Possible Fraudster Involved with the Recall of the WI 14

Apparently, the job requisite for recalling WI Democratic state senators includes forgery, grand theft and bouncing checks. Glen Beck buddy Dan Baltes did ten years in the pokey for the violations above (if he possessed so much rubber, why didn’t he legitimately make condoms?).

Sorry, dude, I've got your money

Ah but all of that is behind him now, he’s a changed man, you see. He’s not with the ACLU anymore, he’s with something worthwhile. If worthwhile means apparently pissing off a lot of Tea Partiers by taking the money and, perhaps not running, but certainly not keeping promises, then you’ve answered your calling:

Alexandrea Merrell, an author who lives in Arkansas, worked for Baltes for two weeks last month setting up websites and soliciting sponsors for the two-day Beck speaking tour in Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix. Baltes, she said, represented himself as a producer for Beck and agreed to pay $1,000 a week. She quit after receiving only the first week’s check.

“It just became really quickly apparent that all this was a scam,” she said.

As presented in the Deseret News article by Dennis Ramboy, she’s not the only one. Read the article for more examples.

Dan’s on the case, though, to explain what happened to all that money:

 I believe that many of the problems we currently have in the United States are rooted in illegal immigration: healthcare costs; hospitals are being bankrupted by delivering healthcare to illegal immigrants

Oops, sorry. That’s his lame excuse made during an interview with Pundit Press about money being wasted on us brown folks.

Actually, when confronted with what was presented in Ramboy’s article, Baltes actually came up with bad parents, nagging ball-and-chains and a case of the head funnies–seriously:

Shortly after being interviewed by the Deseret News, he emailed supporters an apology for the failed Glenn Beck show, that includes descriptions of an ugly childhood, troubled past marriages and mental health struggles.

From what I understand, Baltes had a 40-piece string orchestra accompany him for the apology, but he failed to pay them, too.

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Atlas Slugged…Right in the Galts

Looks like movie theater managers will be spared the indignity of cleaning up sticky tissues left behind by Objectivists as Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 joins this movie and this movie as recruitment failures:

“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”

“Atlas Shrugged” was the top-grossing limited release in its opening weekend, generating $1.7 million on 299 screens and earning a respectable $5,640 per screen. But the the box office dropped off 47% in the film’s second week in release even as “Atlas Shrugged” expanded to 425 screens, and the movie seemed to hold little appeal for audiences beyond the core group of Rand fans to whom it was marketed.

Critics didn’t “win.” The choice was made by potential viewers who were told by those who went during the first weekend that the movie sucked and decided not to go.  That’s really sour grapes on Aglialoro’s part.  To have a drop in attendance of 47%, your movie was either terrible or the Ebola virus was accidentally released at every screening.  Tax accountants should keep an eye out on Mr. Aglialoro to be sure he doesn’t try to write off the $20 million in his tax return next year and make taxpayers eat his loss. That would be very non-libertarian.

BTW, good luck with DVD releases.

“Now on sale! Ayn Rand’s grand novel come to life in an epic that will remain unfinished!”

Not a great promotion tagline.

Update: In case you think my masturbation reference at the beginning of the post was over the top, tell these folks.

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I Heard He Was Beamed Down From a Spaceship

I LOVE that Obama released a long form of his birth certificate. Everyone knew that the birthers would not be satisfied and now the GOP is going to have a worse problem with an issue most of them don’t want to be bothered with during election time. Every issue that moves the GOP farther away from talking about job creation proves they can’t be trusted with governing.

The President is forcing the GOP to pander to the very fringe elements that keep them from “expanding their electorate.” Remember, that’s what the Obama team openly stated they want to do for 2012. Just how is the GOP going to do the same if they have to keep crazy right-wingers happy?

So to all the Daily Kos people clutching pearls over this–shut it! You’re not helping.

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Hey Look! Another Batshit Crazy Person Running for President

And guess what? The GOP owns him, cuz he’s Tea Party true.  Trump, Bachman, Palin, Cain, Gingrich–the list goes on. This is all comedy gold.

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The Long Hot Summer for the GOP

It’s started. Rep. Ryan’s disastrous budget plan giving tax breaks to the top 1% and tossing seniors to the mercy of the HMOs is already getting the Republicans in trouble in their own districts.

Here’s Ryan getting booed when he says the top 1% is already being taxed:

PA’s Pat Meehan got an earful at his town hall meeting:

This was after Meehan had stated during a debate in the last election season he would not vote for a voucher system:

Oops! Apparently, these politicians think the internet never archives their statements.

IL’s Robert Dold couldn’t get through his town hall meeting so easily.

And although NH’s Charlie Bass faced opposition that was fairly polite,  the nastiest was easily for Lou Barletta in PA, who faced such hostility, one of the questioners had to be escorted out by police:

I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more of this before the 2012 election, and I welcome it. Last summer, the Teabaggers were shouting down politicians by using stupid and incredibly wrong information about “death panels” and other such nonsense. This time, the Ryan plan is spelled out in black and white, eliminating Medicare in favor of a measly $15,000 voucher we’re supposed to cash in at a health insurance provider. All this while the top 1% still get their tax breaks. Those are facts, not Palin tweets, and the truth is going to be a lot harder to pull over folks who can view it plainly.

