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Archive for July, 2011

BREAKING: Gov. Christie Rushed To Hospital By State Police; Still Large And In Charge, Says Spokesman

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: The 48-year-old governor was driven to Somerset Medical Center by his state police security detail out of an “abundance of caution,” said Christie spokesman, Michael Drewniak. Christie suffers from asthma and all indications are the governor will be OK, Drewniak said. Maria Comella, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, told The Associated Press that Christie is “fine and in charge.” Close friend and adviser Bill Palatucci said Christie was “getting tests and working from the hospital.” Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was in her office at the Statehouse. Christie attended an education conference and a congressional fundraiser in Iowa on Monday, where he again told reporters he was not running for president. The governor, who took office 18 months ago, has long struggled with his weight, which he said he started putting on after high school when he stopped playing organized sports. He’s tried dozens of diets over the years with varying success and has shed some pounds in recent months. His weight came up during his 2009 campaign against Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine, who ran an ad accusing Christie of “throwing his weight around” to get out of traffic citations while he was U.S. attorney. Christie confronted the ads head on, telling Corzine to “man up and say I’m fat.” MORE

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SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: Destroying America To Save It

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

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BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Nietzsche said, “We do not place especial value on the possession of a virtue until we notice its total absence in our opponent.” Oh how I’ve come to revere such virtues as honesty, integrity and fairness since the debt/deficit reduction talks commenced! And, it’s that very reverence that now leads me to wonder what nature of maleficence courses through the veins of a political party/movement that descries patriotism in the destruction of a nation for the sake of affording more wealth to its already wealthiest.

What’s equally befuddling is why they would choose to adopt such a wealthfare stance in light of the fact that most of them—just like the rest of us—will, in the long run, be the ones who’ll suffer most from a continuing allocation of such preferential treatment for the super-rich. I’m afraid I’ve got some really bad news for most of you Tea Partiers. The vast majority of you aren’t now, nor will you ever become, members of that hoped-for high-enders club. Oh, you may be enjoying a little rub-off for now, but trust me, you ain’t gonna be gettin’ any A-list invites once the show shifts from Washington to West Palm. You’re set decoration, folks. You’re destined for the dump when the final curtain descends.

ShitMyUncleSays_FINAL.jpgMake no mistake my friends, this isn’t just a skirmish over avarice and greed, this is a full-blown war over the preservation of democracy. And, unfortunately, if you’re a supporter of basic fairness and equality, your front lines are showing signs of fatigue. Some of your generals are reaching for the white towels. That’s the Obama/Democrat side. On the other hand, if you find a plutocracy more attuned to your intentions, you’re gaining ground. That’s the Tea Party/Republican side. The former believes that everything should be on the table, but is wavering. The latter says it will accept only that which doesn’t disfavor the wealthy and the military establishment, and isn’t going to budge.

Believe me, this is one time you can say that money truly IS the root of all evil. And right now those with the most gold appear to be willing to sell their nation down the river to hold on to every last gram of it. Who would have thought that ANY American political party or movement could become so self-serving and greedy as to chuck an entire nation aside rather than share in a solution for its survival. It’s sociopathy on a grand scale. Hyperbole aside, folks, there has perhaps never been a more decisive time in the history of the republic. No less than the very existence of the American middle class is at stake.

Keep in mind that the bad guys here are part of the same cabal that got us into this mess to begin with. Three (let us not forget that TRILLION dollar anathema known as the War On Drugs) unnecessary and unpaid-for wars, eight years (2000-2008) of out-of-control spending, a prescription drug plan which the Republican party prohibited from negotiating prices, unconscionable tax breaks for the wealthy, and the most egregious financial fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. These fiascoes, and these ALONE, got us to this point. NOT social security, NOT medicare or medicaid. Social welfare spending had NOTHING to do with it! PERIOD!

In the past it seems we were always able to reach a compromise on the most serious matters effecting our national well being. Our leaders weighed all options and pretty much ended up doing what was best for the most. Sure, there were some smoke-filled back rooms, black hats, and a few ideological detours along the way, but rarely if ever was there the depth of animus and obvious injustice that we see displayed in the halls of Congress today. We have become that most inevitable of all third world outcomes, a country of haves and have-nots, and half the leadership seems not to give a shit. A country where half the leadership prizes power and privilege over ethics and evenhandedness. A country where half the leadership prizes the corporation over the common man, and no longer cares who knows it. One thing’s for certain: a small disparate portion of a once nearly (sorry, I simply can’t bring myself to overlook some its ingrained shortcomings) great Republican party has its ENTIRE leadership so cowed that it’s willing to toss a potentially great nation into the trash in order to uphold a disgustingly preferential pander-to-their-basest-instincts campaign pledge.

