL trade deadline winners and losers

By Rick Morris

Today's NHL trade deadline was covered in exquisite detail by writer Scott Burnside. Herewith, my brief thoughts on the biggest winners and losers in the short term -- teams that either moved toward a date with the Stanley Cup or took a step backward.


1. Pittsburgh. Marian Hossa gets added to this lineup? Are you kidding me? Hey, as a lifelong Clevelander I'm born and bred to loathe The Yinzers, but I'm impressed. Hal Gill won't hurt on the blue line, either.

2. Dallas. On the day that Tampa Bay threw in the white towel for this season and turned the page decisively on their 2004 Stanley Cup season by moving their Conn Smythe winner from that campaign, the Stars came away with a huge haul in Brad Richards. His horrible defensive numbers will pick up in Big D and Dallas fills the need for an additional scorer that I thought they still had coming into today.

3. San Jose. When Raider Fan By Another Name files into the Shark Tank this spring, he may be witnessing the team's best run yet. Brian Campbell fills the longtime hole the team has had on the blue line and it's entirely likely he'll provide the same boost to his new team that Joe Thornton provided last year -- albeit that lift only came in the regular season and Campbell was brought in for the games that follow that.

4. Colorado. First a team from Pittsburgh, now my most hated team in sports -- it hurts be objective some days and this is certainly one of those days. But with Forsberg and Foote coming back without damaging the existing roster in any way, this team just locked up a playoff spot IF -- and it's a big if -- Floppy Furesburg is even relatively healthy. Hey, with Darren McCarty coming back to Hockeytown, the first round could be a great nostalgia-fest!

5. Washington. First they get an impressive goalie like Huet on the cheap, then they get a low-risk flyer on Sergei The Enigma. It's very possible to overstate the impact of these moves, but they help and with no margin for error on the Eastern bubble, that's important in and of itself.


1. Detroit. Again, objectivity really hurts today. I've nicknamed Ken Holland "The Smartest Man in Sports," and he's had such a golden touch over the years (including the time since the salary cap was instituted, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, haters!) that it doesn't seem right to bash him today. But bash him I must. Brad Stuart helps on the blue line, but that's the area of greatest strength already. My Wings really needed another scoring wing and I fear it will come back to haunt us in the playoffs.

2. Montreal. How does trading Huet help in the short term? It doesn't, and they're out on a big limb in net right now.

3. New Jersey. You're either upgrading or moving backwards in this climate.

4. Columbus. So much for being a buyer at the trading deadline, although the team may benefit in the long term from their approach.

5. TIE Toronto and Buffalo. See Columbus.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jean Schmidt’s $1.3 million IRS problem

By Nate Noy

Today I filed a Form 3949 A with the IRS reporting Jean Schmidt, the Committee to Elect Schmidt and the Schmidt for Congress Committee for blatant violations of 26 U.S.C. Section 6113(a). Additionally, I provided evidence that this violation falls within the parameters of 26 U.S.C. section 6710(c) constituting an intentional disregard of 6113(a) and therefore subjecting Schmidt and her campaign committees to a $1,000 per day fine for the aforementioned violation.

For those of you that are not experts in campaign finance law, IRS code 26 U.S.C. section 6113(a) states:

(a) General rule. Each fundraising solicitation by (or on behalf of) an organization to which this section applies shall contain an express statement (in a conspicuous and easily recognizable format) that contributions or gifts to such organization are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.

26 U.S.C. section 6710 (a) and (c) provide:

(a) Imposition of penalty. If there is a failure to meet the requirement of section 6113 with respect to a fundraising solicitation by (or on behalf of) an organization to which section 6113 applies, such organization shall pay a penalty of $1,000 for each day on which such a failure occurred. The maximum penalty imposed under this subsection on failures by any organization during any calendar year shall not exceed $10,000.

(c) $10,000 limitation not to apply where intentional disregard. If any failure to which subsection (a) applies is due to intentional disregard of the requirement of section 6113—
(1) the penalty under subsection (a) for the day on which such failure occurred shall be the greater of—
(A) $1,000, or
(B) 50 percent of the aggregate cost of the solicitations which occurred on such day and with respect to which there was such a failure

Thanks again to, a complete historical review of is available.

