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Guilty pleasures – Movies that are so bad they’re good

They’re not just bad, they’re stupid. They make no sense. The scripts are bad and the acting is worse.

But we love to watch them anyway.

What’s your favorite bad movie?

This is an open thread.


The Saturday After: Give Thanks for the Sisterhood

November 5, 2010, Wellington, New Zealand. Secretary Clinton places a rose on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

Hey everyone, Wonk here, hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It’s the Saturday after, and my gratitude as always goes out to the Sisterhood out there that has grown around Hilllary and her work–toward a world where families and communities can thrive and individuals–man, woman, or child–have the opportunities to realize their God-given potential.

Here are my reads for this Saturday in Shero news, with an emphasis on Madame Secretary:

World leaders send their condolences… “United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined the Queen and other world leaders offering condolences over the loss of 29 lives at the Pike River coalmine. Clinton, who visited New Zealand earlier this month, said New Zealand had lost 29 brave and hard-working men who would be mourned around the world. ‘Earlier this month I visited New Zealand and I saw the famous Kiwi strength and spirit for myself,’ Clinton said. You have come through adversity before, and I know you will do so again. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with you.’

This next link was from the beginning of November– American Samoans give thanks for Hillary Clinton, which I find appropriate to look back on this weekend. A taste of Gov. Togiola remarks at Ava ceremony for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “We are very proud in seeing Hillary Clinton visiting foreign countries and the diplomacy that you take to them and bring back to us. We feel very much a part of you and the work that you do, and we pray for your safety and your wisdom and everything that it takes to do the job – the very difficult job that you do for all of us.”

Hillary op-ed in the Vancouver Sun, courtesy of the US Consulate General in Vancouver — “Hillary Clinton: Engage men and boys in eliminating violence against womenI often say that we need to empower women because no country can make economic progress if it leaves half the population behind. It’s just as true that no country can stop violence against women with the other half of the population sitting on the sidelines.

Hillary says Resolve, Resilience, and Respect are stronger than Guns and Bombs, in her remarks two years after the 11-26 attacks in Mumbai (via state.gov): “As the people of Mumbai gather in temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras, and synagogues to honor those who perished on November 26, 2008, they send a message of resolve, resilience, and mutual respect that is far louder and more powerful than any terrorist’s guns and bombs.”

This is beautiful footage of a woman of strength and substance who LEADS — an hour long conversation between Hillary and the Australian grassroots (H/T to Stacyx aka SCB at sectetaryclinton.wordpress.com, for digging up this fantastic youtube).

H/T to Minkoff Minx on this one , an op-ed from the Buenos Aires Herald by Patricio Navia — Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi: The two most powerful women in the Democratic Party represent two divergent views on what strategy will optimize the party’s chances to stay in the White House after 2012.” ( I couldn’t disagree more with Navia’s designation of Pelosi as moving the party to the left, but it is an interesting read nonetheless.)

Ruh Roh, I have seen the following movie script and cast before and it doesn’t end well. This sequel has “straight to DVD” written all over it … from the blog pages of the US News & World Report: “A Facebook group called Hillary Clinton for 2012!! is organizing a meeting in Washington to talk about plans to coax her into the race. ‘Right now,’ says organizer and publicist Will Bower, ‘we are simply aiming to keep HRC’s strongest supporters united for if and when that day comes when Hillary either challenges in 2012 and/or makes a run in 2016. And, of course, to rally as many people as possible to strongly encourage and petition her to do so— preferably the 2012 option.

NowPublic asks a 64,000 dollar question: Will Hillary Clinton & Lawrence Cannon Be Named By Wikileaks?

This is from the week before — the State Department released it’s annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2010. State.gov youtube of Hillary’s remarks (about 40 minutes). In Hillary’s words: “This report reflects a broad understanding of religious freedom, one that begins with private beliefs and communal religious expression, but doesn’t end there. Religious freedom also includes the right to raise one’s children in one’s faith, to share one’s faith peacefully with others, to publish religious materials without censorship, to change one’s religion – by choice, not coercion, and to practice no religion at all. And it includes the rights of faith communities to come together in social service and public engagement in the broader society.

Saw a fun Hillary tidbit in a Las Vegas Review Journal piece on Nevada pols and their messages at Thanksgiving time — the Clark County commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has bulldogs named Kennedy and Hillary (for Hillary Clinton). Oh, and on a sidetrack from shero news–apparently Harry Reid is thankful he has another 6 years to destroy the Democratic brand. Judging by Sharon Angle’s Thanksgiving tweet to her nonexistent fanbase (“I hope God blesses you all with a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. May it be filled with great moments, great food and great joy with those you love most!”), she’s hard at work trying to make some “great lemonade” out of her loss… or something.

