Simpsons character to come out of the closet

Now this is news. One of the lead characters in The Simpsons is going to officially come out of the closet and publicly embrace his sexuality — and I don’t think it’s Smithers. (After all that’d be no surprise.)

“We have a show where, to raise money, Springfield legalizes gay marriage,” producer Al Jean told a gathering of thousands at the convention. “Homer becomes a minister by going on the Internet and filling out a form. A longtime character comes out of the closet, but I’m not saying who.”

That’ll be a show worth tuning in to.

Matt Groening is a genius when it comes to weaving social commentary into old fashioned belly-laugh-inducing humor.


Transcript of Michael Moore – Bill O’Reilly “Factor” interview

As a commenter says, it’s up at Drudge already. It looks like it won’t leave us disappointed — plenty of pyrotechnics. I only skimmed it, as I’m waiting to see it for myself in about an hour.


More translations from EastSouthWestNorth

This time it’s more of the Peasant’s Survey, and a letter from outspoken professor Jiao Guobiao, along with the site owner’s usual great insights. Must reading for those trying to keep their fingers on the pulse of change (be it good or bad) in China.

He also has some upsetting photos and observations on the poor Chinese woman who was manhandled by our security-loving TSA. From the pictures, “torture” may be a more apt description.


Petitioning the CCP for justice

This is a grim, ugly article about poor Chinese people whose lives have been ruined, often by local cadre officials, and their attempts to petition the CCP for justice.

She lives with her 26-year-old son, Liu Suan, in a dark and foetid underground tunnel.

Petitioners living in an underground tunnel in Beijing
The tunnel where Chi Yumei lives is home to other petitioners too

She sold her house to come to Beijing to seek justice for her son, who was brain-damaged in an accident and was not given any compensation.

Now time is running out. He needs an operation, but Chi Yumei is penniless.

“I can’t talk about it because it makes me cry,” she sobbed.

“My son is too young. I tried to find a government department to solve the problem. But none of them will help. If someone really wanted to help, my son could have his operation.”

By day, they trudge from one government office to another. At each, they join the line of the dissatisfied and dispossessed, filing their complaints into a black hole of bureaucracy.

This type of story belies the great China success story and reveals the dark underbelly of The New China. It’s something they’d rather we not know about. But it’s an escalating problem — as the article says, the petition system is now under incredible strain — and it underscores just how dire life can be when there is no rule of law.

Go read it, but prepare to be upset.


In this corner, Jiang Zemin….

Philip Sen beat me to the punch on this one (sorry, couldn’t resist the boxing metaphor) — a seeemingly flippant but actually very perceptive article about Jiang Zemin duking it out with Dr. Jiang Yanyong. Read Philip’s post, and definitely check out the article he alludes to in the Guardian.

(Thanks to the reader who clued me in to this article earlier today.)


Whatever you do….

Do not miss Bill O’Reilly tomorrow (Tuesday) night. He met Michael Moore on the street in Boston today, and the bad boy himself agreed to go on “the Factor” and duke it out with the nation’s most unethical and self-obsessed pundit. Unfortunately, O’Reilly always has the last word, and if Moore succeeds in making him appear too stupid (which isn’t that difficult) O’Reilly will simply shout out, “Kill his mic,” so there’s no doubt Bill will “win.” Nevertheless, it should be quite a show.


Photo of Atrios!

Yes, here is a pic of the No. 1 anonyblogger himself. Frankly, I’m totally surprised. I thought he’d be older and more bookish.


“Strength and wisdom are not opposing values”

That was the line from Clinton’s speech at the Democratic convention, completed just moments ago, that I’ll never forget. So simple, so concise, and so perfect in making its point — you can be tough and smart at the same time. Just carrying a big stick is not acceptable.

The man is simply the most brilliant speaker of our age, better even than Tony Blair. He knows how to tighten the strings and excite the crowd, like an ingenious DJ who’s totally tuned in to his dancing followers.

Everyone, absolutely everyone is raving about him, even the Fox goons. Attack his morals, criticize his policies, deconstruct his hypocrisies — it doesn’t matter. He is the best orator of our age and he accomplished his mission in spades. What a thrill. What a poignant memory of what it’s like to have a real president. What a rallying cry for Kerry (and Clinton was extremely careful to make Kerry the centerpiece of all his points).

Now Bill, go away and let things settle down so that when JFK steps up to the podium on Thursday you’re an inspiring memory. Pass the baton, and let Kerry work his own magic. Everything, absolutely everything hinges on his upcoming performance. I believe he will rise to this extraordinary occasion and electrify the party and the nation in a way we never believed he could. The world is holding its breath, and Kerry knows it. He won’t disappoint.


Too many choices

Last week was an odd one, even for someone accustomed to odd weeks. I was offered no fewer than three separate jobs, totally by surprise. On top of that, three other companies offered to put me on a monthly retainer to be their on-call writer. This leaves me in a unique bind: Do I give up the nerve-wracking and up-and-down life of a freelancer to live the American dream — a steady paycheck, a retirement plan, full benefits, paid vacations, and a return to the despised rat race — or do I choose to sleep as long as I want and take the gamble that I’ll get enough freelance business to be rich?

This is really tough. My present inclination is to take one of the jobs, keep doing as much of the freelance stuff that I can on the side, and after six months, when I’ve got enough money to be a bit more independent, re-evaluate the situation and maybe go back to freelancing.

I really don’t know. So whatever the first commenter says, I’ll do. (Just kidding.) I guess it’s always better to have too many options as opposed to too few. I just hate having to make momentous decisions like this, and risk looking back in dread sometime in the future. I’ll keep you posted.


Give ’em hell, Teresa

So Drudge has started another of his infamous firestorms over Teresa Heinz Kerry telling a reporter to “shove it.” Learn the facts, and you’ll see that Teresa was being kind.

The “reporter” in question was Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. If you want to know why Mrs. Kerry might have a beef with Mr. McNickle, you can read part of the answer here: the Tribune-Review editorial page has been on a disgusting and dishonest jihad against the Heinz Endowments for nearly a year. He’s lucky that a fleeting tonguelashing is all he got.

Let’s hope people learn the full story before jumping to conclusions of Teresa being out of control.