Edmund Burke’s words were never truer than at this very moment when he said, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” So what’s it going to be America? Are you going to let a bunch of Tea Party treasonists offer you up as a sacrifice to selfishness and greed? Are you going to forfeit and burn, or are you going to stamp out the fire?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.

1,680 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan
11,191 = The number of Americans  wounded in Afghanistan.
0 = To date the number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history.

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CINEMA: Space Oddity

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976, directed by Nicholas Roeg, 139 minutes, U.K.)

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BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC True to its title, The Man Who Fell To Earth begins with David Bowie’s alien Newton crashing down from the sky in his alien vessel. It isn’t just Newton, Nicholas Roeg’s experimental sci-fi epic also seems like an alien document sent from a far-off place, that place being the mid-1970s. Before Star Wars‘ arrival, mid-70s sci-fi was still heavily influenced by the mystical vagaries of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Roeg’s film, which brought rock phenomenon David Bowie to the big screen for the first time, ultimately found its cult audience outside of the mainstream, mainly through midnight screenings that continued for a good decade after its initial release. Roeg’s challenging, kaleidoscopic film sees the U.S. through an alien’s eyes and its willingness to defy expectations and obscure the narrative distractions of time and space has led some modern viewers (including Phawker’s illustrious editor/publisher) to call “bullshit” on Roeg’s vision. Love it or hate it, it certainly is a far cry from such current sci-fi such as Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern film, a modern day equivalent that offers more easily digestible, crowd-pleasing intergalactic ride.

 

Walking through the New Mexico desert town in the film’s opening, Bowie’s Newton (and perhaps Englishman Roeg himself) looks at the U.S. as an the_man_who_fell_to_earth_original.jpgunknowable foreign landscape. An abandoned inflatable “moon pillow” kid’s ride threatening to blow loose from its anchor symbolizes the barely-tethered carnival ride that is America. Newton arrives with a handful of industrial patents that make him obscenely wealthy almost instantly. Even though Newton compiles great wealth, it does not bring him happiness. Throughout the film, the camera pans across the faraway look in Newton’s eyes, which in turn dissolves into scenes of his alien family, stranded on a desert planet and waiting for Newton return with help. Over the course of the film, we learn that Newton left his planet looking for water to ease their apocalyptic drought. Newton’s plan is to use his vast wealth to bring them water, but along the way America distracts him and derails his plan.

 

From its set-up, it looks like TMWFTE is going to follow sci-fi orthodoxy. Perhaps like the similarly-themed The Day the Earth Stood Still, we’re expecting that the spaceman’s superior intellect is going to give him power over earth’s citizens. In the War of the Worlds it was unseen microbes that brought down the hostile invaders, but here it is the sickness of Western culture itself that ultimately hobbles Newton. Introduced to booze and TV by his earthly companion Mary-Lou (Ameican Graffiti‘s girlish Candy Clark), Newton sits idly in his chair, guzzling gin and watching four, five and later a wall of televisions. He builds an empire with his corporation World Enterprises, but the government (who has been surveilling Newton since his arrival) steps in just before his return voyage in order to keep him in custody, albeit in a gilded, luxurious cage.

 

As a rock star vehicle, TMWFTE perfectly utilizes the otherworldly charisma of David Bowie in his Starman prime. With his mismatched irises and his lean, insect-like body, there is something inscrutable about Bowie, yet something vulnerable and sad as well. Bowie was famously near exhaustion at this time in his career and that fragile quality suits Newton perfectly. There wouldn’t be another so perfectly-tailored pop star vehicle until Prince made Purple Rain eight years later.

 

What seems to frustrate modern viewers is Roeg’s bold strategy to have us witness this world through the reverie of Newton’s mind. Newton’s perception the_man_who_fell_to_earth_original.jpgof time seems obscured by memory and throughout the film the passage of time is uncertain, with characters suddenly aging while Newton stays ageless. Occasionally he glimpses images that foreshadow events in the future in a way that makes time seem less than linear to Newton’s alien perception. Roeg’s love of surreal imagery is present in his earlier masterpieces, 1971’s Walkabout and 1973’s Don’t Look Now, and here the imagery continues to illustrate his themes of man and his alienation from his surroundings. Roeg’s previous film Don’t Look Now was also lauded for its surreal love scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Here, Roeg presents three such sex scenes, one with Rip Torn’s character, a horny college professor and Newton’s future betrayer, carousing nude with a string of co-eds, and two between Newton and Mary-Lou, which feature guns and later the sagging body of the aged Mary Lou and the ageless Newton.

