Where are the “invincibles”?
No, Mr. President, the internet is not yours
(BenQQ 4.10.14) Again cooking up a scheme to make the US pay back his interpretation of his country’s arrogance and adventurism, the President of the United States has proposed to hand over control of the internet to the United Nations. Maybe you think this is just a technical thing. No. Its a psychological thing. He yearns to be applauded like the Berliners did before his first election. But make no mistake: the US and the world are diminished in strength and vitality without US administration of the internet. Notice the word is "administration." Thankfully, the internet is impossible to "control" except for the ability of governments to block.
Ignore the fact, as the President is so keen to do, that American tax dollars developed under DARPA (Defense Research Projects Agency) HTML (hypertext markup language), NLS ( oN-Line System) and GUI (graphical user interface). Consequently, the US has administered the growth of the internet under the Dept. of Commerce with such entities as ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), InterNIC (Internet Network Information Center) and Network Solutions, a technology consulting company.
If you have ever registered a domain name or designed a Web page, you may have realized you are dependent on open and fair practices of these entities. That goes double for the fighters in Arab Spring countries, as well as freedom fighters in repressive countries like China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and numerous others. Free communications leads to loss of government control. Loss of government control leads to change. Perhaps second only to the Marshall Plan after World War ll, the internet has contributed to the advancement of the world like no other American invention.
So by what strange conjuring does Obama propose to relinquish administration of the internet to an organization that has proven its inability to control anything? Its actions are based on political whim, emotionalism, if not outright hatred of the United States. With the “United Nations Internet Agency” expect the most corrupt international organization to have an “internet use tax” (not a sales tax) the bulk of which would undoubtedly fall on Western nations. Then expect, not necessarily in any order, an international “fair comment” rule book not unlike what the Dems fantasized about to control talk radio, individual internet licenses available for government approved online users and rule after rule of attempts to control free speech, not to mention even more ubiquitous surveillance by all governments, US included.
The Democrats have another reason to fear this newest gambit from their Great Leader: young people who understand the power, use and technology behind the internet will never agree to relinquish the internet to an international nuthouse. Once again, the Dems have another albatross to explain in addition to Obama's approval of government surveillance, trillions in debt and government waste and a federally imposed insurance racket that makes them pay more while increasing their rates.
This internet giveaway could be the match that ignites the conflagration. At this point, its all dependent on the Republicans.
Liberals Good. Conservatives Bad.
Obamacare's roots: Why it won’t work well.
HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, Cong. Steve Cohen, Mayor AC Wharton at a press conference in Memphis promoting Obamacare. Obama did not mention Sebelius in his announcement of his Obamacare signups yesterday.
(BenQQ 4.2.14 - day after the crowing of the first Obamacare signup numbers) My poli-sci professor at then Memphis State University, devoted a whole lecture on the opposing communist/capitalist universes.
The most basic way this story went was Communists, who wanted to free the masses from physical labor, hence eventually create an ideal earthly life, were good. Capitalists, who owned the means of production wanted them to be enslaved by labor so they, the owners of the means of production, could accumulate wealth and with that power. They were bad.
But over time, capitalism in this country, though deficient in curing all of the people’s issues, rose as the winner between the two systems. Social reformers, like Obama, therefore devoted their energies into inserting reform elements—call it socialist, communist or whatever you want—into our capitalist system. There was, and always will be, tension between the two.
However, these reforms work when they do not show up too much in the pocketbooks of the middle class or impinge too onerously in personal lives. Obama, the reformer and anti-capitalist, has succeeded in imposing his political values on daily American life. One of his values, big government, creates the biggest presence yet in the most important personal choices: health and doctors. They’re used to that kind of thing in Europe. We are not used to it here. In fact, most people who understand it now resist going the way of Europe with their sluggish economies and related burdensome social programs and centralized planning. The old continent of Marx just relatively recently got the memo.
That’s the rub of Obamacare. With a European mindset, Obamacare can work. Not well, but it can slog along reducing quality of care of and raising health care cost for the middle class. Instead of focusing on the problem: the relatively small number of uninsured, Obama et al. redesigned the health care system and restructured one sixth of the economy. How did he get a way with it?
