Her'es a small gallery hosted at the official site of actress Shoko Nakahara, who has appeared in several films by wildman director Takashi Miike, including Full Metal Yakuza. Considering that women in Miikes films are often shown in degrading situations -- and FMY was no exception -- Nakahara deserves kudos for her dedication to her craft as well as her beauty and talent.
"Former President Bill Clinton is being admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital today and is scheduled to have bypass surgery.
"The former president went to Northern Westchester Hospital yesterday afternoon after experiencing mild chest pain and shortness of breath. Initial testing was normal and he spent the night at home in nearby Chappaqua, New York. After undergoing additional testing this morning at Westchester Medical Center, doctors advised he should undergo bypass surgery.
"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and (daughter) Chelsea Clinton will be with the president in New York City."
Planet Swank wishes The Big Dog a speedy recovery!
After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign — led by the first lady — backed away Thursday from Miller’s savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.
"Speaking only for himself." As the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.
Digby points out that the Miller meltdown is more evidence that Bush's reputed obsession with loyalty is a one-way street.
Politically savvy Democrats would have expected Bush's big speech last night to be a festival of deception, half-truth, and lies-by-omission. Surprisingly, the Associated Press does a bit of fact-checking:
Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night brought the nation a collection of facts that told only part of the story, hardly unusual for this most political of occasions.
He took some license in telling Americans that Democratic opponent John Kerry "is running on a platform of increasing taxes."
Kerry would, in fact, raise taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans as part of a plan to keep the Bush tax cuts for everyone else and even cut some of them more. That's not exactly a tax-increase platform.
Of course not, but the Republicans simply can't portray Kerry's positions honestly if they expect to get elected.
I might also add that the tax cut legislation Bush signed contained sunset clauses. That's right -- by GOP standards, Bush signed a tax increase.
On Iraq, Bush derided Kerry for devaluing the alliance that drove out Saddam Hussein and is trying to rebuild the country. "Our allies also know the historic importance of our work," Bush said. "About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq."
But the United States has more than five times the number of troops in Iraq than all the other countries put together. And, with 976 killed, Americans have suffered nearly eight times more deaths than the other allies combined.
...Bush's address wasn't the only one this week that glossed over some realities.
Vice President Dick Cheney, trying to make Kerry look wobbly on defense, implied in his speech that Kerry would wait until the United States is hit by a foe before hitting back. "He declared at the Democratic convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked," Cheney said.
New York Gov. George Pataki echoed Cheney's line of criticism Thursday night.
Kerry said in his convention speech, "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." But he also spoke of pre-emptive action in that address, saying a threat that is "real and imminent" is also a justification for war.
In his keynote address, Sen. Zell Miller attacked Kerry for Senate votes against the Navy F-14D Tomcat fighter and the B-2 bomber the heart of his case that the Democrat has stood against essential weapons systems.
He ignored the fact that Cheney, as defense secretary, canceled the F-14 and submitted a budget scaling back production of the B-2.
...and, of course, no mention at all of Osama "Dead or Alive" bin Laden.
Matthew Yglesias points out the the Bush claim of "more than 10 million voters" registered in Afghanistan is indication of massive voter fraud, not democracy, as there are only 9.8 million eligible voters in the country.
Frankly, I find these deceptions heartening. Although it's discouraging to hear these GOP tools slander and misrepresent Kerry, it's a tacit admission that they know Bush loses to Kerry on the merits.
Not surprisingly, the local paper didn't see fit to include this story.
Update: The Washington Postfact-checks the Republican distortions of Kerry's position.
Speakers at this week's Republican convention have relentlessly attacked John F. Kerry for statements he has made and votes he has taken in his long political career, but a number of their specific claims -- such as his votes on military programs -- are at best selective and in many cases stripped of their context, according to a review of the documentation provided by the Bush campaign.
As a senator, Kerry has long been skeptical of big-ticket weapons systems, especially when measured against rising budget deficits, and to some extent he opened himself to this line of attack when he chose to largely skip over his Senate career during his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention last month. But the barrage by Republicans at their own convention has often misportrayed statements or votes that are years, if not decades, old.
