March 2006

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Posted March 30, 2006
Be very careful driving to Baghdad Airport

Remember what happened the last time a kidnapped journalist was released.

Journalist Jill Carroll Released in Iraq
     American journalist Jill Carroll, abducted in early January by gunmen in Baghdad, was released to a Sunni Arab political party in the capital Thursday morning after 82 days in captivity.
     "I was treated very well. That's important for people to know," she said... "They never hit me, they never even threatened to hit me. I'm just happy to be free, and I want to be with my family." More

That's errore

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Posted March 28, 2006
Businessmen + Peep Show = Major Erection

The Ex-Mayor's Booby Prize
     A group of heavyweight developers... aimed their wrecking ball at... the Lusty Lady theater. They and their nudie house were about to become the next victims of the condofornication of Seattle. Then the inconceivable happened: ...someone said no to money. Christto Tolias and his family, longtime owners of the century-old, mostly vacant structure ...refused to sell the property to ex-Mayor Paul Schell and his fellow hotel/condo developers.
     ...Schell and partners in the new 21-story, $120 million Four Seasons hotel and condo tower at First Avenue and Union Street ...then make Tolias another offer--for air rights above the Lusty building. ...$850,000 for thin air.
     ...The purchase, no kidding, also comes with an annual government property tax bill for air--tab yet unknown, 82 percent of which [Seattle Hotel Group] will foot.

If Schell & Co.'s new Four Seasons can coexist with the Lusty, then there is hope for Kadima and Hamas.

Music and the neocon duck: White people don't listen to profane lyrics, no sir.

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Posted March 24, 2006
You bet your blippy

City commits to big cut in greenhouse gas emissions
Tolls on the Lake Washington bridges, more expensive parking, additional bicycle lanes and improved energy conservation are among the ideas being released today by the mayor's Green Ribbon Commission for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle.
     ...These recommendations are an "important, but relatively small step in the right direction," said Denis Hayes...
     Some residents question whether it's worth it.
     ...the city's releases will be cut by... the equivalent of the emissions from nearly 150,000 cars -- a blip on the global scale. Source

A lock:
Bridge tolls and parking rates.
Of course the City will slap on these charges: they represent new revenues (taxes). But the people driving furthest (and the ones on those floating bridges) tend to be those who have chosen to move far out into the suburbs, and even further into the east county. They can afford to keep paying the tolls, and the parking. They can afford to drive further, around the lake, increasing emissions. They will not drive less.
       There are only three ways around this. (1) Do nothing. In due time low and zero-emission vehicles will be introduced and adopted. (2) Hope for some sort of major economic disruption involving the supply of petroleum. 'Course if that happens, greenouse gases will be the least of our problems. (3) Politicians develop enough spine to draw meaningful development boundaries around urban areas that will halt further sprawl--for increasing Seattle's theoretical density alone won't attract people if the supply of developable rural land (which people choose/prefer, otherwise it wouldn't be so popular) is still there.

More Than Probable:
Improved conservation.
This is relatively cheap and easy. City leaders merely have to come up with recommendations and targets, it's up to individuals to spend the money. If it doesn't work it's our fault, not the government's. And if we use less electricity and natural gas, those utilities can simply raise rates (they have to, because supply is mostly a fixed cost).

Probable but So What:
More conventional transit.
As we know, buses are excruciatingly slow, and we can't afford to build the number of miles of rail and subway needed to reach New York levels of service. I once calculated that the ratio of rail stations to square miles in the Big Apple is about 2:1. In Seattle after the downtown-airport Link is done the ratio will be about 1:6. NYC's railcar:people ratio is about 1:1500; in Seattle it's going to be 1:19,000.
       Even if we found a way to double or triple our light rail investment there would not be an appreciable reduction in driving, because light rail is most convenient for only one type of daily travel: commuting. It is not good for shopping, entertainment, recreation etc. because those have many more possible destinations than light rail can serve. LRT is just not flexible enough for such "chained" trip needs.
       Light rail ought to be assigned primary intercity transit duty (build it in freeway right of ways)—the "interurban" type of service we had until the 1940s, and which train fans and nostalgics still dream about. Light rail would become commuter rail, which is actually pretty efficient service in terms of energy usage per passenger mile. Then for public transit overall to be a meaningful tool in reducing greenhouse emissions, it will need to be used. It must be supplemented with new transit modes that can make fast in-city transit more widely available, as well as make it easy for people to get to and from the train stations.

