Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOP has nerve to blast 'die quickly' comment

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Quick question: where do some Congressional Republicans get their nerve? Specifically, where does North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry get his? Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, said the Republican alternative health care proposals amounted to telling Americans, “Don’t get sick,” and if they do get sick, to “die quickly.” OK, he’s over the line, but considering the incredible number of lies we heard all summer from the GOP about killing granny and death panels and so forth, Grayson’s comments are pretty small potatoes.

But oh, no! The Republicans won’t stand for it! They’re outraged! They’re acting as if Grayson peed on their mamas’ graves or something, and no one is more outraged than good old Patrick McHenry, one of his party’s designated hatchet men, who is demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially rebuke Grayson. Others are demanding that Grayson apologize for his lack of decorum (after they defended Rep. Joe Wilson for yelling at the president of the United States, for crying out loud).

As ThinkProgress points out, these guys have more nerve than sense, and they offer a list of outrageous and absurd, death-invoking claims Congressional Republicans have made in Congress about Democrats’ health care reform proposals. Our favorite, of course, is famously wacked-out Rep. Virginia Foxx — part of the N.C. GOP’s Three Congressional Stooges, along with McHenry and Myrick — who claimed Dem proposals would mean people would “be put to death by their government.” Pretty soon, when you look up the word “crybaby” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of the GOP elephant symbol.

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Judge Belk, leader of the circus

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Judge Bill Belk ran for the bench because he was disgruntled with the judicial system after a sticky divorce. He even complained on the evening news about how crappy the process is and how it's set up to screw people.

His ultimate response to that perceived wrongdoing was to jump into politics and run against the judge that presided over his case. Ever since, of course, he has been in the news for his willful ways.

And, frankly, that's why this spoiled son of Charlotte is on trial, defending his actions to the N.C. Judicial Standards Committee.

Since he became judge (this past January), he's thumbed his nose at the judicial system repeatedly. Rules? Ethics? Manners? No, thank you. Not for him.

So, it's no surprise that, a day before his trial in Raleigh -- where he's charged with "willful misconduct" -- his attorney has thrown up his hands in frustration.

In entertaining news, Belk says he's now going to represent himself. Since Belk is scheduled to continue his testimony this morning, it remains to be seen who will question the judge or if he'll run back and forth from the floor to the witness stand.

If nothing else, today's performance should certainly top his last appearance where he arrived with a circus of "supporters" -- including his wife, Georgia.

In case all of the drama erased your memory, Belk is in hot water because he refuses to step down from the board of Sonic Automotive and because he's accused of bullying his chief judge, Lisa Bell, who pointed out that Belk may be guilty of soliciting money for his wife Georgia's campaign for Charlotte City Council when he shouldn't have been doing anything of the sort, given his elected office and all.


"They tried to portray me as someone that had conflicts. They tried to portray me as someone that would be scary. That, to me, is the opposite of who I really am," Belk said.

Meanwhile, Belk's attorney has quit the case, claiming he wasn't paid travel expenses.

Belk's response: "I paid my case in full. In fact, I've already paid twice as much to my attorney as we originally agreed. I have never received an invoice regarding his travel expenses. A lawyer should never do this to a client."

Belk says he will represent himself Wednesday before the Judicial Standards Commission.


Attorney Marshall Basinger, who represented Belk on the first day of his hearing before the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission, has asked to withdraw.

He says Belk not only hasn't paid him for all his work but hasn't paid the travel expenses that he and three clerks incurred traveling to Raleigh for the start of the hearing three weeks ago.

And in an e-mail to the commission, Basinger described the scene Monday afternoon when Belk arrived at his office just as Basinger prepared to step out to notarize his withdrawal request.

"In the few minutes I was gone," he wrote, "Judge Belk removed our 'box' that contains virtually all of our materials and files used in this hearing and did so without my knowledge nor the consent of anyone in my office."

Belk could not be reached. If he doesn't consent to Basinger's request, there will be a hearing by the Judicial Standards Commission on the lawyer's withdrawal this morning before the start of Belk's own hearing.

"We were told we would be paid and we weren't," Basinger said Tuesday. "To me that was pretty egregious."

In his motion to withdraw, Basinger cited the missed payments as the main reason for his request. But not the only one.

Belk, he wrote, "incredibly listens to the advice of various lay persons he references as 'the girls,' rather than his counsel's advice."