Answer: we, that is, his liberal following, elected him. Why is that? Answer: Republicans had no good answers. Now they claim to. But unless they can show real on the ground responses to Obamacare that solves the crisis in health care costs and provides good care for everybody, there is still a good chance they will lose.
And, without providing real solutions, they deserve to lose just as much as the Dems do for voting for it. The American people are begging for solutions after seeing the preview baggage of Obamacare.
What are those solutions? Nothing short of real reform of entitlements and social welfare while providing the health care for all so many Americans are demanding. We don’t have to be the European United States to do this.
The Republicans better be scrambling or times will overtake them. Part ll: Solutions
Make way for hilarity!
Memphis: Next big show for the TV judge
(BenQQ 3.25.14) Get ready for a new political season of high hilarity. Joe Brown has stepped in front of the cameras with a whole new show. There’s no stopping his ginormous ego and ill-considered motor mouth. Just keep it running. Doesn’t matter what it says.
Smelling another freak unknown politician possibly in the vein of Toronto’s Rob Ford, the media have glommed on amazed and fascinated. Now he can turn the likes of the TMZ, CNN, ABC and HLN coverage into a political asset.
With the stunt (however uncontrollably accidental) he pulled on one of his own at Juvenile court earlier this week, he unwittingly bought essential benefits cheap: media attention and public awareness of his running for county DA against Amy Weirich. The episode worked better than any previous announcement to the media. Now he’s on a swashbuckling mission, sword slashing, to rid Memphis of her supremacist pathologies that have leaked into the DA's office. Riiiiight. (Perhaps Memphis could have used him under Herenton’s regime.) But wait, as the Joe Brown infomercial might say, there’s more…
Such candidates are weighted down by ginormous egos—especially Brown who's acting like he labored like a field hand at a reported $20 million annually on his TV show until it was canned. The TV industry breeds slavish sycophants (and so does politics as his supporters like city county commissioner Henri Brooks, who once compared her colleagues to KKK members, demonstrates). So not surprisingly we saw Brown (and have see others of his ilk) grant themselves broad personal permissions to act out, confident in the assumption voters not only don’t care but some might even reward him.
But there’s a problem. The young see threw it. Such tactics are not cool but are rathr embarrassing. They smell bullshit, especially emanating from people who would manipulate them with it.That’s why It hasn’t worked, at least since 2008. Willie Herenton's campaign was based entirely on having a representative that "looked like" the voter when he was running against Cong. Steve Cohen. Now he's disappeared unwillingly, a victim of his own self-destruction. Of course not a certainty, but we'll see.
An original--with pepper and hot sauce
(BenQQ 3.24.14) Along comes David O. Russell's AMERICAN HUSTLE, nominated in a number of Academy categories that would have gone a long way into restoring my faith in Academy voters, if it had won anything. TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE doesn’t come close by comparison. It was a political pity vote for a TV drama, but that’s not to say I don’t love other work of Steve McQueen, especially SHAME.
Hustle is based on an ABSCAM operation where two small time scam artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) get pulled into an FBI sting involving elected federal officials and the hapless mayor of Camden, NJ. It keeps you running breathlessly along with delicious everyday characters who happen to be the main bad guys racked by regret, paranoia, fear and indecision. These are the naive politicians easily corrupted, out of control heavy handed FBI power mongers with an artful mix of conflict between wife and mistress, career obsession and male sexuality (“Let’s f***k and everything will be all right.”) As a topper, then throw in a creepy gangster portrayal by Robert DeNiro, who strangely didn't get screen credit.
Every scene had some classic lines well placed in a great script, like: “I want to pinch us some congressmen!”…“”Bankers only put money in the game when they can reap insane profit!”…“Your f***ing boy friend will kill me, he will kill you and he’ll kill Danny!” Check this one out if you like your cinema with pepper and hot sauce but without the bland conventionality of talk show judgement.
a year later...
They keep on ticking after taking a beating
With victory in sight, Jeffrey Unthank stands in front of a mural he will add to his ongoing series of murals on James Road. His work since 2011 is nothing short of heroic. Soon to be finished after taking hits from the media, weather, dwindling finances and uncooperative materials, the never-say-die muralist aims to put this Urban Art Commission project to bed at long last. Story with pix here.
