Superman eschews longtime patriot act
By Tatiana Siegel
Nevermind Superman's sexual orientation. Here's another identity-related question that is likely to spark controversy as the Man of Steel soars into theaters nationwide this Fourth of July weekend in Warner Bros. Pictures' "Superman Returns": Is Superman still American?
Ever since artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel created the granddaddy of all comic book icons in 1932, Superman has fought valiantly to preserve "truth, justice and the American way." Whether kicking Nazi ass on the radio in the '40s or wrapping himself in the Stars and Stripes on TV during the Cold War or even rescuing the White House's flag as his final feat in "Superman II," the Krypton-born, Smallville-raised Ubermensch always has been steeped in unmistakable U.S. symbolism.
But in the latest film incarnation, scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris sought to downplay Superman's long-standing patriot act. With one brief line uttered by actor Frank Langella, the caped superhero's mission transformed from "truth, justice and the American way" to "truth, justice and all that stuff."
"The world has changed. The world is a different place," Pennsylvania native Harris says. "The truth is he's an alien. He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He's an international superhero."
In fact, Dougherty and Harris never even considered including "the American way" in their screenplay. After the wunderkind writing duo ("X2: X-Men United") conceived "Superman's" story with director Bryan Singer during a Hawaiian vacation, they penned their first draft together and intentionally omitted what they considered to be a loaded and antiquated expression. That decision stood throughout the 140-day shoot in Australia, where the pair remained on-set to provide revisions and tweaks.
"We were always hesitant to include the term 'American way' because the meaning of that today is somewhat uncertain," Ohio native Dougherty explains. "The ideal hasn't changed. I think when people say 'American way,' they're actually talking about what the 'American way' meant back in the '40s and '50s, which was something more noble and idealistic."
While audiences in Dubuque might bristle at Superman's newfound global agenda, patrons in Dubai likely will find the DC Comics protagonist more palatable. And with the increasing importance of the overseas boxoffice -- as evidenced by summer tentpoles like "The Da Vinci Code" -- foreign sensibilities can no longer be ignored.
"So, you play the movie in a foreign country, and you say, 'What does he stand for? -- truth, justice and the American way.' I think a lot of people's opinions of what the American way means outside of this country are different from what the line actually means (in Superman lore) because they are not the same anymore," Harris says. "And (using that line) would taint the meaning of what he is saying."
But for Superman purists looking for a nod to the big blue Boy Scout's nationalistic loyalties, he is still saving Americans, albeit many with suspiciously Aussie accents. He foils Lex Luthor's nefarious plan to send millions from the nation's heartland to a watery death. And in his most impressive scene, the hero saves the day while a plane hurtles toward a baseball stadium full of fans enjoying America's pastime. Although there is no indication that it is an American baseball game depicted, the scene was one of the few shot on U.S. soil, at Dodger Stadium.
Nevertheless, the long-standing member of the Justice League of America seems to have traded in his allegiance to the flag for an international passport.
"He's here for humanity," Dougherty says.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq: US intelligence
Jun 22 1:56 AM US
US-led coalition forces in Iraq have found some 500 chemical weapons since the March 2003 invasion, Republican lawmakers said, citing an intelligence report.
"Since 2003, Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent," said an overview of the report unveiled by Senator Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra, head of the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives.
"Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf war chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf war chemical munitions are assessed to still exist," it says.
The lawmakers cited the report as validation of the US rationale for the war, and stressed the ongoing danger they pose.
"This is an incredibly -- in my mind -- significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false," Santorum said.
A Pentagon official who confirmed the findings said that all the weapons were pre-1991 vintage munitions "in such a degraded state they couldn't be used for what they are designed for."
The official, who asked not to be identified, said most were 155 millimeter artillery projectiles with mustard gas or sarin of varying degrees of potency.
"We're destroying them where we find them in the normal manner," the official said.
In 2004, the US army said it had found a shell containing sarin gas and another shell containing mustard gas, and a Pentagon official said at the time the discovery showed there were likely more.
The intelligence overview published Wednesday stressed that the pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market.
"Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq cannot be ruled out," it said.
Santorum said the two-month-old report was prepared by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a military intelligence agency that started looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the Iraq Survey Group stopped doing so in late 2004.