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Koch Brothers Intimidate Voters Soviet-Style

Democracy Now! has a must-see interview with the co-writers of a new article in The Nation. In it, the article tells of how the Koch Brothers are forcing employees to vote Republican or risk getting fired. What unions legally can’t do, employers are now doing. Listen towards the latter part of the interview on how this is actually a modern Soviet style coercion.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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7 Great Sidney Lumet Films You Haven’t Seen

When legendary filmmaker Sidney Lumet died on April 9th, he was immediately (and rightfully praised) for such masterworks as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and Network.  But even after winning a lifetime achievement Oscar, there are incredible films that, for one reason or another, fell under the radar (even one that was an enormous hit, but remained unreleased). As much as people like to remind me he directed such flops as The Wiz and A Stranger Among Us, his legacy of films is much stronger than you know. So here are seven movies you should run out and rent at your local independent video store. Catch up on this master and see what you’ve been missing.

1. The Fugitive Kind

Criterion wisely released this moody piece written by Tennessee Williams based on his play “Orpheus Descending.” Marlon Brando plays a drifter guitarist landing himself in a sleepy Southern town after being released from jail. Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward are both his matches playing a middle-aged woman trying to hide her desires for the wanderer and the town’s unpopular drunken floozy respectively. The lighting, cinematography and numerous close-ups are used to great intense effect–proof that Lumet truly loved actors and their work.

2. King: A Filmed Record From Montgomery to Memphis

One of Lumet’s most successful films at the box office is also one of the rarest. King: A Filmed Record is a compilation work presenting the civil rights leader’s speeches sans voice-over narration. The great man’s crusade is thus told using his own words as the narrative thread. Amazingly, the original Oscar-nominated 3-hour version of this film went unreleased for almost 40 years until its appearance as a 2-DVD set in 2008.

3. The Offence

If you thought Natalie Portman’s turn as a ballet dancer losing her mind in Black Swan was terrific, they you’d better get your peepers in front of this jolting crime drama. Sean Connery boosted his post-Bond acting cred playing Detective Sergeant Johnson, a 20-year veteran of the police force going through a breakdown while investigating a child molestation case. His crumbling is viewed from different angles including the POV of his conflicted wife (Vivien Merchant), his lieutenant (Trevor Howard)–probably the only man who could intimidate Johnson, and the suspect (Ian Bannen) who mocks Johnson during his own interrogation. You could say that The Offence is Lumet’s warm-up for future masterpiece police dramas….

4. Prince of the City

…like this one. Boy, oh boy, if you’ve watched The Wire and love it and have not yet seen this movie, drop everything and rent it. Now. Along with Lumet’s final movie, Prince of the City was the Best Picture nominee that got away. When it first premiered, it confounded audiences searching for a hero. Sorry, folks, Lumet and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen were too smart for you. The film has no heroes, but it’s one of the best, most complex stories of police corruption, ruthlessness and vicious zeal ever shown on film. Did I mention you should see it now?

5. Daniel

Lumet was never one to shy away from socio-political issues. Daniel is a fantastic moving example that stands as one of the genius’ most obscure films. Timothy Hutton stars as the son of a Communist sympathizing couple (based on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) trying to come to terms with his parents’ past. Harboring conflicting views with the sole surviving member of his family, an emotionally distraught younger sister, he seeks out the truth about his folks in an effort to save his sibling’s sanity. Set in 1970, this movie actually has to convincingly evoke two distinct periods of American history (the 1970’s and 1950’s) and does so quite well.

6. Critical Care

Network is a savagely biting dark comedy of the excesses of television and one of my favorite movies, period. However, as glorious as that movie is, I would argue that for sheer laughs, Lumet’s criminally underrated Critical Care, a savage satire of big business medical care, beats it.  Since Network has some of the most memorably quotable lines in movie history, it’s tough to come up with a social satire of another institution without instinctively feeling it will come up short. However, with the health care crisis coming to a head over the last few years, this movie is poised to make a cult viewing comeback. James Spader, in one of his best roles, plays a young doctor caught in the gears of a for-profit hospital system. Helen Mirren is a sympathetic nurse, Kyra Sedgwick a “distraught” relative of a patient, and Albert Brooks deserved an Oscar nomination for his hilarious performance as a boozy old head doctor enslaved to the bottom line.

7. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

How could the Academy–one year after giving Lumet a lifetime achievement award–completely overlook one of his best movies at Oscar time? It’s a question that still puzzles me. I called this movie the best new theatrical release of 2008 and still stand by it. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke play two brothers who plot to steal their own parents’ jewelry store. This isn’t just the story of what happens after a robbery goes badly. That event is intertwined with the chronic dysfunction and collapse of a family with a fleeting opportunity of promise. Lumet finished his film career with a bang. Other directors should feel so lucky.

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