From a conservative source — the National Interest: “Clinton and the Nuclear Scientist(Information on Hillary’s meeting with Siegfried Hecker seems to be scarce, so I linked to the one actual writeup I could find.)

This pulled up on one of my feeds, and I found it informative — West Virginia politics: “But What About the Women?” (via The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register)“Interesting, isn’t it, that we know lots about the major male candidates – but the four strong women continue to fly under the radar?”

Since there’s no photos of Bill and Hill on this Thanksgiving, a couple of Clinton turkey day flashbacks — this is what public service looks like —

Thanksgiving 2009 — raw video of Hillary in Afghanistan, in that beautiful coat: Hillary to the troops: “At the top of my (Thanksgiving) list is all of you.”

Via Huffpo — Life magazine photo of President-elect Clinton (sorry, it’s Bill not Hillary) serving Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter for battered and homeless women in Arkansas.

On the Friends of Hillary lecture circuit…

Monday at Wellesley (via the Boston Globe): “Developing African economies are the topic for a lecture at Wellesley College by an advisor to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a release. Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way is the title of the lecture by Steven Radelet, who advises Clinton on foreign aid… Radelet will explain why a group of African nations are making a successful transition to sustainable economic growth and development.

While we’re at it, Tuesday in Greensboro, NC (via WRAL news): Bill Clinton will be giving a lecture at Guilford called “Embracing Our Common Humanity.”

I stumbled across this neat footage of Bill Clinton on youtube, from Hong Kong in 2005, responding to a question about UFOs. It’s about 7 minutes long and put a smile on my face.

Excellent piece via The Stir: “Sarah Palin vs. the 1990sThe thing is this — no woman likes to be judged on how she creates her own version of motherhood. And there are still plenty of Murphys and Hillarys just trying to raise their kids and put dinner on the table without someone else judging them. So Palin might want to tread lightly as she implements this new chapter in her quest for stardom, political and otherwise, because it’s got the word ‘backfire’ written all over it.” Agreed!

From the Economist:Bill Clinton: the opera‘Billy Blythe’ —the brainchild of two Arkansas natives, Bonnie Montgomery and Britt Barber—is set on a single day in the Southern life of a teenaged Clinton in the Arkansas town of Hot Springs, where he grew up. It highlights the tribulations that shaped the future occupant of the White House, living with an abusive and alcoholic stepfather and a decidedly colourful mother.”

I have to end this in a hurry–my dog had surgery this week and she needs her antibiotics and pain meds. Hope everything clicks to where it’s supposed to go! If any of the links are broken, please let me know, and as always, feel free to use the comments as an open thread to share what you’re reading and ruminating on this Saturday.

They hate us for our Christmas trees

I’m always leery of these kinds of cases:

Somali-American accused of plotting to bomb Oregon tree-lighting event

A 19-year-old has been arrested in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, on Friday evening, the Justice Department announced.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He is a resident of Corvallis, Oregon, and a student at Oregon State University, according to the FBI.

Mohamud was arrested by the FBI and Portland Police Bureau after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van that was parked near the tree-lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Justice Department said in a written statement. However, “the materials were not explosive,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd, who called the device a “mock bomb.”

“The threat was very real. Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,” said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “At the same time, I want to reassure the people of this community that, at every turn, we denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.”

The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation during which Mohamud had been monitored closely as his alleged bomb plot developed, the Justice Department said. Officials said the public was never in danger from the device.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit written by an FBI special agent, Mohamud was in e-mail communication in August 2009 with a person believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December, that person was “located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan,” the affidavit states.

The two communicated regularly, the affidavit states, and “using coded language, they discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to prepare for violent jihad.”


An undercover FBI employee contacted Mohamud in June under the guise of being affiliated with the associate who was in Pakistan, according to the affidavit. Mohamud met with the undercover operative on July 30 in Portland.


“Mohamud also indicated that he wanted to become ‘operational,'” the Justice Department said. “Asked what he meant by ‘operational,’ Mohamud stated that he wanted to put an ‘explosion’ together, but needed help.”

At a meeting in August, the Justice Department said, Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. According to the affidavit, Mohamud then told undercover operatives that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Authorities said an FBI operative pointed out that lots of children would be at such an event, but Mohamud said he was looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.” Officials said Mohamud also stated, “… it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

According to the affidavit, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote area in Lincoln County, Oregon, on November 4 and detonated a bomb hidden in a backpack as a test. During the drive back to Corvallis, the agents asked Mohamud about whether he could look at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland, the Justice Department said.

