Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Humor

Does America Really Need Another Excuse for Catholics to Get Drunk?

Freehold, Iowa - March is now upon us. It is the month that Catholics cause to come in like a lion eating True Christians™, and Baptists rescue and make go out like the Lamb of God. Right at this very moment, the Pope is instructing his new cardinals, all wearing dresses the color of Satan's rump, to open the lower dungeons of the Vatican and let loose their annual storehouse of malignant leprechaun spirits to steal gold from wealthy, blessed Evangelicals and spread green leprosy into the homes and upholstery of True Christians.

From (Yes, I know it's satire.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Power of Christ is No Match for Corned Beef

Bishops Bend Rules for St. Patrick‘s Day Staff and agencies
15 March, 2006

MILWAUKEE - Michael O‘Leary doesn‘t need to choose between sinning and nibbling this St. Patrick‘s Day. O‘Leary will enjoy his corned beef on Friday with a clear conscience — thanks to a special dispensation from another Irish-American, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee.

Many bishops offered the same deal the last time St. Patrick‘s Day fell on a Friday during Lent — in 2000. The Archdiocese of New York has always extended a dispensation when the calendar lined up because St. Patrick is the patron saint of the archdiocese, spokesman Joseph Zwilling said.

"It is being done in honor of St. Patrick," O‘Leary said. "It‘s not as though I‘m having something I would normally have. It‘s a special thing."

While eating meat on a Friday in Lent isn‘t considered a mortal sin — the gravest category — it does take a dispensation for the church to lift the rule. At least 67 of the country‘s nearly 200 dioceses provide such dispensations, said Rocco Palmo, a Catholic commentator who has been keeping an informal count on his blog "Whispers in the Loggia."

"It‘s a dispensation. It‘s meant to be observed in an appropriate way," Hohl said.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa, has opted against a dispensation to the 100,000 Catholics in his diocese.

"For the most part, I think people understand it‘s really why we are who we are as a Catholic family and that‘s to observe some of the traditions of the church," Wharton said.

"I will deny myself something and pay it back," O‘Leary said.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Feingold is the Man and Google Gives In

Proving that his claim that he is among the most progressive leaders in the US Senate, Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold introduced a resolution to censure President Bush over the domestic spy program. Read a transcript of his introduction of the resolution here.

In other privacy issues, a federal judge has ordered Google to turn over its records to the Department of Justice under the guise that they are attempting to revive a law that would try to prevent children from being exposed to pornography.

The Justice Department initially wanted a breakdown of search requests and Web site addresses from Google for a study that the government believes will prove filtering software doesn't prevent children from viewing sexually explicit material on the Internet.
Google refused to hand over the information, even as three other major search engines turned over some of the requested data. The Mountain View-based company maintained the government's request would intrude on its users' privacy as well as its closely guarded trade secrets.

Google's protests prompted the government to scale back its requests dramatically. Justice Department attorney Joel McElvain told Ware Tuesday that the government now wants a random sampling of 50,000 Web site addresses indexed by Google and the text of 5,000 random search requests.

McElvain said just 10,000 of the Web sites and 1,000 of the search requests would be used in a study for a Pennsylvania case revolving around the online child pornography law that has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The last sentence of this excerpt is misleading. The case is not about pornography featuring minors; the law is about attempts to block children from getting to pornographic material. And the trouble is that court cases have actually demonstrated that there is no evidence that porn is harmful to children. In fact, this Australian study suggests that a little smut would do us all some good.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another Brick in the Wall of University Advancement

If this is a sign of things to come, all of us concerned with free and open discourse on college campuses should be concerned.

As noted in Tony Palmeri's blog, the US Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of student journalists at Governors State University, where a dean had insisted on reviewing their newspaper before publication after the student newspaper criticized the university's administration.

The fact that a school administration can legally intervene and review student publications creates a potential chilling effect on the student speech. This ruling, coming on the heels of trends like this and this, makes me fear for the future of academic freedom and expression on all levels of society. And lest we forget this little incident.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Academy Awards Articles and Predictions

The Academy Awards will be broadcast on television tonight.

In the Currents section of today's Mankato Free Press, Donna Casella, Joe Tougas, and I are interviewed and give our predications and opinions about the nominees in some of the high profile catagories.

The new issue of Static is out and contains an article written by me with my predictions and preferences for the awards. This is also their second annual "Wordsmith" issue, focusing on local writers. Included is an interview with Henry Jones, a Minnesota native and former MSU student who has had success in the Hollywood screenwriting industry.

On today's broadcast of Maverick at the Movies I named my picks in all of the catagories. Unfortunately, because of a computer error, the last fifteen minutes of the show were cut off. Here is a full list of the nominees. My picks for predicted winners are in italics.