Excerpts from my correspondence with the IRS are provided below:

The website was established as a campaign website by the Committee to Elect Schmidt on 4/22/01. The Committee’s initial solicitation for funds was published on 2/17/03 and remained unchanged until 7/19/05 a total of 884 calendar days.

On 4/1/2005 the Schmidt for Congress Committee was formed. The contribution solicitation section of campaign website was not altered until 7/20/2005 and remained unchanged until 12/01/2006 a total of 500 calendar days. I have included a printout of the contribution solicitation section of the website. A complete review of the website’s history is available at:*/

A review of the public solicitation for campaign funds posted on the above website clearly shows a blatant and intentional disregard for 26 U.S.C. section 6113(a). The website clearly failed to disclose that contributions are nondeductible. In fact, that the website intentionally disregarded this requirement by misleading potential contributors. The website contained a link to make contributions titled: “Contributions and Tax credits.” While technically correct that Ohio law allows a $50.00 tax credit for the purposes of state income tax, the site failed to notify potential contributors that this tax credit did not apply to federal income tax and was not tax deducible for federal income tax.

Based on this intentional disregard for 26 U.S.C. section 6113(a) the IRS should apply 26 U.S.C. section 6710(c) constituting an intentional disregard of 6113(a) and therefore subjecting Schmidt and her campaign committees to a $1,000 per day fine for the aforementioned violation. Her campaign was in violation for a total of 1,384 days spanning four calendar years.

The evidence:

2/17/2003 – 7/19/05 (884 days)

A change in the Ohio income tax laws now allow a once per year, dollar-for dollar CREDIT for donations to candidates for the Ohio State Legislature. The credit consists of $50.00 for a single person or $100 for a married couple filing jointly.
If you make your check payable to "Committee to Elect Schmidt, 771 Wards Corner Rd., Loveland, OH 45140" for $100.00, the State of Ohio will reduce your tax by the full $100.00 when you file your Year 2003 Ohio Form IT-1040 and report your contribution on line 52 of your joint return ($50.00 credit if you file an individual return).
What a great way to support my candidacy by sending your check to my campaign committee instead of sending it to the State of Ohio in the form of $50.00 or $100.00 in state taxes!
(Just print and fill out this form below)
Yes, I would like to contribute to your campaign. I have enclosed a check for _____. (No corporate checks please.)
Please print the form below, as this information is required by Ohio law.
NAME _____________________________________________________
ADDRESS _____________________________ PHONE ______________
EMPLOYER/TITLE ____________________________________________
CITY ___________________ STATE ________ ZIP _______________
Mail your contributions to:
Committee to Elect Schmidt
771 Wards Corner Rd
Loveland, OH 45140

7/20/2005 – 12/1/2006 (500 days)

(Just print and fill out this form below)
Schmidt for Congress Committee
Yes, I would like to contribute to your campaign.

I have enclosed a check for $________.

(Corporate and foreign national contributions are not permitted)
Please make check payable to ?Schmidt for Congress Committee?
Home Address____________________________________________________

Phone______________________ Email_______________________________
Paid for by the Schmidt for Congress Committee
The maximum an individual may contribute
at this time is $2100.00 ($4200.00 per couple)
Mail your contributions to:
Schmidt for Congress Committee
P.O. Box 867
Milford, OH 45150

What this means for Team Schmidt:

If the IRS agrees with my assertion that this constitutes an “intentional disregard” for the law, then Schmidt will be subject to a $1000 per day fine totaling $1,384,000.00. The BEST CASE scenario for Schmidt is that the IRS does not consider this an intentional disregard and ONLY fines her $10,000 for calendar years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. If she is lucky, this blatant disregard for the law will only cost her $40,000.

Once again Jean Schmidt shows that she is either incompetent (and surrounded by completely incompetent advisers) OR she again shows she really doesn’t think the law applies to her. I’m sure the IRS and US Department of Justice will disagree with Schmidt’s “untouchable” persona.