 

So much of our love of cinema is built around fantasies of power, the voyeuristic thrills of wealth and action. The Man Who Fell To Earth seems to promise such pleasures at its opening, but ultimately reveals that despite Newton’s otherworldly knowledge, America and Capitalism will swallow him whole just the same. Leaving this superman drunk and impotent at its closing, it is no surprise The Man Who Fell to Earth remains not a popular fantasy but a cult film, best recommended to those willing to see with the eyes of an outsider what lies behind our modern earthbound delusions.

 

A 35mm print of The Man Who Fell To Earth is playing through Thursday at the Ritz @ the Bourse.

 

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BONUS CUT: THE MAKING OF THIS MOVIE REVIEW

 

JONATHAN VALANIA: Danno, so I went to see The Man Who Fell To Earth re-release on Friday, not having seen it since the early 80s, and MAN, I thought it was laughably bad — the porno-riffic sound design, the cheesy 70s game show theme soundtrack, the ludicrously bad old man/lady make up and the gaping holes in narrative logic. That’s not even factoring in the WTF extreme close-up of Candy Clark peeing her panties. Bowie still looks great in every scene, though.  You still planning to write something for Phawker?

DAN BUSKIRK: [sends review] Take that, Mr. Laughably Bad, Porno-riific Cheesy gaping holes guy.the_man_who_fell_to_earth_original.jpg

JONATHAN VALANIA: [reads review] Haha. Touché. Thanks. Sent from my iPhone.

DAN BUSKIRK: Thanks. I was hoping you’d argue with me.  The age make-up is admittedly not great.

JONATHAN VALANIA: Jane, you ignorant slut. How’s that? OK, I do think you are still drinking the (by now stale) 70s Kool Aid on this, but your points are well taken. And as I read your review I started thinking that I was letting minor things — corny soundtrack, dated audio, ludicrous aging make-up, the peeing — overshadow the film’s virtues. I do think the film attempts to tackle big ideas — the toxicity of American life, the alienation of The Other, and writerly sci-fi as opposed to the purely CGI variety — that nobody bothers to ask in cinema anymore. And I think Bowie’s performance and on-screen magnetism remains impressive. But I stand by my assessment that the film has not aged well, and if they were going to bother re-releasing it, most of those distractions could be easily fixed: re-do the sound design, ditch the score and have Bowie (and maybe Eno) create a new one, and edit it in a way that gives the narrative some clarity without sacrificing that trademark 70s era stoner ambiguity, which I am a sucker for. I think it is telling that Bowie had nothing to do with promoting this re-release.

DAN BUSKIRK: There was a version that originally played the U.S theatrically that was twenty minutes shorter, but people complained about it being less comprehensible. Have you seen other Roeg films, PERFORMANCE, WALKABOUT or DON’T LOOK NOW? The more stuff of his you see, the more you get used to his odd, tangential cutting style.

JONATHAN VALANIA: I have seen PERFORMANCE, and I think that ‘tangential cutting style’ serves him very well in the first third of the film but eventually it grows tedious and obscures the pivot points of the plot, to the extent there is one.

DAN BUSKIRK: I have a laserdisc of his even more spurious JUST A GIGOLO, directed by David Hemmings (star of BLOW-UP, perhaps another Valania “bullshit” call?) Bowie plays a WW1 vet returning to Weimer era Gernamy to work in a brothel. It was Marlene Dietrich’s last role but Bowie and her were never together, despite sharing two scenes. Still not on DVD.