Mohamud replied, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured,” according to the affidavit.

On Friday, Mohamud met one of the FBI operatives at a predetermined location, the affidavit states. Mohamud dialed a number “in an unsuccessful attempt to detonate the device.” Mohamud allegedly dialed the number again before he was taken custody.

Here is yet another case where an aspirational terrorist wannabe needs the help of government agents to become operational. He never was operational, he just thought he was. It may not be entrapment but it’s damn close.

Rather than nip his ambitions in the bud the feds lead him on until they can arrange a more serious offense to charge him with. Does this really make us any safer?

Look at it another way – let’s say you had someone who wanted to make crystal meth but couldn’t because they were unable to obtain the necessary materials. They have the intent, but not the ability.

If things stayed that way they couldn’t commit a crime. But along come the cops who sell the person the necessary manufacturing chemicals. Now that they can commit a crime they are arrested.

What if Mohamud had been arrested for a minor offense of simply questioned and warned by federal agents when he first started making inquiries. Might that have deterred him?

Is Harry Potter elitist?

Sometimes you read something that makes you step back and reconsider what you think you know. Maria Bustillos at The Awl:

In the world of Harry Potter, rules are for the little people. The “wisest” adult, headmaster Albus Dumbledore, showers magical gifts and indulgences on his favorites and lets them break every rule because they are so special, better than all others. How come they are so much better? Well, the general awesomeness and favoriteness of Harry Potter and his friends is mostly arbitrary, the result of the chosenness itself, rather than of effort or application. Harry Potter is just naturally fantastic at flying around on a broom and conjuring illuminated stags up out of his soul and things, Hermione Granger is just naturally the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen, and so on. Ron Weasley, the impoverished aristocrat, is a Sancho Panza-like figure whose rough common sense is meant to keep Harry on the straight and narrow; his noble blood is his “chosen” quality, and marks him, too, as an unimpeachable Establishment figure.

Which brings us to the disconnect between reality and appearances regarding the nonconformity that Rowling so hamfistedly praises at every turn. Harry Potter and his friends, far from being renegades, are in fact slavishly obedient to the all-powerful, omniscient, do-no-wrong Dumbledore. And why not, when he provides them in advance with every rare and fabulous magical gewgaw and hint they will ever need in order to extricate themselves from whatever peril they may find themselves in.

Rowling’s adherence to the old English principle of blood-nobility—that weird but deeply held superstition that has caused countless English protagonists to discover that unbeknownst to them, they were peers of the realm all along—is in stark contrast to the biggest conflict depicted in the Potter stories, the blood purity conflict. The bad guys, Voldemort and crew, are race purists, anti-Muggle (meaning anti-human), which is to say that they are against any magical Muggles or intermingling of Muggle blood (“Mudblood”) and wizard blood. Yet Rowling’s heroes are all noblemen, with the exception of one: Harry Potter learns in the old-fashioned surprise way that his father was a fabulously rich wizard, and his godfather is a rich aristocrat, too; Ron Weasley is a nobleman of the purest blood, though poor. The sole pure-Muggle wizard of any consequence at all in these books is Hermione, the author’s personal projection of herself (there are two other minor pure-Muggle wizards, boys, both of whom are bumped off). So this story can be read pretty effectively as an explanation of why J.K. Rowling should be allowed to hang around with the nobility (she is smart, is why).

Maybe, incidentally, the reason no other woman as smart as Hermione appears in the books is that J.K. Rowling, like the Turk, can bear no sister near the throne. Her volcanic ego burns down everything in its path. Where the Twilight books are works produced from and for a state of sexual yearning and frustration, Rowling’s “wizarding world” is a fantasy place created for the benefit of Hermione Granger, for her infinite sagacity, foresightedness and teacher’s-pet-hood to be rewarded at every turn.

In any case it is a horrible thing to be teaching children, that you have to be “chosen”; that the highest places in this world are gained by celestial fiat, rather than by working out how to get there yourself and then busting tail until you succeed. If the “special” and “chosen” and “gifted” automatically receive all the honors there are, then what would be the point of working hard to achieve anything? So it is really terrible to hear these twelve-year-old kids so smitten with the idea that fulfillment would literally fly to them out of the sky, via owl.

I always considered Harry Potter books and movies to be harmless escapist entertainment. The only criticisms I have seen before were from stick-up-the-butt religious fundamentalists who objected to the magic and wizardry aspects.

Every once in a while we need to consider new arguments and ideas as well as looking at stuff from a different perspective. That doesn’t mean we need to change what we believe, we just need to be open to the possibility. That helps keep us intellectually honest.

This is an open thread.