Sidewalks and additional bicycle lanes.
Neighborhoods that don't have sidewalks have been butting their heads against the city bureaucracy for decades trying to get them. Why? I suspect it's because sidewalks don't generate revenue. But seriously, if you want sidewalks you have to apply for limited grant funds, which are supposed to be for amenities, not basic facilities. The process creates winners and losers, because only some will get funding; it's a grant process, so somehow the City decides who is more worthy. It's the City that has also shown its willingness to shift pedestrian and bike funds to projects enriching business, such as the Allentown streetcar. I don't see how one new, vague, unfunded policy objective is going to make sidewalks a higher priority, unless you're willing to gentrify your sidewalkless neighborhood. In which case you likely couldn't afford to live there anymore.
       And I'll let you in on a little secret: if more people rode bicycles more of the time (and drivers shared the road as required by law), you wouldn't need more bike lanes. We would occupy more of the road space and drivers would have to accommodate us. Frankly, the City could do more for cyclists by patching potholes, and enforcing the law that requires drivers to clean up their broken glass after car accidents.

Thou shalt win your division. Jamie Moyer is a baseball god, but really—a 43-year-old guy is #1 in the Mariners' rotation? Needless to say, it does not fill me with Hope.

I emailed some friends that I am not filled with Hope. One replied,

We're Ms fans. Hope is not something we subscribe to. We're just happy when everyone shows up and don't ask for more money.

I tried to subscribe. One of those kids selling subscriptions came to my door. But she didn't have Hope.

If the Mariners find they can't be good, they should try for entertaining. For starters, I would love to see Jamie throw BP one day, and drill Carl Everett with something high, hard and inside.

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Posted March 21, 2006
If they only had a brain

I studied public policy and government at the UW's Evans School (in the days before they named it in honor of that Resmuglican former governor, who turned his back on a progressive record so he could be appointed a U.S. Senator). One thing they taught us policy analysts is that when you--the neutrally competent civil servant--create a list of policy options, you present the decisionmaker--an elected official, a senior civil servant or even a committee of citizens--with at least three alternatives from which to choose.

This three-option guideline is such a basic part of public policy formulation that the insistence by Nickels/Ceis that we only get two choices on the Alaskan Way question is breathtaking in its arrogance, and the apparent assumption that voters are too stupid to see through such transparent manipulation.

The three options are all supposed to be viable; Do Nothing can be an option, as can Needs More Study. But Alaskan Way may be the first ballot measure in my memory in which all the choices are Straw Men. We learned about the Straw Man at Evans too--but as an example of a biased method NOT to be used.

In this case, the Human/Deputy Mayor Hybrid is putting the Rebuild option on the ballot, but trash-talking it. They want Rebuild to be the Straw Man. They say the view from a new elevated highway, a selling point for the current one, would be blocked by safety barriers. They've even given Rebuild a nickname, "Big Ugly."
"Vote for me!"

Nickels/Ceis thinks that leaves Tunnel as the last man standing. But this is also made of straw, because the cost--which WILL inflate like the Big Dig, like major transportation projects usually seem to do--is untenable. And, as The Stranger pointed out, it is a tunnel that will also be a viaduct, a bridge and a 6-lane highway--i.e., an untenable Untunnel.

Two Straw Men is like being asked to choose which "Star Trek" movie is the best, but only being allowed to choose between "The Motion Picture" and "Final Frontier." There needs to be a third option--"Wrath of Khan," say. Something with a Strand of credibility.

