Friday, March 19, 2010

A Visit From Big Brother

We got our census forms the other day. Because we had two kids, it took about ten minutes to fill out. Now we're mailing it back in. Big Brother now knows EVERYTHING about us. Ooh scary!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's "Deem and Pass" Baby

That's the current status of health care reform anyway. The House is going to vote for the Senate bill and for amending the Senate bill at the same time. "Deem and Pass" Baby.

After that, there's the problem of dealing with moderates.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tough to Be John Bolton

Former Bush apparatchik John Bolton is having a hard time finding a hero these days. Because the Obama administration refuses to play the tough guy, the U. S. is obviously too "soft" and "weak" for Bolton's taste.
That [Israeli] strategy would have been entirely sensible if Mr. Obama were simply another president in the long line since Franklin Roosevelt who vigorously asserted U.S. national interests, championed our friends (especially beleaguered ones), and kept alliances strong. But Mr. Obama is different. He is our first post-American president. He looks beyond American exceptionalism and believes that our role on the world stage should be merely one nation among many.

Normally, that would mean that Bolton would slide the Israelis into the hero's role. If Bolton had a meaningful choice, I'm sure he would choose Israel and the settler movement over the pansy Americans. But Obama not only refuses to allow the U. S. to play the enforcer, he's also making the Israelis do unmanly things as well. Where Bolton wants the Israelis to nuke Iran, Obama is making them "negotiate" with the Palestinians.

Israel has sought to accommodate Mr. Obama on two critical issues: negotiations with Palestinians and Iranian nuclear weapons. These efforts have largely kept
bilateral disagreements out of sight. But now the suppressed conflicts are fully
visible and will either be resolved or cause a serious collision between Israel
and the U.S.

Unfortunately for John Bolton, that means he'll have to get his kicks watching Inglorious Basterds.

A White Captain America?

Apparently, the powers that be at Marvel Inc. are having trouble casting the lead role in the upcoming Captain America. reports that Marvel has approached Channing Tatum for the role. They say he very likely skipped the audition process since his recent turns in G.I.Joe' and 'Dear John' have positioned him as a bankable name. They're saying that, if Marvel advances the conversation with him, it'll be in the form of an offer for the role, not an audition. . . . Meanwhile, the Motion Captured blog at Hitfix is saying that Ryan Philippe is also a contender. . . "[I] actually am going in to meet on 'Captain America,' which is kind of cool," Phillippe told MTV. "After Superman, he was kind of my favorite."
Part of the problem might be that Marvel is only considering white actors like the "old for his age" Ryan Philippe and ex-stripper Channing Tatum. White guys often have to cut through too many layers of irony and/or bitterness to have the kind of purity needed to convincingly play the Steve Rogers role in Captain America. Tom Welling is convincing in Smallville, but Ben Affleck had too much super-ironic Dogma and Gigli baggage for Daredevil to work. White actors tend to be more convincing when they're burdened by guilt and bitterness as well. Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis evoke enough bitterness to fill a Tolstoy novel while Matt Damon hit all the guilt marks as Jason Bourne in the Bourne movies.

The problem with Steve Rogers and Captain America is that Rogers came through WWII as pure as he went in. It's hard to imagine any white actor portraying that convincingly. Maybe Tom Welling, but he's already taken.

It would be better if Marvel started looking for a black lead.

Monday, March 15, 2010

RSI Endorses Jack Conway

I haven't exactly been brimming with enthusiasm about the Democratic primaries for the U. S. Senate seat currently held by right-wing bully Jim Bunning.

In a typical pattern for cowardly Democratic politicians in Kentucky, attractive candidates like Ben Chandler and Crit Luallen decided that running was too risky and chose to stay in their current positions. That left a not-particularly-compelling primary between Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway. Mongiardo is a relatively weak campaigner who should have beaten Bunning in 2004. So I've never been excited about him. But Conway comes off as a blow-dried politician who doesn't have much going for him other than being good-looking--sort of the Democratic version of Republican candidate Trey Grayson.

But I've decided to go with Conway.

Today's Lexington Herald-Leader has an article on how all the Senate candidates are fawning over the coal industry. In a way that makes sense. Coal is a major industry in Kentucky. But the coal companies are also some of the most predatory corporations out there--sort of a smaller scale version of Goldman Sachs and the financial sector. So, the support for coal among Kentucky politicians is pretty nauseating even though it's the "Kentucky patriotic" thing to do.

But Mongiardo takes the cake. The most egregious environmental crime of the coal companies is mountain top removal--a mining practice that removes entire hills to get at the underground coal seams. Mongiardo's tag line: "it's not mountaintop removal; it's mountaintop development."

Screw that. I'm endorsing Conway.