Last year the head of Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, said that insurgents in Iraq had already used old chemical weapons in their attacks.
Nevertheless, "the impression that the Iraqi Survey Group left with the American people was they didn't find anything," Hoekstra said.
"But this says: Weapons have been discovered; more weapons exist. And they state that Iraq was not a WMD-free zone, that there are continuing threats from the materials that are or may still be in Iraq," he said.
Asked just how dangerous the weapons are, Hoekstra said: "One or two of these shells, the materials inside of these, transferred outside of the country, can be very, very deadly."
The report said that the purity of the chemical agents -- and thus their potency -- depends on "many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions."
"While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal," it said.
Reporters questioned the lawmakers as to why the Bush administration had not played up the report to boost their case for continued warfare in Iraq.
"The administration has been very clear that they want to look forward," Santorum said. "They felt it was not their role to go back and fight previous discussions."
Fear that Saddam Hussein might use his alleged arsenal of chemical and biological weapons was a reason US officials gave for launching the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Lets get this out of the way first;
The weapons are old, pre-1991 Gulf War and degraded, it doesn't prove that Saddam was still manufacturing new weapons.
What does this mean to the WMD argument? Probably nothing to those that have made up their mind. But the mantra of "he never had any" can now be laid to rest. There were weapons, there are more weapons. This is only a small section of a much larger report. Some who have seen the rest suggest there is much more in this report that has yet to come out.
Add to that the fact that the Duelfer report says that evidence was found that Saddam Hussein had every intention of resuming his WMD programs after the UN sanctions were lifted and the coast was clear. There have been reports of Saddam bribing French and Russian officials to lobby the Security Council to lift sanctions.
This also proves that Saddam was lying when he said he had destroyed all WMD and that he didn't have any.
Why would the White House not trumpet this back when there were first discovered? At first I could not understand why it was not made public. But then why would you want to give a heads up to terrorists in Iraq where chem/bio weapons had been found. They probably wanted to keep it quiet for that reason.
So WMD have been found and it sounds like there is a lot of information that is still to come out about this subject.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Schumer also said that Fitzgerald should issue a report on his findings and any decisions to seek the indictment of others. "I have every confidence in this decision because it was made by an independent and fair minded prosecutor," the senator told reporters at the Capitol.
Oh Chuck, Fitzgerald cannot issue a report. Its against the law according to Victoria Toensing the author of the Identies Protection Act.
"It is not good enough to simply have a case for perjury. We still need to know who did the leak," Schumer added. "We still need to make sure that anyone who did that is given the appropriate punishment."
Again, oh Chuckie...there was no leak because no one was charged.
Leak Counsel Won't Charge Rove, Lawyer Announces
By DAVID JOHNSTON
WASHINGTON, June 13 — The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove.
The decision by the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, announced in a letter to Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, lifted a pall that had hung over Mr. Rove who testified on five occasions to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the disclosure of an intelligence officer's identity.
In a statement, Mr. Luskin said, "On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."
Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, said he would not comment on Mr. Rove's status.
For months Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation appeared to threaten Mr. Rove's standing as Mr. Bush's closest political adviser as the prosecutor riveted his focus on whether Mr. Rove tried to intentionally conceal a conversation he had with a Time magazine reporter in the week before the name of intelligence officer, Valerie Plame Wilson, became public.
The decision not to pursue any charges removes a potential political stumbling block for a White House that is heading into a long and difficult election season for Republicans in Congress.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Tiny solitary cells under constant illumination, a mere 20 minutes of fresh air daily, and beatings at the hands of guards are indicative of the "torture" endured by some of the 17 people accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada, lawyers for the group said Monday.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Also see here for inconsistencies in the stories told by the 12 year old "survivor" of the "massacre". Why has the MSM ignored these differing accounts by this 12 year old girl. What is especially interesting is this;
Now look at these two different accounts below, both from the same eyewitness, the young girl who survived and was filmed by ABC calling for the execution of the Marines. She's told at least two versions of her story and possibly as many as four.
AP June 3rd - In an off-camera conversation with the cameraman, Iman, the 9-year-old survivor, told of hiding under a bed for hours after the shootings. She said Marines finally found her and initially took her for dead when they pulled her out. ... The Marines later flew her and her brother Abdul-Rahman to a nearby hospital for treatment of their minor wounds. They were later moved to a Baghdad hospital.