Sunday funny: Non Sequitur. Make sure you read the paper on Dubya's lectern.

Somebody get me a hankie, so I can wipe away the tears I'm shedding over the $4.8 million funding gap for the Allentown Streetcar. The taxpayers are already paying half the bill, including money redirected from pedestrian and bike facilities, and still Mayor Horizontal wants us to be even more generous. Well the land speculators should do what neighborhoods are always told when they ask for things like sidewalks:

Sorry, but sidewalks streetcars are up to the people on each block. You have to organize, commit to putting up a lot of your own money, do some busywork like counting traffic, and apply to the underfunded Neighborhood Matching Fund Program--a process that pits worthy projects against each other and turns neighbors into winners and losers.

It's just the Way Things Are Done in Mayor Horizontal's World Class City.

Chuckle as you read Korte Brueckmann's guest column in the March 15 North Seattle Herald-Outlook:

Pushing the bullies out of the sandbox
      I see, from the newspapers, that the Wallingford neighborhood has managed to derail the Seattle Parks and Recreation's plans to fill Gas Works Park with crowds of noisy people, musicians and performers that would completely disrupt the bucolic neighborhood's summertime serenity.
      Good for them!
      We all know that the people who live closest to a park use that park more than anyone else. Basically, that makes the park neighborhood property.
      Outsiders may sometimes use the park, too, but they should really go to the parks that their tax money supports - the parks in their own neighborhoods - and stop trespassing in other neighborhoods... More

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Posted March 17, 2006
Speaking of gases...

Since it's St. Patrick's Day, the question arises: how much CO2 does beer release into the atmos?

Beer isn't mentioned in this morning's P-I coverage that anticipates next week's release of Mayor Horizontal's plan for reduction of greenhouse gases by Seattle.

Also not mentioned, surprisingly, are the words "light rail", which may be some kind of record for the office of the train-happy Mayor. $2.9 billion doesn't buy a mention in a PR plan that secured a spot on Page One? Maybe the Mayor doesn't want to be reminded that, in a region where millions of car trips occur in a day, the light rail line will only carry 45-50,000 people a day. Or maybe that many of those riders already ride the bus. Or maybe that the Sound Transit light rail EIS (Environmental Impact Statement, 1999) found practically no difference between the Build and No Build options.

I expect that light rail can make a difference in offering a dependable and attractive ride, thereby attracting enough ridership so that car use grows at a slower rate. I'll take it when I need to go to the airport. But as for the need to significantly increase transit's mode-split, that will require improving the transit paradigm by adding innovative technologies such as Personal Rapid Transit.

I sincerely hope the Mayor's plan is heavy on strategies, including incentives, to achieve real, measurable net reductions in greenhouse gases. Not like last November, when Nickels claimed a reduction in emissions by the City (parse it carefully!), in part via giving up an interest in a coal-fired power plant. When actually the plant is still in operation, under private ownership.

Now I need a Guinness or three.

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Posted March 14, 2006
The No-Fly List

Bewitched Dir: Nora Ephron. Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Shirley Maclaine, Steve Carrell, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Amy Sedaris. Columbia/Sony.

As part of our commitment to presentation of all points of view, Mr_Blog is pleased to present a new addition to our stable of correspondents. Please welcome new Vigilance Correspondent William "Henny" Penney, a Deputy Assistant Principal Undersecretary of State in the Department of Homeland Security. Welcome aboard, Mr. Penney.

Thank you. For my first assignment I have been asked to review the motion picture "Bewitched."

First, let me assure readers that they have nothing to fear. Everything is under control, and the chance of "Bewitched" actually being hijacked by foreign enemies of the state is very, very, very--VERY--small. "Bewitched" is, however, an excellent object lesson in the types of potential dangers we face from within.