80th Annual Academy Awards

by The Joneses

First and foremost, it takes a unique individual to stomach every detail of the Academy. For instance, it is our belief that there should be a threshold of box office earnings that would qualify a movie for consideration. This way, you, me, everyone would at least be familiar with the movies being nominated. Have you seen Atonement? Or La Vie En Rose? Into The Wild? Or I’m Not There? Didn’t think so. The biggest issue we have with the Oscars is that it doesn’t award movies that anyone gives a s*** about. If we cared about Atonement, the box office number would be drastically larger. That is our vote, paying to see the movie. Take for example, 300, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, or Knocked Up. These are four movies that are extremely entertaining, and we saw each of them multiple times at the theater. If no one aside from the Academy members went to see it, it clearly was not worthy of the viewing public’s time, and thus, is not worthy of a nomination for the industry’s greatest honor. We will attempt to navigate through the night’s categories, nominees, winners, and losers. We will also be giving our own editorial commentary on the validity or correctness of the results. Note to reader: Not all categories deserve your attention, so we will save you the time and conveniently omit them.

Jason in Blue

Samm in Red

Costume Design-Presented by Jennifer Garner

Across The Universe


Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Aside from the fact that I believe Jennifer Garner is a tool and puts a damper on this category just by reading it, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is probably worthy of this award. Just look at Cate Blanchett’s dress whites as queen. One could make the argument that they deserve this particular Oscar on that outfit alone. To be honest, I was pulling for Across the Universe. Since it is the movie I have most recently seen, and I also sing its praises…it was the nominee that had my rooting interest.

First off, Jennifer Garner has a man face. At least she tried to cover it up with her hair. Now, I have only seen one of the three nominees. But, just from the previews, this was a great pick. Just the beading alone on the costumes is Oscar worthy. And, like Jason mentioned above, Across the Universe is the movie we have most recently watched and enjoyed, so naturally, we were both rooting for it. The designers needed to come up with new ideas, not just copy things from history books. It’s not that hard to copy a 1940’s army uniform. My mother could do it. Oh yeah, and if you win the Oscar for Best Costume Design, shouldn’t you know how to dress yourself? Who dressed these people tonight?

Best Animated Feature Film-Presented by Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway



Surf’s Up

Having these two presenters coming out to the Get Smart theme (foreshadowing one of the summer’s big blockbusters) was great. Steve Carell began as if it thought he was presenting Best Documentary-Classic Michael Scott. For anyone who has children of almost any age or enjoys animated movies and hasn’t seen this film…you should be ashamed of yourself. Especially if you have kids, go out and buy this for them now…if not yourself. Patten Oswalt as a gifted young cook/mouse is priceless. Animated films are not meant for all adults, but this one works. I used it as a “date movie”, suck it!

I LOVE Steve Carell. He could read the phone book and make it funny. Ratatouille is the obvious pick for this category. How dare anyone defy the almighty Pixar! They shall smite you! Besides, it’s one of my favorite movies of the year. Seeing a cute, innocent mouse voiced by a swearing atheist like Patton Oswalt is just…..well, as Jason put it…..priceless. Patton Oswalt is one of my favorite comedians and I love that he can put aside the adult material and bow down to Mickey Mouse. It made for a great kids movie that adults could enjoy as well. Yes, Jason used it as a date movie…..and yes, he got some for it.

Best Achievement in Makeup-Presented by the stunning Katherine Heigl

La Vie En Rose


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Katherine Heigl is attractive, but in presenting this award she was GOOD GOD…you can fill in the rest. This is generally a category I don’t really care about. Unless it goes to the wrong nominee. Like instant replay, it is important to get the correct result. Norbit is a no-brainer, with its latex and hours in the makeup chair-so throw it out. With what’s left, La Vie En Rose-replicate a previous era (something that resembles the 1940’s in France) or create an entire world filled with thousands of Pirates, Colonial Soldiers, witch craft women, etc. Which one sounds more impressive? That’s right, the one that did not win. Remember, especially for this post, “the right team doesn’t always win”.

Katherine Heigl – one of MY picks for the “I’d Hit That Draft”. I call shenanigans on this one. Le Vie En Rose – Never heard of it, so it shouldn’t count. Hell, just the makeup on Geoffrey Rush beat out BOTH of the other nominees. I mean come on. Making a guy as smoking hot as Johnny Depp look that nasty (but still hot, somehow) takes some serious skill. French movie – wrong, Pirates – right.