JONATHAN VALANIA: Interesting you should mention BLOW UP, just watched that too for the first time since the mid 80s. I was heavily into my the_man_who_fell_to_earth_original.jpgretro 60s garage rock guy phase then, so I really worshiped that movie. I fucking loved Hemmings, the look, the hair, the clothes, the birds, the cars, the attitude, the Yardbirds, the trippy mod-ness of it all. This time around, still enjoyed all that stuff, but thought Hemmings was more of a jerk than I remembered him being, which apparently was Antonioni’s intention. And at one point I mockingly shouted at the screen: “Oh, he’s SO oblique!” (which my girlfriend thought was quite funny, I’ll have you know). Still, I think it holds up pretty well, and seems much more modern than MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. And hands down, BLOW UP has better sex scenes. The ones in the TMWFTE kinda made me cringe.  Still love the clown/mime troupe bit at the end of BLOW UP. I always took them to be symbolic of the contagion of the psychedelic 60s, but this time I found the very ending to be more baffling than I remembered it being. And I mean that in a good way.

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TONITE: When You’re Strange

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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RELATED: Memphis mama Amy LaVere‘s second album was produced by Jim Dickinson, and she’s gorgeous. What else do you need to know? OK, she slaps a mean doghouse bass, has recorded at Sun Studios, and played with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band [and she played pioneering rockabilly filly Wanda Jackson in the film Walk the Line.] LaVere sings with a coquettish innocence that, frankly, doesn’t fool me for one minute. She knows just what she’s doing, and it sounds fantastic. She moves musically from cocktail shuffle to galloping rockabilly, and will undoubtedly move you as well. Bring napkins. MORE

AMY LAVERE PLAYS WORLD CAFE LIVE TONIGHT

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MUST SEE TV: True Blood Mud

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The Muppets take on HBO’s hallucinatory vampire sex romp. Also, Bert and Ernie were gay all along! Shhhh! Michelle Bachmann might hear.

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Post Office To Foreclose On Phawker Founder’s House

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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MY FOX PHILLY: The Ben Franklin post office in Philadelphia was informed Tuesday that it will likely be shut down, as the U.S. Postal Service attempts to reel in spending by closing thousands of locations across the country. The unassuming, three-story brick building, which pre-dates the Revolutionary War, would lose a post office but potentially gain a pharmacy, a grocery store or “other appropriate retailers,” the Postal Service. The Ben Franklin post office remains the only one in the country that doesn’t fly a U.S. flag. That’s because there wasn’t a U.S. flag in 1775, when Franklin founded what has evolved into today’s Postal Service. There’s a postal museum upstairs from the post office, which is located in a house once owned by Franklin. It opened as a post office in 1975, 200 years after Benjamin Franklin was appointed the country’s first postmaster general. MORE

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Philly Poets Take First Place In International Slam

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011


BAY CITIZEN: On the steps of San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House at around 11 p.m. last Saturday night, 17-year-old Kai Davis finally ran out of words. The silence was a little disconcerting, given the fact that words—specifically Davis’s gift for summoning them, piecing them together, and spitting them out in corkscrewing contortions—were what earned her Philadelphia-based slam poetry team top honors at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival just minutes beforehand. […] Philadelphia’s Davis, along with teammate Jamarr Hall, launched into an impression-riddled critique of popular music. With dreadlocks bouncing, Davis mocked Lil Wayne’s lethargic rhyme schemes, then eviscerated Nicki Minaj’s candy-coated persona. In unison, Hall and Davis scolded pop stars for making children’s “butts clap before they learn how to spell they names.” Once the final scores were handed down, Philadelphia’s team—dazed, still dashiki-clad—convened on the Opera House’s steps. Their coaches, Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio and Kavindu Ade, talked a little bit about the path that got the kids here: the seven qualifying slams that took place between October and March in Philadelphia, the dozens of other poets that didn’t make the cut, the time spent practicing poems in public—sometimes in hundred-degree heat. “They were given nothing,” DiVirgilio said. “This team earned everything they got.” MORE

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Michelle Bachmann’s Wacky Homophobia Is All Fun And Games Until Kids Start Turning Up Dead

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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MOTHER JONES: The first was TJ. Then came Samantha, Aaron, Nick, and Kevin. Over the past two years, a total of nine teenagers have committed suicide in a Minnesota school district represented by Rep. Michele Bachmann—the latest in May—and many more students have attempted to take their lives. State public health officials have labeled the area a “suicide contagion area” because of the unusually high death rate. […] There’s no sure way of knowing why any of the kids took their own lives, but gay rights activists quickly honed in on one factor they saw as contributing to an unhealthy climate for at-risk kids. Anoka-Hennepin has a policy on the books known colloquially as “no homo promo,” which dates in back to the mid-1990s. Back then, after several emotional school board meetings, the district essentially wiped gay people out of the school health curriculum. There could be no discussion of homosexuality, even with regard to HIV and AIDS, and the school board adopted a formal policy that stated school employees could not teach that homosexuality was a “normal, valid lifestyle.”