Based on the classic situation comedy, "Bewitched" is by all appearances a self-referential show business homage. Isabel Bigelow (Kidman) arrives in Hollywood seeking to live a normal existence. This in itself is highly suspicious. That she is a satanist witch living among us, passing for a normal citizen, is clearly a homeland security concern (it has been brought to my attention that there is a difference between Satanist witches and Wiccan witches. Rest assured had this been a real threat and not a movie, this distinction would be exhaustively investigated).

Isabel sets out to create her 'normal life' in a way that resembles a sleeper agent establishing cover. A series of illegal acts are committed:

  • Fraud. Isabel secures a furnished residence and automobile. Signing lease papers could not have been done without false identity papers. Furthermore, she counterfeits the license plates and vehicle registration.
  • Bank fraud. On a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, Isabel creates a bank card with which to pay for her purchases.
  • Theft. The aforementioned merchandise from BB&B, and when she sets up her household Isabel steals cable TV, phone and internet service.
  • Note that such things cannot occur in reality. DHS and other intelligence agencies are watching everything and everyone. For instance, no non-U.S. person or company with suspicious associations could ever, ever, ever--EVER--lease or gain control of American property without thorough vetting at the highest levels.

    Determined to prove to her warlock father Nigel (Caine) that she can survive without magic, Isabel next seeks employment. Instead it finds her, in the form of Jack Wyatt (Ferrell), an actor desperate for a hit since his last project, a disastrous box-office bomb (which should be rephrased if reading this review aloud in an airport). Of course, his comeback project is a remake of "Bewitched." The problem is that despite extensive auditions, an actress to play Samantha has yet to be found. That is, until Jack sees Isabel in a bookstore (see, this is why we need to be able to look at customer lists), quite literally wiggling her nose.

    She gets the part, and here the studio's hiring actions are a guide to how not to conduct human resource policy. Four primary violations of federal law are depicted:

  • Isabel does not complete an I-9 form or otherwise have her identity verified.
  • Isabel does not fill out a W-4 form, an IRS violation, meaning that her income is unreported and untaxed.
  • Multiple FAA violations, to wit the unauthorized operation of an unlicensed Aircraft, Broom.
  • FCC violations, when Isabel uses the public airwaves to manifest and teleport objects.
  • Also note that Uncle Arthur (Carrell) plays a protective, defense function in the plot. In reality he would not be allowed to serve in such a position in the U.S. armed forces.

    In addition, Isabel uses magic in her effort to create and manage a romance with Jack. While 'mind control' does not exist in reality, it is important for all alert citizens to be aware of weapons that are similarly odorless, colorless and quite real. We know they are out there, and we must always keep our eyes open.

    In the end, Isabel and Jack fall in love and move to the suburbs. But how can one really believe it if the reality of the relationship has been subverted through unknown means? Or the real suspicion of the mere possibility?

    In researching this assignment, I obtained videos of some of the old "Bewitched" episodes. Boy, was it ever funny! And moral, and free of politics and controversy. Feel-good entertainment for the whole family. But the best character of all was the alert, watchful neighbor, Gladys Kravitz. The subtext was that Gladys's pathology was a product of Cold War fear; she was the show's clown. With the rise of the nuclear freeze movement and, later, the fall of the USSR, 'Gladys Kravitz' became synonymous with an outmoded, paranoid world view. As a great man has said, that was a "different world."

    In the new "Bewitched," Gladys Kravitz (Sedaris) does not appear until the very end. As a professional working for Homeland Security, I find the character's entrance to be foreboding yet reassuring. This Gladys Kravitz signals the end of a feel-good era, a brief time-out following the end of the Soviet Threat. Strangers have appeared in her neighborhood, and she is on her guard. The people on her street are unaware of the potential for danger, and it is up to Gladys to take all necessary steps to protect them.

    A "different world" indeed. And above all, a safe one. A good lesson for all patriotic Americans.

    Thank you Mr. Penney, that was excellent work. Um, I'll need to see you in my office before you leave for the day.