Best Visual Effects-Presented by Duane “the Rock” Johnson

The Golden Compass

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End


The Rock had a bit about how the Visual Effects from Raiders of the Lost Ark gave him nightmares as a kid. Very funny. What’s not SO F***ING FUNNY, is how arguably the best action/childhood adaptation movie of a generation did not get the nod here. Look, I’ve seen two of the three nominees upwards of 15 times. The third only once. Golden Compass is a good movie. Visually, I get it, 80% of the movie is shot on a green screen so that the CG guys can fill in the rest. But creating green screen polar bears and flying machines pale in comparison to creating OPTIMUS PRIME!!! Or MEGATRON OR BUMBLE BEE OR RATCHET OR STARSCREAM OR I COULD GO ON…do you get the picture? A truck transforms into a robot with a ga-gillion moving parts. But, once again the academy gets it wrong and gives it to the movie with green-screened Polar Bears.

The Rock – I love that he can make fun of himself. This category was hard for me. I’m torn between the Pirates and the Transformers. The Golden Compass…yes, good movie (crappy ending, though), nice green screening, bonus points for casting The Marlboro Man. But, it’s just green screen. Transformers used REAL explosions that actually put the actors in real danger. The scene in the desert with the scorpion-looking thing where they’re all running in slow motion – that’s real terror on their face because if they fall, an explosive could go off in their face. With Pirates, there was SO MUCH CG work in it. Creating the maelstrom, the ships, and even Davey Jones himself. The poor guy had to play the role, pretending that he had tentacles on his face. They had to make up a new way to film him to be able to create the character visually. Academy gets it wrong and looses another point.

Best Art Direction-Presented by Cate Blanchett

American Gangster


The Golden Compass

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

There Will Be Blood

There is a certain and very specific glow, sound, and cheer that comes over Mrs. Jones when she realizes that someone has adapted any Broadway musical into a feature-length film. It is no secret that I believe that full-on song and dance in movies distracts from said movie. Mrs. Jones believes almost the exact absolute value in the other direction. However, we both agree, this movie is GREAT. Like any other Tim Burton movie, there seems to be a darkness to the movie (which really has no bearing here, but) art direction was imperative to the success of this adaptation.

FINALLY! The Academy got one right. I absolutely LOVE the fact that the movie musical is making a comeback. I also love that we are finding out that many of these actors and actresses can really belt it out. Johnny Depp was an obvious choice for this…who else could play an Edward Scissorhands meets Jack Sparrow other than the man who brought both characters to life? Anyway, back on the subject…Sweeney Todd needed a certain darkness about it. It’s a VERY dark musical. The way it was designed and shot really got the point across to me. Bravo. Can’t wait for the movie adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde (just as long as David Hasselhoff does NOT reprise his role as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. I’ll take Johnny Depp again, please!).

Best Supporting Actor-Presented by Jennifer Hudson

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)

Hal Halbrook (Into the Wild)

Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

One note on fashion. Jennifer Hudson looked like a burrito left in the microwave too long. Certain people weren’t meant to be stuffed into certain garments. In a nutshell, if there is ever a “Supporting Actor” award and Philip Seymour Hoffman is in the building, he gets it…period. P.S. Hoffman is the quintessential supporting actor. This has been true since Scent of a Woman. Casey Affleck also looked convincing. No disrespect to Javier Bardem, but his role just wasn’t all that demanding.

Jennifer, honey, we’re bigger girls. We need to wear whole dresses. Cutouts are not for everyone. Javier Bardem is a good looking man if you like that whole rugged, Spanish thing he’s got going. I always like Casey Affleck (I actually like him better than his brother). Tom Wilkinson has a great line in Michael Clayton (I am Shiva the God of Death!). Javier Bardem is wrong, Philip Seymour Hoffman is right. Next.

