Tag Archives: John Yoo

The Oscar nominees bring some surprises. Obama’s State of the Union leaves me uninspired. And Federer-Nadal at the Aussie Open, set your DVR.

Tuesday was almost a national holiday for me, with two of my favorite topics (movies and politics) taking center stage.
First, the Oscar nominations came out. Was a little surprised “Bridesmaids” didn’t get a Best Picture nod. Was more than a little surprised the excellent Leo DiCaprio didn’t get a nomination for Best Actor for “J. Edgar.” He was phenomenal in that.
Happy to see “Midnight in Paris,” do well for Woody Allen, though I don’t see it winning anything. Would love to see Melissa McCarthy win just so someone from “Gilmore Girls” wins an Oscar. (I bet Michel is somewhere quietly fuming).

Overall, I think the Academy did a pretty good job. I’ve got some movies to see between now and Feb. 26. First up: “Moneyball.”

**Watched the State of the Union with great anticipation Tuesday night. I was ready for some fire and brimstone out of Mr. Barack Obama.
And what I got was … meh. A so-so speech, I thought, with enough tax credit proposals to choke a horse and very few of what I thought are “do-able” this year in Congress.
A couple things I didn’t like, followed by a couple things I liked:
— Really got rubbed the wrong way by all of Obama’s “America is awesome, yeah!” rhetoric. Reminded me WAY too much of the last guy we had in office, some fella named W. Why do our presidents have to treat us like we’re high school kids at a pep rally?
— A couple of Obama’s challenges really puzzled me. Requiring states to make kids stay in high school until they’re 18? I know I’m new in the education game but I can guarantee 99 percent of high school teachers out there would groan at that proposal. Because as I saw this fall while quasi-student teaching, there are quite a few 17-year-0ld freshmen out there with no interest in doing anything but being disruptive.
And Obama threatening colleges to keep tuition low? How, exactly, is he going to get them to do that?

— I did like his proposal to have AG Eric Holder investigate illegal lending and packaging of risky mortgages that helped get us into the housing crisis. Course, I’m still pissed he didn’t let Holder investigate John Yoo and Dick Cheney, among others, for war crimes a few years ago, but hey, I’m not one to hold a grudge.
— I’m glad Obama started and ended with bin Laden and how much he’s gotten accomplished overseas. He did end the war in Iraq, as promised.
— And I really liked Obama’s combative tone toward Republicans. Enough of this stalling and delaying bullshit, he seemed to say. I’m going to keep reminding Americans for the next nine months that’s it’s you guys who are stopping my bills and ideas that could help Americans get jobs and pay lower taxes.
My man Pearlman had the line of the night, I thought:  “John Boehner: Has any man who has done less for the rights of minorities done more to intentionally darken his own skin?”
Still, I wanted more from Obama. I’m sure a lot of my liberal friends (like my Mom, who loved the speech) will disagree with me. But it felt like a lot of Obama pandering to everyone he could in the speech, and that’s not the guy I voted for.

**Finally, the greatest individual rivalry in sports resumes in the wee hours of the morning tonight, about 3:30 a.m.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play in the semifinals of the Australian Open.I don’t expect you to stay up and watch, even a hardcore tennis lunatic like me is going to watch it on DVR.
Like a rare delicacy or a trip to your favorite city, every Federer-Nadal match should be treasured and warmly embraced, since we may not have many of them left. These two class acts, whose primes have almost overlapped, have battled through some of the most classic matches in tennis history.
I have no idea who’ll win this one. Federer is playing outstandingly well so far this tournament, and seems completely relaxed. Rafa has had to work hard in his last couple of matches and, as usual, is battling injuries.

I of course am pulling for my man Federer, but I hope it’s a five-set classic.  When Federer and Nadal meet, that’s not usually too much to ask for.

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The bizarre world of Chatroulette.com, the hilarious Colbert, and a great Yoo protest

So apparently Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like just aren’t giving us enough interpersonal connections to people we know, or once knew.

Nope, now we have something truly bizarre called chatroulette.com, and the way it works is this: If you have a webcam, you sign on to their site, and within a few seconds another random stranger with a webcam pops up on your screen. Within five seconds, you can begin to talk to that person, and you or your new “friend” can decide to end the conversation by clicking “end.”

I read about it in New York magazine and in the Washington Post, and so I decided to try it last Sunday (Julie’s opinion: “I don’t want some stranger seeing me.”  I didn’t mention that strangers see her every day on the street. But I digress).

My verdict? Eh. I was on for about 10 minutes, and after an initial “Hi,” I was rejected by every person I connected with. I’m sure the guys on there are just looking for hot women, and vice versa for the women. It seems thrilling at first, “hey, let’s talk to a total stranger who could be on the other side of the world.” Then, it quickly turns into high school, when you’re not cool enough to talk to the other kids with webcams.

I guess chatroulette.com is harmless fun if you’re bored. When I discover sites like this, I’m still kind of amazed at how fast and how far the Internet has come. Just stop and think for a second: The fact that sitting in my living room, I can click a button and have conversations with people, and see them, from any continent in the world, would’ve been unimaginable to most of us 15 years ago.

**And now, for something completely different: When unconvicted war criminal John Yoo (he wrote the torture memos during the Cheney/Bush administration, and yes, that’s the order they should be listed in) showed up for a speech at Johns Hopkins, two students quietly protested. They held up a banner reading “Try Yoo for torture.” Security at the school and the professor of the class tried to silence them, but they stood firm.

As Andrew Sullivan pointed out today, this should be common practice everywhere Yoo goes. We cannot forget the horrors that this man helped perpetrate, and the incredible damage he did to our reputation, worldwide.

Bravo to these two students at Hopkins:

Finally, a big ole’ belly-laugh for your Friday. Stephen Colbert, with Bob Costas late Wednesday night. I nearly doubled over in laughter near the end.

Check it out here.