    Also today: Streetcar shortfall may burden destitute property developers
    Rent dispute closes Seattle's oldest restaurant
    Money trouble at Raw Story
    UK envoy: US occupation strategy a mess
    Carlyle team focusing on "public-purpose infrastructure projects"

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    Posted March 10, 2006
    We who are not about to rock

    Kim Jong-Il is, to say the least, sensitive about not sharing the spotlight. So what with the Oscars hoopla I was unable to comment on the cancellation of this year's Summer Nights concert series. The reason? My tongue in cheek thesis is that Seattle doesn't know how to party.

    This is the city where you only hear about Mardi Gras if someone dies; where kids on skateboards are considered a nuisance on sidewalks, so of course they shouldn't have their own skatepark either; where, to listen to them complain about a 4-story parking garage, you'd think Zoo neighbors were living next to a nuclear power plant. And not a Zoo that already has a 6-story water tower.

    I've attended a number of these summer concerts. They take place at the end of the day on warm summer evenings. The audiences are mellow. Why would the laid-back, progressive Wallingford neighborhood object to having such a crowd at Gas Works? Right: Seattle doesn't know how to party.

    Oh, don't whinge. I know all about the controversy surrounding Parks Super Ken Bounds and the way he runs the department like his personal duchy--I lived that nightmare for five years baby.

    So why don't those who object use that? If someone spoils your party, find some other way. Extract concessions, like free tickets for residents. More parking enforcement during events. Charge concertgoers to park in your driveways or on lawns, like at the hydroplane races and Puyallup Fair. Leave work early on concert days: Sorry boss, gotta get home ahead of the concert traffic!
    Lyle Lovett is sad

    Shutting down a concert (or a Zoo parking garage, or a skatepark) because Ken Bounds did this or Ken Bounds did that makes as much sense as shutting down the entire parks system because Ken Bounds did something (and Bounds is always going to do something so long as we let the Mayor let Bounds stay where he is). It shows Seattle doesn't know how to party.

    If you don't like Ken Bounds (and who doesn't?), then target Ken Bounds. Lyle Lovett never hurt anyone.

    Also today: Raw unseasoned Greens
    GOP duped Greens in 2000
    O'Connor decries GOP attacks on Courts
    "The Sopranos" return Sunday

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    Posted March 6, 2006
    On the Road to the Academy Awards
    by Kim Jong-Il
    Mr_Blog entertainment correspondent

    I. Have. Such. A hangover. Not since the opening of the Pyongyang Hooters have I seen such parties! My press ID (Korea bureau chief for Variety) got me into all the post-show invitation-only parties. Vanity Fair, Elton John, Orange County GOP--I went to all of them.

    The focal point of the Vanity Fair shindig was a huge ice sculpture of Tina Brown nude. I was sipping champagne with Naomi and Jen (I'm on Team Jen), and all of sudden along comes Reese Witherspoon! Isaac Mizrahi introduced me to her as 'Kim "Team America: World Police" Jong-Il,' and you should have seen her light up! She loved my self-mocking performance, and it turns out TAWP is one of her favorite movies of all time, right after "Citizen Kane" and "Buckaroo Banzai." When I told her W.D. Richter had originally written the Dr. Lizardo role with me in mind, that called for Big Hugs. She promised we would work together soon.

    Onward, to Elton John's after-party. He actually had an ice sculpture of himself nude. The Rocket Man didn't perform, but on the biggest plasma TV I've ever seen there was a DVD of his 2000 Madison Square Garden concert.