Best Supporting Actress-Presented by Alan Arkin

Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)

Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

Sarah Sheronin (Atonement)

Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)

Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Clearly, Alan Arkin only has one meter of speaking-boring. When Cate Blanchett is not dressed for a part in a movie, she’s actually nice on the eyes. Ruby Dee is only in American Gangster for a short while. Atonement sucked something awful and all involved should offer to give the patrons their money back. Still haven’t seen Gone Baby Gone. With the exception of Atonement, any of the other 3 would be better than seeing Tilda Swinton. If someone walked by and said, “you look nice today” on any day…let God strike them down immediately. Whoa! She’s bad, and not really a stellar actress to boot.

I really couldn’t care less about anyone in this category. Cate Blanchett is a leading lady, not freaking Bob Dylan (who is probably one of the most BORING singer/singwriters ever. He’s so overrated). From what I saw of Ruby Dee, I probably would have gone with her. Tilda Swinton was only good as Gabriel in Constantine. And what in the ever-loving hell was she wearing? I looked like someone just draped some velour over her and said “It’s gorgeous! You’re ready!”…Kill me. This category sucked. Next, please.

Best Adapted Screenplay-Josh Brolin and James McAvoy


Away From Her

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

No Country For Old Men

There Will Be Blood

“With My Brains And Your Looks, We Could Go Places”, that was Josh Brolin’s Jack impression. Which he immediately apologized to Jack for and offered to buy him a drink for making him suffer through the worst Jack Nicholson impression ever. I really have no particular rooting interest in this one, as long as Atonement doesn’t win. I am so tired of the boring sappy and strictly made for the academy movies…so F*** ‘EM.

Josh Brolin – boring, James McAvoy – hot as hell. I’m a sucker for anyone with an accent. As for the category – don’t care. Next.

Best Actress In A Leading Role – Presented By Forest Whitaker

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)

Julie Christy (Away From Her)

Marion Cotillard (Le Vie En Rose)

Laura Linney (Savages)

Ellen Page (Juno)

Dear the Academy, F*** YOU!!!! Why is it that the Academy often are taken by movies that are, for a lack of a more descriptive word, SH***Y. There is a clear cut #1 option for this award, and even a clear #2. After that, its all garbage and can get thrown out with last night compost. The winner should have been Ellen Page by a landslide. I would have accepted Cate Blanchett. Blanchett’s role as Queen Elizabeth is a career defining one. If you haven’t seen JUNO, then you just don’t understand. Ellen Page was BRILLIANT. It wasn’t just some girl playing some pregnant girl.

I mainly like two kinds of movies – huge, epic movies and funny movies with snarky, quotable lines. But, the academy sees this differently. I mean, why should movies be entertaining? Why should we honor the movies that make us happy and feel good? We can’t because the academy likes to be depressed. I would have preferred Ellen Page to win this one because she is absolutely adorable, a fantastic actress, and if they were to make a movie about my life, I would want someone as cute as her to play me. But, I thought Cate Blanchett had this one. With lines the likes of “I, too, can command the winds, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare if you dare to try me!”, how could she lose? (I’m a sucker for epic yelling). But, NOOOOO….we had to have the boring French chick. Pile. Of. Suck.

Best Song – Presented by John Travolta

Falling Slowly (Once)

Happy Working Song (Enchanted)

Raise It Up (August Rush)

So Close (Enchanted)

How Do You Know (Enchanted)

What can I say, it’s not The Final Countdown, so I couldn’t give a S***.

This category was like when Elton John wrote all those Disney songs. It’s just unfair. Raise It Up SHOULD have won, but the academy always has to go with the weird indy type things. F them. And where was my Hairspray nominations? You Can’t Stop The Beat, Good Morning Baltimore, and Run and Tell That would SMITE all these other songs. Shenanigans! Shenanigans, I say!

Best Original Score – Presented by Amy Adams (she’s from Castle Rock, Colorado! Woo!)


The Kite Runner

Michael Clayton


3:10 To Yuma

Generally, again, I don’t care about this. Unless there is a movie nominated that uses the score to reinforce the details of the movie. I did not gather that with these nominees. I could almost suggest 3:10 to Yuma or Michael Clayton. As much as I love Ratatouille, I am not pressed to push it and it’s score. So, whatever, no sweat off my back either way.