Bogart this bill
TN med maryjane bill seeks sponsor
BenQQ 2.1.14) While legislators in Illinois hilariously argue over whether legal medical marijuana users can own a gun, Tennessee state Rep. Sherry Jones (Dem-Nashvile) plans to reintroduce a bill to allow medical marijuana use as soon as she finds a state Senator to co-sponsor. This would be the second such bill introduced to the state legislature. Two years ago a former senator and former representative introduced similar legislation. That bill never made it out of committee.
Jones said in the Knoxville New-Sentinel, "It would apply to only the most severely debilitated people...children suffering a hundred (epileptic) seizures a day, people on chemotherapy, people with multiple sclerosis...people with a plethora of diseases."
Seems the Dems can at least in part claim this issue, as states one by one pass medicinal and recreational use while Republicans stumble and mumble along in the old drug war (among other holdovers) that died of any political use long ago. Even Cong. Steve Cohen (D-TN, Memphis) last year introduced a bill to study the "unnecessary conflict" between federal law and states permitting medicinal and decriminalized use. Speaking to a marijuana policy organization, he said, It"s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana. This conflict is only going to continue to grow...we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws."
Uh, OK. That's laudatory for sure. But while we spend years studying it, we all know what needs to be done unless you have had your head stuck completely in deep grass: stop criminalizing otherwise law abiding dope smokers and break the grip of unnecessary, intrusive and expensive-to-enforce laws that have no cost-benefit ratio whatsoever and that infringe on private personal decisions.
Meanwhile, back in Tennessee, we're still declaring compassion be damned. We still can't get passed the old blue laws of selling spirits in stores and on Sundays. The Republicans have another chance at redeeming themselves by crawling out of identity politics (just as the Dems need to as well on their base level) by confronting relevant issues.
An economist breaks through
The Undercover Economist Strikes Back:
How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy
by Tim Harmon publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Now comes again behavior economist Tim Harmon who explains his take in simple and entertaining terms how macroeconomics works. One of his obvious, as well as practiced, inspirations is the late London School of Economics professor Bill Phillips. Phillips, Harmon argues, is the "Indiana Jones of macroeconomics" In the beginning of WWll, the Japanese attacked the Empire Star, transporting the last refugees, 2,000 of which were women and children, out of Singapore. Phillips, in British uniform and a mechanical tinkerer since his upbringing in New Zealand, went below and devised a stand for a heavy machine gun mount "out of nothing in particularly" and for hours stood on the deck fighting off Japanese dive bombers. "Ultimately," as Harmon tells it, "he was taken prisoner. The first thing he did when he was in the Japanese prison camp in Indonesia was to start tinkering. He built a little radio in the heel of his clog and if he had been caught he would have been tortured or possibly beheaded. Another thing he made was a little immersion heater you could dip into a mug of cold water and you could brew tea and he made a whole bunch of them. It was in a prison camp and you wanted to drink tea. Every evening the Japanese used to lock up the lot of the prisoners and the lights of the prison camp used to flicker and go dim and the guards could never figure out what was happening. It was Bill Phillips making 2,000 cups of tea. He didn't talk that much about his experience in the prison camp. He once commented rather off handedly commented there wasn't a lot of food and the tall men died and he was short. There was really a dark moment when he and his colleagues, his fellow prisoners, were taken to a new camp and they were asked to dig mask graves. He saw machine guns mounted on the wall of the camp pointing inwards and it was pretty obvious what the graves were for, but Bill had other concerns. His rado had broken." The solution: break into the camp commandant's room and steal his radio parts to fix his own radio. He did and the first thing he heard was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This is the story telling talent of Tim Harmon. It is not about Bill Phillips who subsequenly became a staff member at the London School after he showed them his invention of the first macroeconomics computer that ran on water with the outflow and inflow of floats representing such things as imports, exports, government money infusion, etc., but about how human behavior influence everything in economics. If you want to get painlessly grasp how big econ works and have a good read at the same time, get this one.
Take this four million dollar job and shove it.