    I was determined to go to the National Rifle Association party, and Ted Nugent and Tom Selleck obliged by sneaking me in, but my cover was blown. I was having a beer with Katherine Armstrong, both of us marveling at the nude sculpture of Charlton Heston, when Alan "Second Amendment" Gottlieb came up to me.
           "Aren't you Kim Jong-Il?"
           "No," I said quickly, "I'm Ang Lee."
           "What? Oh come on."
           "Uh, I'm Yo-Yo Ma. Nice to meet y-" I went to shake his hand and leave, but he stepped in front of me, grasping my hand with his gun hand. I scanned the crowd for rescue, desperately trying to catch Nugent's eye, but he was arguing with Bruce Willis about crossbow superiority.
           "Hey, it's cool," said Gottlieb. "I just want to say I admire your work. You really know how to be a leader. You know: strong; iron-fisted." I thanked him. "Plus," he continued, "you redefined the unitary executive--a Communist ruling like a Fascist. A real authoritarian totalitarian!"
           "An authoritalitarian," I joked. "That's really nice of you to say. Arm any bears lately?" We laughed heartily.

    Dana Delaney joined us, asking me, "do you have any upcoming projects?" She was in Hollywood small-talk mode.
           "Yes," I replied, "I'm making my directing debut, a comedy called 'Kim Chee Pie,' a Carlyle-Halliburton production. It's a remake of "American Pie." And then of course I'll be working to spread the legacy of the Great Father across the whole of the Far East. And then some."

    It's time for me to start the long trek home. I am writing this dispatch at Angels Gate Park in San Pedro, on the steps of the pavilion housing the Korean Bell of Friendship. Amazing, even here I can get wi-fi on my Dell notebook. When I expand the Workers' Paradise to California, I plan to build myself a vacation home on this site. At the very spot where I'm sitting there will be a terrace. In the cool summer evenings I'll have parties, and all my Industry friends will be welcome. Usually, maybe at 2 am, such soirees reach a point where the conversations turn quiet. Clooney, with cigar and Cognac, will be holding court in the study. My companion, either Madeleine Albright or Ann Coulter, will be circulating among the sleepy guests, making sure everyone is happy, offering those who partied too hearty rides home, or a bed in one of the many guest rooms.

    At those moments I will come to this spot, to my terrace. I'll sip my Madeira and gaze out across the harbor toward Palos Verdes. I'll listen, fondly, to the laughter floating on the night air, to the distant sounds of traffic, to the horns of ships arriving from exotic locales. And I'll appreciate how fortunate I have been. Long live the revolution, I'll think, Hooray for Hollywood.

    Kim Jong Il is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

    Part 1 2 3 4 [5]

    Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il

    At the movies with Mr_Blog:
    Triumph of Love
    Lisbon Story
    A Talking Picture
    and Must Love Dogs
    Agatha & the Storm

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    Posted March 5, 2006
    On the Road to the Academy Awards
    by Kim Jong-Il
    Mr_Blog entertainment correspondent

    Last night, over a wonderful dinner at Thomas Keller's French Laundry up in the Napa Valley, a few of us got into one of those discussions that is possible only among the Hollywood glitterati. Who, Barbra asked, will win this year's award for Best Fascist Dictator? She thought Tony Blair is deserving, because of the Labour Party irony. Phil and Marlo are pulling for Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. Tom Selleck laughed his Magnum laugh and nominated Jack Valenti. Ted Nugent spoke in favor of Dick Cheney, but come ON. Cheney's always nominated, he's the Susan Lucci of fascism. Lindsay asked what a fascist is.

    When it came to be my turn I paused, and then shared what I had been musing over for some time: The sad fact is that BFD is fading away. Las Vegas doesn't lay odds on it anymore, and the media never writes about it, unless there's an underground resistance or impeachment. And next year it won't even be part of the main event, it will be relegated to presentation at the separate Scientific & Technical Awards ceremony. I reminded my friends that the Golden Globes had long ago phased out its Best Odious Powermonger award due to lack of interest.

    Like so many other things, interest in the BFD has been coöpted by television. And if the Emmys ever start giving a Dictator Award, can there be any doubt that the winner would be Trump?

