Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I heart Helen Thomas

I woke up to this exchange this morning and it made me smile:

"BUSH: Helen, after that brilliant performance at the Gridiron, I am...

QUESTION: You're going to be sorry.


BUSH: Well, then, let me take it back.

QUESTION: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President -- your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime.
Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth -- but what's your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, the quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?

BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- that I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect.


BUSH: Hold on for a second, please. Excuse me. Excuse me.
No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true."

Of course his answer goes on ad nauseum and it's the same bullshit he always spouts, but I want to shift the attention from our President's idiocy for a moment and focus on Helen Thomas. She ROCKS. This woman has been around since JFK. She's one of the country's most respected journalists.
Nevertheless, this administration has moved her to the back row for press conferences.

I found this on Wikipedia:

"In July 2005 Thomas was quoted in the newspaper The Hill saying "The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself. All we need is one more liar." ...

In a November 2002 talk at MIT, Thomas revealed: "I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'" Two months later, the answer to that question revealed itself in an off-the-record comment to a reporter from the Torrance, California Daily Breeze following the Society of Professional Journalists annual awards banquet. "This is the worst President ever. He is the worst President in all of American history." The Breeze ran the quote."

Helen has let loose a bit in recent years, which only bolsters her credibility. I admire her tenacity, her eloquence and her wit. I can't wait until once again she's able to ask probing questions of great presidents from the front row.

Thank you, Helen Thomas.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash and Burn

Ugh. Oh well.

As usual, I must borrow my words from the more eloquent. The veteran LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan sums up exactly my disappointment at Crash's success.

"I do not for one minute question the sincerity and integrity of the people who made "Crash," and I do not question their commitment to wanting a more equal society. But I do question the film they've made. It may be true, as producer Cathy Schulman said in accepting the Oscar for best picture, that this was "one of the most breathtaking and stunning maverick years in American history," but "Crash" is not an example of that.

I don't care how much trouble "Crash" had getting financing or getting people on board, the reality of this film, the reason it won the best picture Oscar, is that it is, at its core, a standard Hollywood movie, as manipulative and unrealistic as the day is long. And something more.

For "Crash's" biggest asset is its ability to give people a carload of those standard Hollywood satisfactions but make them think they are seeing something groundbreaking and daring. It is, in some ways, a feel-good film about racism, a film you could see and feel like a better person, a film that could make you believe that you had done your moral duty and examined your soul when in fact you were just getting your buttons pushed and your preconceptions reconfirmed."

Couldn't have said it better myself. And believe me, I tried.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Diamonds- still bloody

(image courtesy Amnesty International)

Inspired by a post over at Greek Tragedy, wherein Ms. Klein expresses a desire for an "eternity band" of diamonds, I thought I'd remind my faithful following that the diamond business is still pretty damned excruciatingly horrible. Sure, the war in Sierra Leone is over, but the industry is still gobbling up diamonds used to foment bloody conflict in Liberia and Ivory Coast. Don't believe me? Check it:

Rough Trade: Diamond Industry Still Funding Bloody Conflicts in Africa

If you must have a diamond, insist that it be conflict free. This is relatively easy to do, and will ensure that the pretty gem on your finger did not fund some child soldier's kalashnikov. Global Witness has prepared a user-friendly guide to buying conflict free.