Ginormous pay for happy talk on GMA
TV News. Just keep smiling. (L) Robin Roberts, Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer.
(BenQQ 4.1.14) Is this an April fool's gag? There must be an unwritten social contract between the American people and celebrity TV journalists, which of course is an oxymoron, because few journalists are really celebrities. Good career newsies are ever really entertaining. I mean they don't tell jokes, sing, dance or even peel off bits of clothing as they give whatever "news" is meaningful to them. What they do, as on GMA this morning, is offer faux side talk that more often than not makes their shrinking number of viewers hit the remote by the, uh, dozens.
Of course, the modern Amercian TV news industry requires unctuous pitter-patter and
its gotten worse as the American people have gotten more gullible, ie, politically correct. Maybe there's a connection.
I miss I-don't-give-a-damn-what-i-look-like-or-how-i-sound old
press reporters that you could almost smell last night's--or this morning's--whiskey under each loud
vowel. But, ok, I can hear it now. Even they were packaged to reflect their news consuming culture.
Quite frequently big media money, and those very few reporters who have won the on-air media lottery, rip away the facade. Consider the set this morning of Good Morning America. One smiling happy talker missing from the usual lineup of forgettables: Josh Elliott. Seems that Josh thinks he's worth an eight million annual salary instead of a paltry four. He said NBC had offered him a job and the last time he was seen on that set was Friday.
Of course the market solution is not to watch, but like everyone else, I'm attracted yet repulsed. Would I watch a TV screen of scrolling objectively written copy of real news? In fact, I probably would, until someone else came up with expletives undeleted and blunt comments--just like the old reporters of not too long ago did. Depressingly, we can't escape culture. So its more about culture, less about news.
Other than the "International BBQ Competition"
Could this become an off-Beale spring rite?
photos by BenQQ ©ViralEvents.com
(3.18.14) Snaps of the Run or Dye marathon event this past weekend at the old Fairgrounds area--All I have to say is that it was like obsessed impressionist painters conspired with the tomato tossers of Spain's Tomatina bash to create a localized riot of color and about a thousand multi-chromtic runners. I don't know if Utah based ViralEvents.com ever intended their's to be a communal, psychologically liberating family friendly spring ritual, but a rite it was especially coming on the heels of some wicked winter weather. Goodbye winter. Hello spring. Let's make love. Hey, its an Isis and Osiris thing, but without the seedy familial relations.Corn starch gauntlet Before the race, Memphians appeal to a UFO to be taken away, but since that didn't happen they broke into a comfortable 3.5 mile jog through midtown.Runner apparently being chased by a mob of unruly Memphians. Once he started, everybody mugged.For a photographer, the event was made for promo ops--as well as sales of prints from their site. Link at bottom.Run or Dye is held in a number of cities. The next stop for the Viral Events team of about eight is Ft. Lauderdale. They have about a day to set up, and do the event, wrap and head out the next day. One of eight photographers, I got onsite early and rode through mid-town with a staffer whose job it was, among many other things, to mark the run route with cones. Driving slow and observing, he said pensively, "I've never seen a day care with barbed wire." I volunteered the preschoolers were especially menacing here, but not to worry we had police protection.After the run, staffers and crowd play to each other.To sum up, Memphis could use a ritual for no other reason than creating colorful chaos. Hope V.E. returns. Buy the shots and help them do it.
Fellow Photogs. All shot for four hours straight...so if you were there, more great shots are posted. Check it out at viralevents.com/photos.
What was NOT on drive time radio yesterday
The Ukraine crisis reveals a drive time crisis
(BenQQ 3.1.14) They say an airline pilot earns his pay about once a year in
about twenty seconds. Upon learning of Putin's preinvasion setup of the
Ukraine, perhaps this was going to be Obama's twenty seconds. Maybe.
While tens of thousands of Memphians drove home yesterday, Putin moved in Russian militia in unmarked uniforms into a sovereign nation in a preinvasion gambit. Like Hitler declaring natural rights to Sudetanland in 1938, then all of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Putin will grab the Crimea for the same reason with impunity. Europe will roll over, having kissed for oil the ring of Europe's biggest failed democracy.
