Monday, July 23, 2007

Fox Attacks: Obama

The Faux, err Fox News Channel is the subject of Robert Greenwald's latest movie-making endeavor. Greenwald, a politically driven filmmaker, has made many other interesting films including Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. This project is a series of short films about how skewed the news channel is. The series includes Fox Attacks: The Environment, Fox Attacks: Black America, and Fox Attacks: Obama. It's very well done and exposes the channel for what it is, a right-wing attack dog.

Please don't look to this channel for your daily intake of news, it's blatantly biased.

Check out the movie:

His middle name? He smokes? He's black? He went to a madrasah? Do these things have ANYTHING to do with his ability to lead the country? I don't think so.

Psssst...Do Something!

Friday, July 20, 2007

One of My Heroes

Matt Groening on The Daily Show. Matt is the creator of, what I think is, the greatest show in the history of TV, The Simpsons.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Beyond Stupid

Most of the planet agrees that the war in Iraq is a disaster. It makes me wretch just thinking about it. The whole scene makes me angry, but my deep-seeded disdain for George W. Bush is a result of his tragic domestic policy decisions. The cream of the crop is his veto of the stem-cell research legislation. All in the name of some misguided religious dogma. Now he is threatening to veto legislation that would expand health care coverage for kids...a bill that would be paid for by taxes on cigarettes. What shame!

Check out the following news item off the Reuters wire:

By Stephanie Beasley

LANDOVER, Maryland (Reuters) - A veto threat by President George W. Bush over a measure to expand a government health program for children triggered outrage on Wednesday from congressional Democrats and advocacy groups.

A Senate panel is considering a proposal to boost funding for children's health insurance by $35 million, an expansion that would be funded by higher federal taxes on cigarettes.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, covers 6.1 million children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private insurance.

During a visit to a factory in the Washington suburb of Landover, Bush said he supported the health program's initial concept of helping poor families.

But Bush, who earlier this year unveiled a plan to revamp the tax code with the aim of making health care more affordable, said the Senate plan would in some cases extend government health coverage to families making as much as $80,000 a year.

He said that would increase the government's reach into health care and distort the market. "I really do believe that the government involvement in health care will lead to less quality care and rationing over time," Bush said.

"If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the S-CHIP program -- which, by the way, would entail a huge tax increase for the American people -- I'll veto the bill," he added.

Former Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic presidential candidate, called Bush's veto threat "heartless and shortsighted."

"The obstacle to expanding health care in America is none other than George Bush. On his watch, the number of uninsured Americans has grown by 5 million, while he remains ideologically committed to the profits of private insurers," Edwards said.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who lost to Bush in the 2004 election, accused him of clinging to "unworkable proposals" for health care and a "wrong-headed tax scheme" and urged him not to veto the children's health legislation.

Bush contends his plan to provide tax breaks to people to help them buy private health insurance would make health care more affordable and reduce the number of uninsured Americans.

But Bruce Lesly, president of the family advocacy group First Focus, said uninsured poor children would not benefit from the deductions because they would not cover enough of families' costs.

"Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the health and well being of our nation's children is the Administration's own budget proposals and veto threats," Lesly said in a statement.

This is unacceptable.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Family Values &

Republican Senator David Vitters of Louisiana made a doo-doo...

The "family values" blowhard, who was one of the loudest congressmen when it came to condemning Bill Clinton's immorality, has some 'splaining to do. His name has been discovered in the telephone records of a recently busted prostitution ring in Washington D.C.. This guy has been in the forefront of the republican drive to "clean up" America...once again the "family values" party is anything but. There are at least 5 instances during the 1990's where the escort service contacted the then U.S. representative.

During the Clinton witch-hunt, Sen. Vitter's wife stated that if her husband cheated on her, she would be more like Lorena Bobbitt (the scissor using wife of a guy who lost a certain part of his body) than Hillary Clinton. I guess that was just hot air. She was seen in a press conference today stating that she has forgiven and still loves him. Come on girl!! Where is your backbone??

Also, according to newspaper reports out of New Orleans, he was a customer of two local prostitutes. Here is the kicker...he paid them $300 and wore diapers while frolicking with the ladies of questionable

One aspect of this scene that I find particularly disturbing is that he is only admitting to past "sins", not past crimes that he has committed. Last time I checked, prostitution is illegal?...