Later the policy was changed to require school staff to remain neutral on issues of homosexuality if they should come up in class, a change that critics said fostered confusion among teachers and contributed to their inability to address bullying and harassment, or to even ask reasonable questions about some of the issues the kids were struggling with, like sexual orientation. Both policies were put into place at the behest of conservative religious activists who have been among Bachmann’s biggest supporters in the district. They include the Minnesota Family Council (MFC), and its local affiliate, the Parents Action League, which has lobbied to put discredited “reparative therapy” materials in schools. That’s the sort of counseling reportedly practiced by Bachmann & Associates, the mental health clinics run by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus. The clinics reportedly counsel people on how to “pray away the gay” to become straight. Before entering politics, Bachmann served as the education advisor to the MFC-affiliated Minnesota Family Institute, a relationship she has continued. This spring, she headlined a fundraising dinner for MFC, along with Newt Gingrich.

The MFC has waged a seven-year battle to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that will be on the state ballot in 2012. In the Minnesota Legislature, Bachmann was at the forefront of this issue. In 2004, she appeared on the steps at the state capital at a rally supporting a ban on gay marriage and linked the issue to the public schools, telling the crowd, “In our public schools, whether they want to or not, they’ll be forced to start teaching that same-sex marriage is equal, that it is normal and that children should try it.” Teachers and counselors in the district, as well as civil rights activists, say that Bachmann’s closest allies like the MFC have helped create a vitriolic climate in the wake of the teen suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin area that may have hampered the community’s ability to effectively address what was, at root, a serious mental health crisis. MORE

Jordon_Yenor.jpgRELATED: Last week another student in the Anoka Hennepin School District committed suicide. 14 year old Jordan Yenor was an 8th grader at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids. Yenor was found dead in his home last week and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office has said he committed suicide. This is the 8th student suicide in the district in the last 2 years. The district has hired 2 mental health counselors to work with students in need. The Anoka Hennepin District has 38,000 students and is the largest district in Minnesota. MORE

Lance_Lundsten.jpgRELATED: On Saturday evening, 18-year-old student Lance Lundsten of Miltona, Minn., killed himself, local station KSAX reported. The local sheriff’s office “confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide,” though further details were not reported. MORE

RELATED: The news of a high school student’s death and rumored suicide began circling social networking sites Monday morning, after the news began spreading that 18-year-old Jefferson High School student Lance Lundsten had died over the weekend. According to his Facebook page, Lundsten was openly gay. On a Facebook memorial page in Lundsten’s honor, friends said that Lundsten had been bullied at school for his sexual orientation. Some students who knew Lundsten believed the bullying may have led to his death. MORE

Haylee_Page.jpgRELATED: A slumber party in Minnesota ended in tragedy when two eighth grade girls fulfilled a suicide pact, killing themselves and leaving behind suicide notes telling their families that they loved them. The bodies of best friends Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz, both 14, were discovered Saturday by Fentress’ mother, Tracy Morrison. Haylee’s aunt, Robin Settle, said the girl had recently moved to the rural town of Lynd, Minn., and had complained to her family that she felt ostracized and bullied. Settle also said there are indications that the girls had planned their deaths for a long time, even including funeral details in a good-bye note. “I’m shocked and I’m mad and I’m sad…I don’t understand the mentality of kids torturing other kids, kids having to go through this. They don’t think they have anywhere to go to,” Settle told ABC News.com. Settle said that her niece, Haylee, had been the victim of bullying after moving to Minnesota from Indiana with her mother and 8-year-old brother. MORE
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[Illustraton by AVIDOR]

RELATED: Bradlee Dean is a Minnesota radio host, anti-gay activist, and drummer for the band Junkyard Prophet, voted “the second-best unsigned band in the nation” in 1996 by Heaven’s Metal magazine. Dean is likely the only scheduled speaker with a tattoo of Abraham sacrificing Isaac on his forearm; he is almost certainly the only scheduled speaker who has ever gone more than a decade without cutting his hair—a lifestyle decision that gives him a more-than-passing resemblance to Poison’s Bret Michaels. But over the last five years, Bachmann, the politician, and Dean, the metal-head, have formed an unlikely but powerful alliance. Bachmann has helped raise money for Dean’s traveling youth ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International; guest-starred in his television series; and prayed for his ministry to multiply 10-fold. Dean, for his part, has embraced Bachmann, whose district includes his suburban community of Annandale, as an ally against the gay agenda. But his inflammatory rhetoric and past links to an anti-government organization make Bachmann’s own controversial views seem downright pedestrian—and raise bradlee_dean_s_benediction.6916157.40.jpgserious questions about the congresswoman’s choice of associates. MORE