But had you been in your car listening to the city's strongest standard talk radio signal, WREC 600 am, you wouldn't have had a clue about current events. The importance of having an information oriented program during afternoon drive time was never more apparent.
WREC had a talker that was informative and entertaining. Instead they replaced it with local fluff. Scnitt would have been on it and am sure was. But Memphians didn't get a chance to hear it. Schnitt was gone baby gone.
Instead, we hear Jake palaver on about the "tigers," comic books, Jerry Lawler, the Memphis Comedy and Fantasy Convention, and why he doesn't belong to the Tea Party. Need I say who cares to it all? Europe is tumbling into a crisis and WREC would rather us hear about local football. Memphians deserve better. See related below.
Hello"Nation of Jake," S'long Schnitt
(BenQQ 2.10.14) WREC600 AM goes local in drive
time with the
Jake", an instant aspiring brand if I ever heard one, kicking out Todd
Schnitt, a loudster that replaced sometimes equally decibelled Andrew Clark Senior who moved to 98.9 FM. I'll never forget he said to tune
in at 2:00 on his outgoing weekend show when he'd give the details about his
radio future. He wasn't even on. Rather, WREC aired a repeat of
Rush Limbaugh or some other filler.
So much respect for an
on-air employee, so much for his listeners.
Jake feels like a fast food milk shake compared to the straight whiskey shot, at least by commercial radio standards, of Schnitt. I listened for about thirty minutes but between the housewives inexplicably calling in to "welcome him ("back"?) to Memphis" and his comments about "Memphis attractions" and "the Tigers" my hand like The-Beast-with-Five-Fingers drew to the car dashboard and started poking (dare i say in a bloodied frenzy?). Ever try to find an on air critic that's at least arguably independent, conservative, content oriented but socially neutral (i.e., stays away from sports and bible thumping) in M-town? Answer: you can't.
That's because there are NO politically palatable talk shows other than (Mark Levin on 89.9 FM in same general time slot.) But Schnitt Levin's not. (Even the comedy of the left has its own digestible limits.) Schnitt had somehow found the golden twain between info, opinion and laughs. I thought surely WREC had to be making a profit on the slot. Whatever. Listeners are sheep and they listen to anything that's slushed out before them. But considering there's few options in listening categories here in Memphis, that's got to be more true than in, say, towns where there're competing more or less stations with equal coverage and more or less equally sized newspapers. But in Memphis we really are in a one talk radio (at least at night) and one newspaper town. The much heralded benefits of competition doesn't seem to apply.
And speaking of sports, that's the one category in a market that's already dumbed down by a stupefying glut of sports talk, that WREC doesn't claim to "be a station of." But should. Another thing I remember is when the station ran a UofM game on election night. Great public service. Didn't someone think to ad that in the contract or were they too afraid of pitchfork marauding fans storming the station?
It's not that this guy Jake (excuse me, no other id on the Web site), known only by his aforementined brand at least on that page, is not talented. (Jake what? Jake Nation? Jake, THE Nation?) Didn't take long to tell he was, talented in the non-categorical talk business--much like the station itself. I really wish him all the best, but he doesn't have the resources nor focus of Schnitt. For the local station that has the biggest footprint to once again abandon an established product (remember Michael Savage?) in order to do a local show is, inexplicable. The station owes one to its listeners. Did someone decide Schnitt was a little too political in the wrong direction for a Democratic demographic in that time slot? Was Scnitt too expensive? Placing The Nation of Jake in a local startup slot in a weekend lineup amid the repeats of Beck and Limbaugh would have been better. And maybe you could throw in some local weekend independent voices while you're at it, WREC? Wouldn't kill ya.
Oops, I said what I thought
Ted Nugent blows himself up
...and then apologizes for blaspheming the president as a "subhuman mongrel." A frequent guest of conservative talk shows like that of Sean Hannity, the gun rights "shock rocker" was never more shocking. If he is deemed still useful by right of center talkers in getting conservative votes, watch for his rehabilitation, however mild, on their shows. To be fair, Nugent is at least more consistently political active than other endorsing stars such as Alice Cooper (for George Bush), Kid Rock (for Mitt Romney) nor even Mariah Carey and many others (for the President.) Meanwhile, watch for more young and independent voters to yearn for an "anti-political" third party as an escape from such manipulative and clumsy celebrity driven stunts.