Basinger said it was apparently a reference to a group of Belk's mostly female supporters who accompanied him.

After the Sept. 10 hearing, Belk told the Observer he thought Basinger was "a little too laid back" during the hearing.

Said Basinger: "I better not touch that one."

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Box Office Top 10

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 3:30 PM

  • Pandorum

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - $25.0 million ($60.4 million)

2. Surrogates - $14.9 million ($14.9 million)

3. Fame - $10.0 million ($10.0 million)

4. The Informant! - $6.6 million ($20.7 million)

5. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself - $4.7 million ($44.5 million)

6. Pandorum - $4.4 million ($4.4 million)

7. Love Happens - $4.3 million ($14.7 million)

8. Jennifer's Body - $3.6 million ($12.4 million)

9. 9 - $2.9 million ($27.2 million)

10. Inglourious Basterds - $2.6 million ($114.4 million)

(Gross for weekend of Sept. 25-27. Figure in parentheses is total gross to date. Source:

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Bank modifies executive pay

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 1:25 PM

With what looks to be a list of huge raises, which double and even triple base salaries, Fifth Third drops some of the game playing.

Fifth Third Bancorp has modified its compensation for senior executives to comply with the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program. The executives will enjoy larger salaries but receive less in other forms of compensation.

Top executives had to sacrifice some compensation before TARP rules took effect June 15, according to a Fifth Third filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The TARP rules prohibit cash bonuses and greatly limit the use of long-term incentives.

Kabat’s $900,000 base salary was raised to $3.1 million, with $2.1 million in phantom stock. Sullivan’s $566,000 salary becomes $1 million, with $375,000 in phantom stock. Poston’s $310,000 base salary increased to $700,000, with $312,000 in phantom stock. Carmichael’s $570,000 base salary was raised to $1.5 million, with $743,000 in phantom stock.

The U.S. Treasury issued final rules in June that restricted compensation for all companies that received TARP assistance. Fifth Third received $3.4 billion in TARP money by selling preferred stock to the government.

The restrictions apply to the senior executives listed in the company’s proxy statement and the next 20 most highly paid employees.

Read the entire Charlotte Business Journal article here.

Here's more information from The White House:

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Whoopi’s defense of Polanski is just unbelievable

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Whoopi Goldberg is deservedly in a world of shit today because of her statements regarding film director Roman Polanski yesterday on The View.  Goldberg sort-of defended Polanski, who was arrested Sunday in Switzerland for skipping out on a sentencing hearing in 1977 after pleading guilty to having sex with Samantha Gailey, a minor, at Jack Nicholson’s house. When other The View panelists called Polanski’s actions “rape,” Goldberg said that Polanski’s crime “wasn’t rape-rape.” Goldberg told her fellow panelists, “. . .when we're talking about what someone did, and what they were charged with, we have to say what it actually was, not what we think it was.”

OK, technically, it was statutory rape, but still ...  it was a 44-year-old drugging, and then having sex with, a 13-year-old. Come on. Goldberg’s defense of Polanski went on to imply that Europeans view sex with minors differently than Americans, which is A. irrelevant since he was in Los Angeles at the time, and B. odd because European countries will throw your ass under a jail pretty quickly if you’re some 44-year-old guy diddling a 13-year-old. Goldberg’s comments are reminiscent of her defending Michael Vick’s dog-fighting enterprise because “he comes from the Deep South,” where cultural differences exist and dog-fighting “is tolerated and not questioned.” (Never mind that Vick is from Virginia Beach, hardly the Deep South, but let’s move on.)

It’s one thing to examine the cultural assumptions involved in complicated situations, but it’s quite another thing to then justify nearly anything because of “cultural differences.” Specifically, for someone like Whoopi Goldberg, who was once a role model for women’s rights, to make excuses for a pedophile — no matter how odd or vindictive his arrest 32 years later may be — is nothing short of disgusting, and brings to mind the title of one of Polanski’s most acclaimed films, Repulsion.

Conservative pundits are having a field day with Goldberg’s comments, painting all liberals now as defenders of pedophilia, blah blah, since all liberals apparently think identically about everything, so here’s a big, fat “Gee, thanks, Whoopi” for giving them such an easy target.