RELATED: “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Bradlee Dean said on YCR’s May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.” MORE

RELATED: Bradlee Dean, a Christian Metal Rocker who runs You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministry, has announced that he is suing Rachel Maddow for $50 million (however, “money is not the issue” according to a press release from his attorney) for false accusations and defamation over remarks about homosexuals and Sharia Law which he says were misrepresented by Maddow. MORE

RELATED: A lawsuit seeking in excess of $50 million has been prepared against MSNBC and its talk-show entertainer Rachel Maddow over statements she made about a Minnesota-based ministry. Word of the development comes in an announcement from officials with the YouCanRunButYouCannotHideInternational ministry run by former rock artist Bradlee Dean. The attorney handling the case is Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and now of Freedom Watch, who said money is not the issue. “This case is filed as a matter of principle,” he said. “We need more Bradlee Deans in the world and hateful left wing television commentators must be made to respect not only his mission but the law.” MORE

RELATED: Muslims are just one of many groups that the tattooed, long-haired preacher reviles. Last year, he even had kind words for the way Islam deals with a group he abhors even more—homosexuals. “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” he said on his radio show, The Sons of Liberty . “It shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”  After his remarks were reported by the Minnesota Independent, Dean backed off and said he did not believe gays and lesbians should be put to death. There is no question, though, that they are his bête noir. He’s spoken in favor of imprisoning them and believes they should be barred from government jobs. In January, when a woman named Sharon Lubinski became the first openly lesbian federal marshal, Dean claimed her appointment was illegal, saying: “Sodomy is against the law in the United States. Homosexuality is against the law in the United States.”  On average, he says, gay people “molest 117 people before they’re found out.” Like others on bradlee_dean_s_benediction.6916157.40.jpgthe far right, he presents homosexuality as part of a conspiracy designed to erode the United States from its foundations. As one of his mentors, Harry Jackson, said on Dean’s radio show, gay marriage is part of “a satanic plot to destroy our seed.” MORE

RELATED: Dean complained about the treatment he has received by the media. “When doing high schools across the country we noticed that when the media began to push an illegal agenda called the gay agenda (sodomy is illegal in this country) we started getting attacked from the media,” he wrote. Sodomy laws, which were often used to imprison gays and lesbians as recently as the 1980s, were declared unconstitutional in Minnesota in 2001 and nationwide in 2003. Dean has frequently spoken of the need to enforce sodomy laws against gays and lesbians who he views as criminals. “All the way up until 1961 it was illegal in every state to commit the crime of sodomy. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness up until 1973. There has also never been any such thing as gay marriage in the history of mankind. So, for simply inciting the laws of the land in which the radical homosexuals hate so much, I became a target,” he wrote. “The radical homosexuals want to re-educate America by teaching people of all ages to hate the laws that expose their crimes. So the next time you hear ‘hate crimes,’ remember that is the criminal who hates the law.” Dean wrote that he believes gay marriage is part of a larger conspiracy. “This is not about homosexuals getting married; this is about a government-backed agenda,” he wrote. “Radical leaders are using the homosexual communities as a political battering ram to overthrow all sense of right and wrong.” MORE

CITY PAGES: Bradlee Dean’s Benediction OR How a tracksuit-wearing homophobe became the MN GOP’s favorite preacher

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[Illustraton by AVIDOR]

PREVIOUSLY: PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF: Michelle Bachmann’s Husband Runs ‘Gay Cure’ Clinic With Taxpayer Funds

RELATED: Most professional psychologists view reparative therapy skeptically, to say the least. In 2007 the American Psychological Association assembled a task force to study the effectiveness of this approach. After spending two years sifting through the available research—it evaluated eighty-three studies dating back to 1960—the group concluded that there was scant evidence that sexual orientation could be changed. What’s more, it found that attempting to do so could cause depression and suicidal tendencies among patients. Based on these findings, in 2009 the APA voted to repudiate reparative therapy by a margin of 125 to 4. MORE