Original Score
"Brokeback Mountain" Gustavo Santaolalla
"The Constant Gardener" Alberto Iglesias
"Memoirs of a Geisha" John Williams
"Munich" John Williams
"Pride & Prejudice" Dario Marianelli

Original Song
"In the Deep" from "Crash" by Kathleen "Bird" York and Michael Becker
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from "Hustle & Flow" by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
"Travelin' Thru" from "Transamerica" by Dolly Parton

Actor in a Leading Role
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote”
Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain"
Joaquin Phoenix in "Walk the Line"
David Strathairn in "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Actor in a Supporting Role
George Clooney in "Syriana"
Matt Dillon in "Crash”
Paul Giamatti in "Cinderella Man"
Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain"
William Hurt in "A History of Violence"

Actress in a Leading Role
Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica"
Keira Knightley in "Pride & Prejudice"
Charlize Theron in "North Country"
Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line"

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in "Junebug"
Catherine Keener in "Capote"
Frances McDormand in "North Country"
Rachel Weisz in "The Constant Gardener"
Michelle Williams in "Brokeback Mountain"

Best Animated Short Film (No prediction)
"Badgered" Sharon Colman
"The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation" John Canemaker and Peggy Stern
"The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" Anthony Lucas
"9" Shane Acker
"One Man Band" Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews

Best Animated Feature Film
"Howl's Moving Castle" Hayao Miyazaki
"Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
"Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit" Nick Park and Steve Box

Art Direction
"Good Night, and Good Luck." Art Direction: Jim Bissell; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" Art Direction: Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
"King Kong" Art Direction: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Dan Hennah and Simon Bright
"Memoirs of a Geisha" Art Direction: John Myhre, Set Decoration: Gretchen Rau
"Pride & Prejudice" Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

"Batman Begins" Wally Pfister
"Brokeback Mountain" Rodrigo Prieto
"Good Night, and Good Luck." Robert Elswit
"Memoirs of a Geisha" Dion Beebe
"The New World" Emmanuel Lubezki

Costume Design
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" Gabriella Pescucci
"Memoirs of a Geisha" Colleen Atwood
"Mrs. Henderson Presents" Sandy Powell
"Pride & Prejudice" Jacqueline Durran
"Walk the Line" Arianne Phillips

Film Editing
"Cinderella Man" Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
"The Constant Gardener" Claire Simpson
"Crash" Hughes Winborne
"Munich" Michael Kahn
"Walk the Line" Michael McCusker

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Howard Berger and Tami Lane
"Cinderella Man" David Leroy Anderson and Lance Anderson
"Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" Dave Elsey and Nikki Gooley

Best Documentary Feature
"Darwin's Nightmare" Hubert Sauper
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" Alex Gibney and Jason Kliot
"March of the Penguins" Luc Jacquet and Yves Darondeau
"Murderball" Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro
"Street Fight" Marshall Curry

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club" Dan Krauss
"God Sleeps in Rwanda" Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman
"The Mushroom Club" Steven Okazaki
"A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin" Corinne Marrinan and Eric Simonson

Best Foreign Language Film
"Don't Tell" Italy
"Joyeux Noël" France
"Paradise Now" Palestine
"Sophie Scholl - The Final Days" Germany
"Tsotsi" South Africa

Best Live Action Short Film (No prediction)
"Ausreisser (The Runaway)" Ulrike Grote
"Cashback" (The British Film Institute) Sean Ellis and Lene Bausager
"The Last Farm" Rúnar Rúnarsson and Thor S. Sigurjónsson
"Our Time Is Up" Rob Pearlstein and Pia Clemente
"Six Shooter" Martin McDonagh

Sound Editing
"King Kong" Mike Hopkins and Ethan Van der Ryn
"Memoirs of a Geisha" Wylie Stateman
"War of the Worlds" Richard King

Sound Mixing
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Terry Porter, Dean A. Zupancic and Tony Johnson
"King Kong" Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek
"Memoirs of a Geisha" Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Rick Kline and John Pritchett
"Walk the Line" Paul Massey, D.M. Hemphill and Peter F. Kurland
"War of the Worlds" Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Ronald Judkins

Visual Effects
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar
"King Kong" Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor
"War of the Worlds" Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randal M. Dutra and Daniel Sudick

Adapted Screenplay
"Brokeback Mountain" Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
"Capote" Screenplay by Dan Futterman
"The Constant Gardener" Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
"A History of Violence" Screenplay by Josh Olson
"Munich" Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth

Original Screenplay
"Crash" Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco, Story by Paul Haggis
"Good Night, and Good Luck." Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
"Match Point" Written by Woody Allen
"The Squid and the Whale" Written by Noah Baumbach
"Syriana” Written by Stephen Gaghan

"Brokeback Mountain" Ang Lee
"Capote" Bennett Miller
"Crash" Paul Haggis
"Good Night, and Good Luck." George Clooney
"Munich" Steven Spielberg

Best Motion Picture of the Year
"Brokeback Mountain" Diana Ossana and James Schamus, Producers
"Capote" Caroline Baron, William Vince and Michael Ohoven, Producers
"Crash" Paul Haggis and Cathy Schulman, Producers
"Good Night, and Good Luck." Grant Heslov, Producer
"Munich" Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg and Barry Mendel, Producers