This is too good. Each and every time one of these holier-than-thou idiots goes down, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I am soooooooo sick of these a-holes using "christian values" as a tool for making money and gaining influence.

Who was responsible for uncovering this situation? None other than Larry Flint, publisher of Hustler magazine. Love him or hate him, he has a knack for exposing the hypocrites that seem to dominate the republican party. This is not to say that the democrats are squeaky clean, they just don't go around wrapping themselves in the American flag and thumping on the Bible.

Enough is enough. It's time to take all of these idiots and hold their feet to the fire.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maokong (Further Adventures with Cath)

Sunday night, Catherine & I headed to Maokong, a town on the outskirts of Taipei that is famous for its tea houses. It's in the mountains, so you have to take the recently opened gondola system to get up there. Neither one of us was thrilled about taking the 20 minute ride to the top in the shaky little boxes. Both of us have weak stomachs. We decided to give it a shot. Here are the photos from the evening:

Snapped this one while waiting for the subway at Zhongxiao Fuxing. My office is somewhere in the mix of those buildings. I still have a difficult time navigating the streets in Taipei.

Same shot with the train coming at us. I don't think the guy in the photo was thrilled that I was snapping away with him in the shot.

Some bizarre Disney promotion tied in to the construction of the gondola system. This is just outside of the entrance to the gondola station.

For those of you considering checking out the gondolas. They allow you to use your MRT (subway) card to pay for the ride, smart move.

The little cartoonish advert for the gondola. There are a few stops on the way up the mountain. It says that it's 4.3 km total. The ride was a bumpy one. When you come to each station it stops rather abruptly. Not something that those of us who are a bit queasy enjoyed.

At the front of the line. The wait was about 15 minutes. I took several pictures from the gondola but none of them turned out because it was too shaky, all of them were blurry.

After exiting the gondola station it becomes abundantly clear that you are in tea country. There were at least 4 of these signs directing you to the various tea houses.

My cutie pie didn't fare too well on the gondola. She was really tired. I think she yawned about 25 times. As I said above, we both get queasy on crazy rides. She is my angel.

Enjoying tea time. It was quiet and cooler up there. We picked one of the tea houses and sat down. The tea was tasty. You have to put the tea leaves in the little brown pot and pour the hot water into the pot. Let it steep for about 30 seconds, pour it into the blue and white pot to strain and serve.

On the way home. Making the transfer at the Fuxing station means you have to take one of the biggest escalators I have ever seen. It seems to take about 2 minutes to get to the bottom. While riding, you can watch the giant TV screen.

Looking up from near the bottom of the escalator, it's a biggie.

We had a nice trip. Not somewhere I will probably ever go again, but I am glad I went. Tea is not something that is in short supply in this country so it seems sorta silly to go so far to enjoy it. Also, there are many areas around town that are just as pretty. Perhaps it is more fun during the day?

If you like a roller-coaster-like ride, then check out the gondola ride to Maokong. It is just a few minute walk from the Taipei Zoo MRT exit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tien-Lai with Catherine (tons o' pics)

Yangmingshan is great. We had a wonderful time. Catherine and I had a relaxing stay in the mountains. It was nice to get away from the city for a few days.

We hopped on a bus in Taipei for the trip to the park. The bus was packed and we were stuck standing up. After about 20 minutes, we both decided to ditch the bus as soon as possible and grab a taxi. The bus dropped us off on the way up there. This getaway was about relaxation so I wasn't keen about a roller coaster ride on a crappy bus. After a few minutes Catherine spotted a taxi and we resumed our journey. About 40 minutes and US$20 later we arrived at the hotel. The resort is very nice. Incredibly comfortable and quiet.

I was on a mission to give Catherine a birthday to remember. I think we had an excellent time and she won't soon forget her big day.

Check out the following pictures for the story of our stay, they aren't in any particular order because my brain just doesn't function that way...

These are the first things in the hotel room that Catherine noticed, they are the coolest slippers I have come across.

A view from the balcony of our room. Very quiet. I didn't see a car roll down the road while we were there. I just enjoyed sitting out there and listening to the birds and bugs.

This is one of the spring pools. They have about 15 of these little pools all with different compositions. This one is a hot one with rose oils added to it. This one was my favorite, it was just the right temperature.

The waterfall pool. It felt great to sit under the falls. I liked this one even though it was a bit cold.

The hotel has two separate buildings. This is the lobby in the newer building. This is the building we stayed in, it was beautiful.