We ALMOST made it through the whole show without Atonement winning an Oscar. No such luck. I was pushing for Ratatouille, but then again I’m biased towards Pixar. Suckage. Next

Best Original Screenplay – Presented by Harrison Ford


Lars and the Real Girl

Michael Clayton



For vintage Harrison Ford fans, his entrance to the Indiana Jones Theme song was not coincidental. If you haven’t heard a fourth Indiana Jones movie is set to run in theaters this summer. On the surface, Juno may seem like just some random comedy that could have been cast by the Steve Carell/Seth Rogan crews. It's much more than that, very witty and smart. The greatness of the movie is found in the unique delivery by most of the actors combined with the “what” that they are saying. It is also an interesting story that the screenwriter not that long ago was a stripper. Juno was most likely her first legitimate break. Can’t wait to see what “Diablo Cody” has in store for us in the future.

HOORAY FOR JUNO! God, I love the snarky-ness of it all. The way that Juno and her friend talk on the phone was UNCANNY to the way one of my best friends and I talk. Yes. People actually talk like that. And I love it. I also love that the lady’s name is Diablo Cody. My friend’s boyfriend’s name is Cody. I think he’ll be getting a new nickname in the future.

Best Actor In A Leading Role – Presented by Helen Mirren

George Clooney (Michael Clayton)

Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

Tommy Lee Jones (In The Valley Of Ella)

Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

This is the closest to a hard category to decide. Viggo Mortensen plays a very convincing Russian mob member complete with omitting articles from his English translation. Tommy Lee is great, but like Denzel Washington, he is always Tommy Lee Jones in every role he takes on. Johnny Depp was the S***! He was absolutely the only actor who could have pulled this off. Furthermore, it is my belief that when you compare his entire body of work, focusing on his range (Crybaby, Secret Window, Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean), Johnny Depp is the best actor of the current generation at the very least. George Clooney is George Clooney. Daniel Day Lewis is awesome when he plays a character that is required to yell and get animated. The funny thing is, his characters and his real life voice are polar opposites. He should speak in his acting voice.

I am completely biased towards Johnny Depp. It takes a lot of balls to get up in front of people and sing. Viggo Mortensen had an extremely convincing Russian accent (the man could act his way out of ANYTHING), but it went to Daniel Day-Lewis. I really am not that big of a fan, but I guess this is okay. I would have preferred my EdwardJack ScissorSparrow, but the academy thought differently.

Best Director-Presented by Martin Scorcese

Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly)

Jason Reitman (Juno)

Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)

The Coen Brothers (No Country For Old Men)

Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)

I really want to say Jason Reitman for Juno. Almost more for Reitman than Juno. Juno is a great flick. However, for the award of direction, I think it would have to go to There Will Be Blood. No Country for Old Men is a good movie, but I think more was achieved in There Will Be Blood.

I was pushing for Juno throughout the entire show, but I also like the Coen Brothers. Good on them.

Best Picture – Presented by Denzel Washington



Michael Clayton

No Country For Old Men

There Will Be Blood

Atonement is a joke. It is a movie that was specifically made to tickle the fancies of the Academy. Juno is a GREAT movie. Juno is a complete movie that runs the emotional gamut. Great acting, plot, development, etc. Michael Clayton is good, but it's still just a decent lawyer flick starring George Clooney. No Country for Old Men was even better than Michael Clayton, but I don’t know. There Will Be Blood is a small movie with big acting. Point being, there are no Shawshank Redemptions, Forrest Gumps, Schindler’s Lists. There is no real true Best Picture Nominee, so I go with Juno just to shake things up a bit. If our grossing minimum idea was applied, this would be populated by Transformers, Knocked Up, 300, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and Juno. So there it is, like most presidential elections best of the evils…JUNO.