    Best Director
    The nominees are...
    Bennett Miller, CAPOTE
    Paul Haggis, CRASH
    George Clooney, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK
    Steven Spielberg, MUNICH

    North Korea is at odds with the West on many controversies. But we can agree on one thing: how can a movie win Best Picture, but not win Best Director also? I am firmly in the Auteur camp on this one, therefore my choice is Ang Lee. Best of all, Lee is secretly North Korean. So the North triumphs again! Choke on it John Bolton, and get ready to pay me that 100 euros!

    And finally, here's the award I really care about:

    Best Costume
    The nominees are...

    And the winner is... MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA   because, as we all know, all Asian cultures are descended from Korea. Korea! Yeah! Mother/father of all Asia!

    Speaking of fine threads, I have to now get ready for the ceremony. I'm wearing Versace. See you on the red carpet!

    Kim Jong Il is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

    Part 1 2 3 [4] 5

    Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il

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    Posted March 4, 2006
    On the Road to the Academy Awards
    by Kim Jong-Il
    Mr_Blog entertainment correspondent

    What's impressed me this year is the degree to which the culture and values of mighty North Korea have come to dominate this year's nominations for Best Picture. The nominees are...

    CAPOTE. Someone once observed that socialists make the best historians, and as we watch the story unfold of how Capote covered the Kansas murders it is clear, at least to this reviewer, that screenwriter Dan Futterman must be an alumnus of Kim Il Sung Vanguard of Enlightenment Community College. As Truman Capote reports on the Clutter family murders, we see the victims standing for the helpless proletariat, and the killers are the bourgoisie. Capote is the decadent media personified, his role to build a cult of personality around the killers, enslaving them--as well as the masses--to the cause of commercialism that enriches the media empires. At the time my father was engaged in a heroic struggle against the very same Western media elites. But this is entirely missing from "Capote," no doubt on the orders of Sony Pictures--based in Japan, which is notoriously and pathetically jealous of North Korea.

    CRASH. Thandie Newton makes me want to question my country's commitment to the monoethnic ideal from which we draw our strength. Terrence Howard's taut cul de sac showdown with the LAPD is clearly meant to parallel the West's frequent attempts to contain and provoke the North Korean Motherland. And the climatic, mystery-resolving plot involving Ryan Phillipe is like that of the poor soldiers who serve in the imperialist armed forces. He tries to serve his masters while supporting the common people. His dilemma is whether to stay at his post, or "cross the DMZ" to freedom.

    GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. I have a confession. I sobbed all the way through this one, because the outcome was predetermined. Poor, poor Joe McCarthy. My father used to say (in Korean of course) that "adversaries are like the coyote and sheepdog in the Looney Tunes, with rivalry comes respect." That was my father and McCarthy: dog and coyote, working to control the "herd." Authoritarian and totalitarian, different sides of the one coin. My father loved that man. What your decadent media did to Tail Gunner Joe was unforgiveable.

    MUNICH. This is about North Korea by virtue of the trouble to which Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have gone to erase the fact of North Korea's leadership of the glorious Munich Political Visibility Operation (as we call it). It was all us! How do you think the Palestinians got to Germany in the first place? People's State Travel Agency #27, where I was assistant manager in 1972. Who made their fake passports? People's State Fake Passport Studio #4. True, they didn't leave home without American Express Travelers Checks--but it was People's State Counterfeiting Plant #9 that supplied the cash to buy them.

    And the winner is... BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN!
    The two protagonists are clearly meant to represent North and South Korea, their irresistable longing for each other is the historical imperative of Korean Reunification. Heath Ledger, the hunky Ennis, is the North. Jake Gyllenhall's dreamy Jack is the unhappy, put-upon South, his wife Lureen--daughter of a capitalist (symbolizing all Western counterrevolutionaries)--screeching at him about The Fish like the IAEA harping on plutonium. Significantly, contrary to popular perception (again, there's the crafty decadent media again), Ennis and Jack are sheep herders, not cowboys. They are indeed the Koreas--one corraled, intended for slaughter (military conquest); the other is exploited for its fleece and milk (consumerist output). Will transcendant love (Stalinist Utopia) save them?