Meanwhile, since Goldberg wants to be sure that discussions of Polanski’s crime are correct regarding “what it actually was,” here are excerpts from Samantha Gailey’s grand jury testimony. Some of this is pretty graphic, so beware.

Continue reading »

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Machine Theatre offers more free acting workshops

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Machine Theatre has announced another series of free actor training workshops (donations accepted!) in mosaic technique, led by Laurelei Ballard – just one of her many acting credits, includes her five years with Cirque Du Soleil - Oct. 5-6 at Story Slam! (1401 Central Ave., Ste. 103).

The first workshop, on Oct. 5, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., will focus on mosaic technique, “a post-method approach to emotional accessibility,” as Machine Theatre’s latest press release explains. “Participants should come prepared with a monologue they would like to explore (preferably one they have yet to work on. Additionally, participants should bring an open mind, a notebook and pencil, and dress comfortably.”

The second workshop, on Oct. 6, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., will concentrate on the tape method, described as “an innovative strategy for quick and effective memorization and a free rehearsal process.” Machine Theatre suggests, “Participants should come with a 2-3 person scene they'd like to approach but have never done before.” Those attending should also dress comfortable and come to the workshop prepared to work.

For more information on the workshops, call 704-582-2645 or email

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Behind the art at Mint Museum of Art

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Some special tours, discussions, and lectures are in store at the Mint Museum of Art on Thurs., Oct. 1. Check em' out below:

• Curator’s Tour: The Grice Collection of Native American Art

Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet, Curator of Ancient American Art, will lead a tour and discussion of the Mint Museum of Art's current exhibition, Passionate Journey: The Grice Collection of Native American Art. Space is limited, so folks wishing to attend should register. To register, call 704-337-2098 or email Free with museum admission. 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

• Founder’s Circle Lecture: Danny Lane

Glass artist Danny Lane - who has been commissioned to create a glass piece for the future site of Mint Museum Uptown - will give a lecture, titled "The Journey is Your Destination." Free. 6 :30 p.m.

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It's official, the world wants Palin to STFU

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 10:25 AM

The entire article about Sarah Palin's inability to secure speaking engagements, as it appears in The New York Post, is pasted below.

A note: The fact that this is in The Post is amazing since this is a Rupert Murdoch-owned paper. Murdoch, of course, also owns the Palin fan club (aka Faux News). Of course, depending on who you ask, it's nothing more than a tabloid. Still, this is one amusing article from a paper known to have a conservative bias.

Sarah Palin is said to have pocketed a $7 million advance for the 400-page memoir she turned in four months early, but she might not have such an easy time on the lecture circuit.

After quitting as governor of Alaska in July, Palin signed with the top-notch Washington Speakers Bureau, which also reps George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, LA Dodgers manager Joe Torre and magician David Blaine.

Palin's bookers are said to be asking for $100,000 per speech, but an industry expert tells Page Six: "The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot."

Many big lecture venues are subscription series, "and they don't want to tick people off," said our source. "Palin is polarizing, and some subscribers might cancel if she's on the lineup." Other lecture buyers are universities, which have a leftist slant, and corporations, which dislike controversy.

"Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups -- unless they are interested in moose hunting," said our insider. "What does she have to say? She can't even describe what she reads."

Palin likely quit as governor just months after losing the election as John McCain's vice-presidential running mate because of money. "She knew that if she waited until her term ended in 2010, these opportunities would be gone," said a source. "She would have lost millions by staying in office."

Palin's "Going Rogue: An American Life" is described by Harper publisher John Burnham as "her words, her life, and it's all there in full and fascinating detail." Harper wouldn't discuss what Palin was paid.

Lynn Vincent, Palin's collaborator, wrote the book so fast, publication has been moved up from the spring to Nov. 17.

Did you catch that last part? Palin didn't write her own book (most celebrities don't, by the way). Just want to clear that up before it drops and everyone's like, "See, she can write a non-run-on sentence."

Maybe Palin's reps would have better luck booking Tina Fey:

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 30, 2009 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

You Can't Take It With You at Winthrop University


Richard Buckner at The Evening Muse

Freedom in Creation opening reception and lecture at Queens University

Mix at Six at Ballantyne Village

Street Beat lunch time demo at Wachovia Atrium

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Week's DVD Releases

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 4:45 PM


Following is a list of some major DVD releases debuting today. For a complete list, go to


Continue reading »

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