• Kerry did not cast a series of votes against individual weapons systems, as Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) suggested in a slashing convention speech in New York late Wednesday, but instead Kerry voted against a Pentagon spending package in 1990 as part of deliberations over restructuring and downsizing the military in the post-Cold War era.
• Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry's political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.)
• President Bush, Cheney and Miller faulted Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry's vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq.
The Post's deconstruction of the scurrilous Republican lie that Kerry opposed funding for troops in Iraq (reality: Kerry simply opposed Bush's insistence on putting it on the national credit card) contains a surprising nugget at the very end:
Kerry's vote last year against the administration's $87 billion proposal to fund troops in Iraq and pay for Iraqi reconstruction has also been the focus of Republican attacks. "My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor," Bush said last night.
Kerry actually supported all those things, but as part of a different version of the bill opposed by the administration. At the time, many Republicans were uncomfortable with the administration's plans and the White House had to threaten a veto against the congressional version to bring reluctant lawmakers in line.
In a floor statement explaining his vote, Kerry said he favored the $67 billion for the troops on the ground -- "I support our troops in Iraq and their mission" -- but faulted the administration's $20 billion request for reconstruction. He complained that administration "has only given us a set of goals and vague timetables, not a detailed plan."
Yesterday, the State Department said that only $1 billion of that money has been spent in the 11 months since the bill was passed.
Those yaps you hear on the right are cries of "liberal media, liberal media." To those on the right, any media outlet that isn't a full-time right-wing propaganda arm is by definition "liberal media." They simply can't have the press do its job -- the facts are biased against Bush.
Things are still slow here at Planet Swank. Everything's fine, but long days at work are just taking their toll on my energy. Still, with the campaign in full gear, I hope to resume more frequent posting (I've collected tons of links I hope to post, and I want to mention several recent events from my own life as well -- not to mention the usual all around swankiness). I've even managed to write a review or two for Destroy All Monsters!
We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in-chief. We’ll, here’s my answer. I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.
The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.
Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.
Update: The Kerry campaign has sent its supporters an email with more excerpts from his speech.
The election comes down to this. If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush. But if you believe America needs to move in a new direction, join with us. John and I offer a better plan that will make us stronger at home and more respected in the world. And we need your help to do that.
For three days in New York, instead of talking about jobs and the economy, we heard anger and insults from the Republicans. And I'll tell you why. It's because they can't talk about the real issues facing Americans. They can't talk about their record because it's a record of failure.
We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.
The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.
Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.
And we have a specific plan to do just that. So tomorrow morning, John and Elizabeth and Teresa and I are hitting the road across America's heartland. From here, we'll go out and talk with Americans in towns across Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. And because a stronger America begins at home, we'll talk about our plan to create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, lower health care costs, and make America safer and more secure.
"If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush." If the election is made on that calculus at all, Bush is toast.
According to Atrios, Bush included one of his standard stump-speech prevarications in his acceptance speech:
I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office - a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.
For starters, I just love the implication -- planted by Laura Bush the other night -- that Bush went to war with Iraq with anything but enthusiasm. Please.
But seriously, I love it when he says this. The dishonesty inherent in the false dichotomy of "take the word of a madman / take action to defend our country" is just delicious. Indeed, Bush did not face the first choice -- no one proposed anything like taking Saddam's word. And Bush has no grounds to claim that the invasion was defensive in nature, especially as Iraq posed no threat at all to the United States.
On the other hand, I can't help but detect in the phrase "forget the lessons of September 11th" and the pledge to "defend America every time" a tacit acknowledgement that Bush indeed failed to defend America the one time it really counted.
Congratulations to Jaquandor of Byzantium's Shores on the birth last week of his son Quinn. Little Quinn is having some difficulties that confine him to the NICU -- the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit -- and Jaquandor and his wife have not had the pleasure of holding their littly tyke yet, a circumstance that must be painful indeed. My family and I extend our good thoughts and best wishes to Jaquandor and clan, and I hope you'll join me in fond hopes that Quinn is home with his family, hale and healthy, pronto.
This is sad...singer Laura Branigan, who performed the '80s hits "Gloria" and "Self Control" (the latter featured on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack), died last week of a brain anuerysm at the young age of 47. Planet Swank extends its condolence to Branigan's family, friends, and fans.