But look what she had already told Time.
Eman Waleed, 9, lived in a house 150 yards from the site of the blast ... She claims the troops started firing toward the corner of the room where she and her younger brother Abdul Rahman, 8, were hiding; the other adults shielded the children from the bullets but died in the process. Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder. "We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much. Afterward, some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting 'Why did you do this to our family?' And one Iraqi soldier tells me, 'We didn't do it. The Americans did.'"
Now look at this, it gets worse:
WaPo on the 27th - Only 13-year-old Safa Younis lived -- saved, she said, by her mother's blood spilling onto her, making her look dead when she fell, limp, in a faint.
From a CNN Interview: A 12-year old survivor of the alleged massacre of innocent civilians by U.S. Marines patrolling Haditha has admitted she had prior knowledge of the plot to detonate an IED as their convoy was passing by her house on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. "I was planning to go to school. I was about to go out of bed. I knew the bomb would explode so I covered my ears," the youngster said, according to a CNN translator."The American forces entered the house and started shooting with their guns. They killed my mother and my sister Nour. They killed her when she shot her in the head. She was only 15 years old. My other sister was shot with seven bullets in the head and she was only 10 years old." "And my brother Muhammad was hiding under the bed when the U.S. military hit him with the butt of the gun and the started shooting him under the bed. The U.S. military then shot me and I was showered in blood. Younis said she survived by pretending to be dead.
She knew the IED was going to explode? And we're to assume there were no terrorists in that house, assuming she was even there?
Now look at this: The quote below is circling the globe and I can't find a legitimate original news source.
Safa Younis Salim, a 13-year old girl, who in an interview said she lived by faking her death. ”I pretended that I was dead when my brother's body fell on me and he was bleeding like a faucet," she said. She said that she saw American troops kick her family members and that one American shouted in the face of one relative before he was killed.
And this from the Seattle Times:
Safa Younis Salim, the 12-year-old, said she lay on the ground, covered with her sister's blood, and pretended to be dead while her family died around her. Her sister's blood spurted fast; it was like a water tap, she said.
She's one of the videotaped witnesses and I can find quotes attributed to her claiming it was just about anyone's blood, including her own. And she knew about the IED? Meanwhile, MSNBC has the nerve to head a piece - Witness Stories Consistent???? Come on!! They should be ashamed!
Some Democrats, breaking ranks from their leadership, today said the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq was a stunt to divert attention from an unpopular and hopeless war.
"This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer" for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers, said Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat. "Iraq is still a mess -- get out."
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, said Zarqawi was a small part of "a growing anti-American insurgency" and that it's time to get out.
"We're there for all the wrong reasons," Mr. Kucinich said.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Republican Wins Bellwether California Election
By Debbi Wilgoren and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, June 7, 2006; 7:24 AM
The California Congressional seat vacated by jailed former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham will remain in Republican hands after a special election Tuesday in which a lobbyist narrowly defeated a Democratic school board member.
Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby after an combative and expensive race that centered on issues of government corruption and illegal immigration. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Bilbray had 56,016 votes or 49.5 percent, the Associated Press reported, and Busby trailed with 51,202 votes or 45 percent.
Maybe it had something to do with Busby telling illegals they didn't need any papers to vote? Nah...she just misspoke. Right.....
Friday, June 02, 2006
Emphasizing that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "a very serious threat to the U.S. and our allies," Kerry contended that the most conservative estimates are that Tehran is at least five years away from developing atomic weapons.
"There is time for diplomacy to work here," he said, but added that negotiating with Iran is "an uncertain proposition at best."
Kerry spoke before news broke of the agreement between six major powers, including the U.S., to offer an incentive package for Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. He hailed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent offer of direct negotiations with Iran, but said any talks "must be more than an effort to check the box on diplomacy as they move toward a confrontation."
Unemployment Dips, But Hiring Slows
I wish I had this job, it rewards you for being consistently wrong every month.
The payrolls performance was much weaker than the 170,000 jobs that economists were forecasting would be added in May. They also were predicting the unemployment rate to hold steady at 4.7 percent.
0 for 2. Batting .000% for the month of May. And still working.