RELATED: Dr. Bachmann, who recently called himself his wife’s “strategist,” has acted as her media planner, traveling assistant and even personal shopper. They share a bond born of a mutual religious awakening in high school and college, a deep faith in an especially conservative form of Lutheranism, and a common abhorrence of homosexuality. MORE

RELATED: “It’s pretty much a given that the most vociferously homophobic men are usually repressing something. But, oh Mary, Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus takes the ever-loving cake. He’s a cure-the-gay therapist out of a John Waters movie. I haven’t seen flames this high since the last California wildfire…” MORE

RELATED: The gay blogosphere has been buzzing in recent days about a candid video posted online that shows the husband of Michele Bachmann sashaying down a hallway with a drag queen’s strut and an audio of him speaking out against gays in a high-pitched, almost lisping voice. MORE

RELATED: In a November 20, 2006 Star Tribune article titled ” Bringing a touch of haute to the U.S. House “, Kim Ode quoted Michele Bachmann describing the fashion help she gets from Marcus:

Shopping help comes from another quarter, as well. Before Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit this past summer, Bachmann ‘s husband, Marcus, hit the stores – “he’s got a good sense of style” – and came home with “a sleek, simple hourglass dress with a yoke collar in winter white.” He even bought a matching coat and shoes. “I just slipped it on.” MORE

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INCOMING: Nevermind The 20th Anniversary

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

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Released in September 1991, Nirvana’s sophomore album and major label debut elevated Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl from a critically acclaimed Aberdeen, Washington cult band to generational spokesmen who’d unwittingly created a cultural shift and musical touchstone. Rising to #1 the world over by year’s end and ultimately selling over 30 million copies worldwide, Nevermind would come to be much more than one of the most successful and influential albums of its or any era: As the album that returned unaffected rock n roll integrity and passion to the top of the charts, Nevermind would prove a singular inspiration to fans and musicians alike over the last two decades–and will undoubtedly do so for generations to come.

Now on the occasion of Nevermind’s 20th anniversary, Universal Music Enterprises presents a full spectrum re-release worthy of such a pivotal classic. With configurations ranging from a  4-CD/1-DVD Super Deluxe Edition to a standard digital/CD remaster of the original album, the 20th anniversary reissue of Nevermind makes the most of the occasion, unearthing literally dozens of previously unreleased recordings, obscure B-sides, alternate mixes, radio sessions, studio rarities and live recordings including a Halloween 1991 concert at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre in its entirety.

The limited numbered Super Deluxe Edition more than lives up to its name as one of the most expansive and ambitious collections of its kind. The Super Deluxe features not only the original remastered album and accompanying studio and live B-sides, but the first full official release of the pre-Nevermind demos recorded at producer Butch Vig’s  Smart Studios, as well as boombox recordings of subsequent rehearsals through which the listener can actually experience “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are,” “On A Plain” and others take shape before his or her very ears. The Super Deluxe also offers an altogether new perspective on the finished Nevermind album exclusive to this format in the form of the Devonshire Mixes: the album as produced and mixed by Vig as opposed to the commercially released final version produced by Vig and mixed by Andy Wallace. Rounding out the Super Deluxe are a pair of previously unreleased BBC recordings and the aforementioned 1991 Paramount show available for the first time and exclusive to this format on CD and DVD (which also features all four music videos from Nevermind), as well as a stunning 90-page bound book full of rarely and never before seen photos, documents and various other visual artifacts of the Nevermind era. The Super Deluxe audio will also be available for digital download.

The Nirvana Nevermind 20th anniversary reissue is also available as a 2-CD Deluxe Edition featuring the remastered album and B-sides, the Smart Studio sessions, boombox rehearsals and BBC sessions, a 4-LP 180-gram heavyweight vinyl edition featuring the same 40 tracks as the Deluxe Edition, a remastered CD of the original album, and digital versions of the standard and deluxe editions. The Paramount concert, transferred from 16mm film and multi-track audio, is the only known Nirvana concert shot to film and will be available in a 1080p high definition picture and uncompressed 5.1 surround sound and stereo in stand-alone Blu-ray, along with DVD and digital long form video formats.