    Kim Jong Il is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

    Part 1 2 [3] 4 5

    Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il

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    Posted March 3, 2006
    On the Road to the Academy Awards
    by Kim Jong-Il
    Mr_Blog entertainment correspondent

    It's was a crueling few days, but it was all worth it now that I'm ensconced in my favorite Chateau Marmont bungalow (don't even try to call, I'm registered under an alias). Heck, even without room service it would be worth it, just to be here in Hollywood where the magic happens.

    I have this little tradition. The first thing I always do when I come to L.A. is rent a convertible, put the top down, and drive out to Griffith Park Observatory. There, I gaze out at this great metropolis: City of Angels; the dream factory; Disney; the Dodgers; "The OC". And I think that I can almost hear the dialectical materialism calling to me. Someday this will all be mine! The West is Red!

    Let's begin our look at the nominations, with the Acting categories.

    Supporting Actor
    The nominees are...
    Supporting Actress
    The nominees are...
    George Clooney, SYRIANA
    Matt Dillon, CRASH
    Paul Giamatti, CINDERELLA MAN
    Jake Gyllenhaal, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
    Amy Adams, JUNEBUG
    Catherine Keener, CAPOTE
    Frances McDormand, NORTH COUNTRY
    Michelle Williams, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

    And the winners are... How can you choose? Really, take your pick from an outstanding crop. Honestly, with the dozens and dozens of worthy performances every year, I don't know how anyone can say that Jude Law was better than Matt Damon, or Scarlett Johansen was outshined by Jenna Jameson. Why can't we just say ALL the supporting actors were "best"--because without them where would movies be? What do you mean, I 'have to choose'? I thought this country was about freedom of choice.

    The nominees are...
    Felicity Huffman, TRANSAMERICA
    Keira Knightley, PRIDE & PREJUDICE
    Charlize Theron, NORTH COUNTRY
    Reese Witherspoon, WALK THE LINE

    And the winner is... While I love Reeses to pieces, I have to go with Felicity Huffman on this one, I am a big fan of her work in "The Sopranos" and "Sunshine State." "Transamerica" is yet another excellent story about a nonconformist who, like North Korea, is simply trying to live in a society that wants them to fail. Plus, if you compare her with the others in this category, it is clear Huffman is the only one actually acting--the others are just doing impressions or fake British accents.

    The nominees are...
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, CAPOTE
    Terrence Howard, HUSTLE & FLOW
    Joaquin Phoenix, WALK THE LINE
    David Strathairn, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

    And the winner is... Here's a secret. The way I pick Best Actor is to ask myself, Who do I want to play me in the movie? For the longest time my choice was Burt "Cato" Kwouk, then for a while it was Hugh Grant. Then, when that "Legend of" documentary was in release, my choice was Ron Jeremy --for obvious reasons. Lately though my man has been Philip Seymour Hoffman, and his portrayal of Truman Capote, erudite yet troubled running dog lackey of the star system (see tomorrow), has earned him my vote for the statuette.

    Kim Jong Il is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

    Part 1 [2] 3 4 5

    Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il

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    Posted March 1, 2006
    On the Road to the Academy Awards
    by Kim Jong-Il
    Mr_Blog entertainment correspondent

    Aboard Pyongyang One. We're wheels-up and over the Yellow Sea. It'll be a long flight, longer than the last time I made this trip. That was early in 2001—"different world." This time the glorious people's TU-144 vintage SST has to avoid Hawaii, follow the date line a while, refuel in the Solomons, then vector east to Ecuador. Then under the radar into Mexico, and a limo ride across the border to Hol-ly-wood.

    I'm camped out in the plane's screening room, re-watching tapes and DVDs of this year's crop of Oscar noms. I'll be making my picks in the coming days, leading up to the big March 5 telecast, where I plan to be in attendance.

    Kodak Theater, here I come!

    Kim Jong Il is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

    Part [1] 2 3 4 5

    Blarchives: Dear Leader by Kim Jong Il

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