The view from the balcony outside of the restaurant. You can see the newer building on the right.

Our bath. This is on the balcony of our hotel room. The bath is fed directly from a hot spring. I thought it was so cool to have our little hot spring in our room. The knobs allow you to temper the heat with some cool water. It has little doors on the left that open and let you soak in the bath and look out at the mountains. Notice the two entrances onto the balcony, one from the bathroom and one from the bedroom, good stuff.

I love this shot. She is soooooooo cute! We were getting ready for the BBQ dinner on Sunday night.

In the lobby of the old building. Very tastefully decorated. I was shocked how empty the place was. It was nice to not have to fight crowds like we do every day in Taipei.

Another view from the balcony of our room. The local architecture and mountains made me feel like I was back in the U.S., somewhere in the southwest.

Another picture of my cutie pie. She seemed to really be enjoying her birthday.

Here she is in the green tea spring pool. I never thought anyone could possibly look good in one of those silly swim caps, she proved me wrong.

It's customary to rinse off between turns in the various pools. The water jets in the middle made it fun between dips.

The hotel should use this shot in their brochure. What a sexy girl!

The view from the elevator. You can see that there were very few cars in the parking lot. We picked a good time to be there.

Catherine in front of the really cool waterfall swimming pool.

The same pool at night. The far side of the pool looks like it falls off the side of the mountain.

Perfection! The cutest legs and feet I have ever seen. Catherine isn't crazy about me making this picture public but I can't help it, it's too fun.

A view of the newer building and the BBQ area. The meal was delicious. Several cooks constructed 2 giant fire pits and made some very tasty dishes.

The juniper spring pool. Catherine explained the benefits of the various pools but I forgot most of them...ugh.

One of the many lovely views of the mountains.

And another.

And again. I think I was a bit overwhelmed by the serenity out there. I have been trapped in Taipei for far too long.

Another swimming pool. I believe there were 3 large pools on the property.

The insanely comfortable bed. A western-style bed with VERY expensive bedding is enough to bring me to

The entrance to the balcony/bath from the bathroom. The front desk said this was a Japanese style room, I guess the door and bathroom area is what they were talking about.

Getting ready to chow down at the BBQ.

Feeding our faces. We tried lots of different dishes. The salad was really fresh and they had some scrumptious thousand-island dressing.

Relaxing after dinner. I just can't resist taking pictures of Catherine...

OK, this is embarrassing. This was her first time playing goofy golf and she beat me! Nothing like losing to a first-timer to bring ya back down to Earth.

The entrance to the European side of the property. I am not sure what the difference is between these rooms and the Japanese styled ones we stayed in.

Another look at the spring pool area.

Just before we left on Monday, the hotel invited us to chow on some cake. They had several different kinds including a tasty coffee mousse. It was a nice extra provided by a very well run hotel.

I just had to snap this one. Mango PADDING?? Ya gotta love the butchery of the English language.

I hope you enjoyed this seemingly endless tale of our stay in Yangminghan. If this looks like a place you'd like to check out, feel free to contact me, I have some good info on the hotel.

It was a lot of fun...I love you Catherine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Silly Ones

Angela & Johnson are two of my kindergarten students. They have sooooo much energy! The class has just four kids but it feels like

A little one running from the evil camera. She is adorable. I couldn't get her to stand still long enough to take a proper picture.

Michael Moore Vents His Spleen

Tell him Michael! The U.S. health care system is a mess. I have to give CNN credit for putting him on live, that's gutsy. Michael says what needs to be said. Listen up and enjoy some heat from one of America's true patriots.

Here is the piece that played prior to his interview, you can see why he is so fired up.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cath's Birthday at Tien Lai Yangmingshan

We are going to be spending the next few days celebrating Catherine's birthday in Yangmingshan park just outside of Taipei. It's a beautiful mountainous area that is famous for it's hot springs. We plan on hiking and soaking while there. The main objective of the trip is to pamper Cath. She has brought me so much happiness, it's time to show my appreciation.

We are staying at a ritzy hotel called Tien Lai Spring Resort. It has about 10 different kinds of hot springs and it's very luxurious, it should be fun.

Here are few pics from the area:
(I nabbed many of them from Flickr, not mine, don't sue me!)

This is a picture of the bath that is on each room's balcony. It's fed by a hot spring...very romantic.
This looks very comfy!