I really need to actually see There Will Be Blood. It’s a Miramax film, so I’m bound to like it. And I always enjoy the Coen Brothers. Again, I would have liked to see Juno win, but fun movies never win. How dare we have fun at the movies. Poo on them! I can’t wait to see what next year’s Oscars disappoint us with. Down with boring “deep” movies! I want to be entertained, not given a history lesson! Go Juno!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama candidacy: high stakes for USA

By Rick Morris

Hillary Clinton's campaign is seizing on the prospect of Barack Obama raising hopes that can't possibly be fulfilled as a desperate grasp to keep him from the Democratic nomination. However, despite the fact that everything she says should be taken with an entire shaker full of salt, there is an underlying undeniable truth that is at least somewhat related to Hillary's point: the Obama candidacy has moved this country to a point where the stakes are very high in terms of any potential for national unity and maybe even viability down the road.

Although it's folly to draw too close a comparison with the Middle East, because our country on its worst day is 1,000 times more stable than the lands of feuding fanatics in the desert will ever be, it's worth thinking back to the launch of the Second Intifada in 2000. The first (and God willing, only) President Clinton brought together the key players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to try to put together a nice 11th-hour gloss on his troubled legacy. Hopes were high as the parties agreed on almost all key points. And then -- it collapsed. Yasser Arafat walked away from the table at the end, unable or (probably) unwilling to compromise on the final sticking points. At that point, the bitterness of the raised expectations boiled over and the Palestinians took their militant operations to new heights, threatening the entire region.

Now, I don't think anything like that is possible in the literal sense here in America. I'm even dubious that we'd see a repeat of the urban riots of the late 1960s or those that followed the Rodney King verdicts of 1992. I could be wrong, but I don't think the strife that could arise between the races in this country will erupt in the streets.

However, it's not necessary to have a situation crest to that level for it to truly become a crisis. This country has traveled down a long road of redemption, first becoming the only country to go through a bloody war with itself to extinguish the crimes of slavery, then legislatively addressing the wrongs of Jim Crow. While the media has long harped on remaining points of contention between the races, such as how to administer affirmative action programs, we're at a point of overall peace between races in this country that our parents and grandparents probably could not have envisioned. Go talk to an elderly relative if you don't believe this assertion.

But with the country very much on the verge of electing its first black president, hopes have been raised to a point that could prove dangerous for all of us down the road. Let's examine some scenarios:

^ Hillary overtakes Obama for the nomination through "shenanigans." We've already addressed the point that Hillary has to pretty much leave a smoking crater where Obama used to be if she's to still get nominated. How's that going to go over in the minority community, with a longtime purported friend of theirs destroying their would-be pioneer?

^ John McCain comes back in the polls to win in November. With cynicism still high in the black community on issues of racial justice (for reasons I would partially agree with, given this nation's history), how's it going to look if McCain pulls out a win when all the polls indicate otherwise? Frankly, to many blacks it'll look like this country would never elect a black man under any circumstances.

^ The worst case of all: assassination. The internal strife this country endured in the 1960s over matters of race and war shook us all like nothing since the Civil War. I daresay that if the worst fears of many blacks are realized and Obama does not survive his campaign, the Sixties might look like a cakewalk in terms of ANY prospects for significant national unity. There's no way to ever undo the damage that such a tragedy would inflict on our country, no way to avoid the permanent bitterness if not outright hatred that a significant percentage of our fellow Americans would always carry with them. To a much, much lesser extent, the same would be true if Obama had an unsuccessful presidency and did not get reelected; the sense would be that America dumped him at the first available opportunity regardless of what any of the facts on the ground were.

Because assassination would rip this nation apart at the seams from now until the end of time, it's especially unforgivable that the Secret Service had such an egregious lapse (in Dallas of all places!) when they reportedly relaxed weapons screening at an Obama rally in the interest of speeding up the process. Because an Obama assassination would be more damaging to the country than any single killing that has happened in our history, his security detail should be significantly above and beyond that of any other candidate. The full weight of the disciplinary process needs to come down on any individuals responsible for this idiotic and amateurish decision.

Aside from keeping Obama's security air-tight, there's nothing that can be done to head off any damage from the possibility of high hopes being dashed. At the end of the day, he's a politician like anyone else, albeit a very talented one, and he's going to have to navigate the political process like anyone else. If he has a successful presidency, he'll move us much further along the path to racial reconciliation that we collectively began in the 1960s. Anything short of that is going to set us back in terms of truly being "One Nation Under God," and the only question is how far we get set back.