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JUST WONDERING: Where Were The Fiscal Watchdogs Of The Tea Party From 2000-2008?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

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[SOURCE: New York Times]

EZRA KLEIN: What’s also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama’s major expenses were temporary — the stimulus is over now — while Bush’s were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn’t just lower revenue for 10 years. It’s clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them. MORE

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LISTEN LIKE THIEVES: Free Fleet Foxes Downloads

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

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MP3: “Grown Ocean”

MP3: “Helplessness Blues”

RELATED: 09/24/11 Sat – Brooklyn NY @ Williamsburg Waterfront

PREVIOUSLY: The hirsute Seattle six-piece is largely acoustic and traffics in autumnal ’60s folk-rock and sun-dappled three-part harmonies that can be deadly in the wrong hands; Saturday they managed to stay on the right side of preciousness. The current incarnation – lead singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold, bassist/backing vocalist Christian Wargo, guitarist/drummer/backing vocalist Joshua Tillman, mandolinist Skyler Skjelset, keyboardist Casey Wescott, multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson – proved remarkably precise and versatile, adept at replicating the arrangements’ ethereal sonics and whisper-to-a-scream dynamics. And those immaculate, sunbeam harmonies – part Beach Boys, part Gregorian chant – raised the hairs on the back of my neck. MORE

Fleet Foxes – Grown Ocean from Fleet Foxes on Vimeo.

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FOLLOW THE MONEY: Mitt Romney Sucks Koch

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

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ROLL CALL: Patton Boggs, D.C.’s largest lobbying firm, and a lobbyist for Koch Industries are playing host today to a luncheon fundraiser for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. The firm’s Trent Lott and Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, are among the K Street power players who are hosting the $1,000-a-person event. Ginsberg referred comment about the event to the Romney campaign, which did not respond to an inquiry by press time. Other lobbyists on the host committee include Andrew Siff of Siff & Associates, whose clients include Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, according to lobby disclosures filed with Congress. Lott’s K Street clientele includes AT&T, Citigroup and Shell Oil. The luncheon, according to an invite, is part of a “Lawyers for Romney” event and begins at 11:45 a.m. The host committee members are responsible for raising $5,000. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: Perhaps the most noteworthy lobbyist originally slated to attend the Romney event is an individual who was forced to back out at the last minute. Andrew Siff, of the firm Siff & Associates, was listed as a host on one of the first invitations to be sent out by the Romney campaign. Siff’s political significance is owed to the fact that he lobbies for Koch Industries, the private energy conglomerate that has become a Democratic bogeyman for its willingness to bankroll conservative causes. Asked about his presence on the host list, the Romney campaign responded Monday that Siff had bowed out of the event. Reached by phone, Siff confirmed that he would not be in attendance on Tuesday night; not because he no longer supports Romney — he said he does — but because he had a personal issue to deal with instead. Siff gave Romney the $2,300 maximum donation during the 2008 primary election and told The Huffington Post that he planned to back his current run for the White House as well. MORE

POLITICO: Billionaire David Koch’s public proclamation that he’s uncommitted in the 2012 Republican field runs counter to what top Mitt Romney supporters had stated as fact for the past year — that the wealthy libertarian industrialist was firmly in Romney’s camp. As POLITICO first reported, Koch — who’d backed Romney in 2008 — held a major meet-and-greet event for the former Massachusetts governor at his Hamptons home last summer. Several top Romney supporters described Koch and his wife, Julia, as committed to the candidate shortly after the event, a notion that was repeated by some of Romney’s major donors as recently as last month. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Mitt Romney had a major fundraiser event in the Hamptons yesterday at the home of mega-businessman David Koch and his wife, I’m told by several sources. MORE

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You Only Get Out Of Democracy What You Put Into It

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

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ETHICAL PHILLY: As the flyer describes, this will be the 1st time ever that non-political members of the Federal, State, and Local watchdog agencies will be on a panel explaining how public corruption is investigated, by whom, and how it is best reported. Then they will take questions from the audience. Just look at the three panelists: Harvey Rice, who was the state Safe Schools Advocate (until it was nixed by the budget) – who is now Deputy City Controller (auditing the missing money at the Sheriff’s Office and School District, etc.), Pat Blessington, a former municipal prosecutor who led the State Attorney General’s Public Corruption Unit – who just got brought over by District Attorney Williams to set up a City Anti Corruption unit within the District Attorney’s Office…and last but not least – John Roberts, the FBI agent who was part of bringing down Vince Fumo and put the bug in Mayor John Street’s Office. Many of us here in Philly kind of except corruption as a way of life. I put the guys together to show us how we can put a huge dent in it, especially by organizing the community in a way that acts a a watchdog for the elected and senior appointed leaders we employ. MORE

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