The "bayonet" joke comes back to jab Obama
Mitt called it right on Russia, too
Remember the 2012 presidential debate hosted by CNN's Candy Crowley in which she infamously interjected herself on the side of Obama, supporting his position that Romney was wrong when he accused the president of taking two weeks to label the Benghazi attacks an act of terror? (Obama did use the term "terror" the next day in describing the attack but did not recognize it as an organized "terrorist attack.") Disappointingly Romney did not press over repeated audience applause for Crowley's unfactual activist insertion. But now there's something else to remember about that debate. When Romney had the temerity to point out our great commander in chief was inept in dealing with the Russians, Obama condescendingly joked we were not fighting the Ruskies with bayonets. This past week, Kiev burns while Putin pours on the gas and sends arms to Syria in the Russian supported bloodbath there. Obama's and Clinton's "leading from behind" is an obvious foreign policy human disaster.
Local Media--Joyce Peterson
Another "Vanishing" at Channel 24
(BenQQ 4.5.14) Art imitating life was-somewhat?-like the movie Ron Burgundy 2 and the recent ending of Joyce Peterson's tenure at Channel 24. Career experienced hands in local TV news know change comes if not in an instant, at least as rapidly as in any other profit business. TV stations especially are in an awkward place when an on-air personality leaves. Former co-anchor Cameron Harper said on her, yes, Facebook (and not the station's) page, “We said a final newscast ‘Good Night’ to Joyce Peterson after the Oscars Sunday night,” adding, “Life is about change and for Joyce, this was her time and her choice.”
As with most corporations, once gone, employees never existed, like Stalin doctoring out members of the inner circle on picture negatives never to be mentioned. After years of service to the station, a simple official recognition mention would have worked. However, I don't even see email links on how viewers even can reach reporters. Not exactly encouraging viewers to communicate. Just buy our advertisers' stuff and "like" us on Facebook, thank you very much.
Irresolution just across the river
Devil's Knot a knotty story of bad justice
Jason Baldwin, a former defendant in the West Memphis Three case at a press event in Memphis for promotion of the documentary of the same name.
(BenQQ 3.29.14) Perhap enduring a retrial would have been just too much for the state. The lack of evidence issue. The money issue. The image issue. So don't give the West Memphis Three a walk without at least making them plead guilty, release them and hopefully get them out of the state. Enough publicity, enough Hollywood. Enough national coverage showing locals as rabid hicks with pitchforks screaming in front of a courthouse. Hence, that rarely used Alford Ruling that's hard to get your head around: The West Memphis Three go free as long as they admit guilt. But the state's ploy did not get it off the hook. It is not forgotten. Along comes another movie.
To the thousands of articles, books and two documentaries that have been produced on the subject, Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three is the only drama of this sad tragic episode. It aired on pay per view last night following the ground premiere in Toronto last fall.
A prominent and heroic figure of the defense team is the late Ronald Lax, a Memphis private investigator that took the case pro bono. He is played by Collin Firth in the movie. He died of an illness before the Toronto premiere. The producers provided him a special screening, according to the Commercial Appeal, Oct. 18.
The story follows Pam Hobbs (Reese
Witherspoon), mother of Stevie Branch, one of the three slain boys, through the controversial trial. In the process she realizes prejudiced jurors, sloppy investigating, suppressed evidence, lying witnesses, and a politically motivated prosecutor, would not bring justice for her son and the other young victims. Instead Reese comes to suspect, Terry Hobbs, Steve’s step-father, as at least one of the killers. This is a dominant theory of the “believers” (vs. the “nons”) in what has now become the most known unsolved--or irresoved--murder mystery of Arkansas. Hobbs has never been officially accused and even sued unsuccessfully one of the Dixie Chicks over slander when one of the group’s singers publicly named him as the killer at a concert.
The "true story" of the West Memphis Three is that their trial was an embarassing sham to the state. It reached for the unusual "Alford" deal that set them free but still pleading guilty. They and their supporters have maintained their innocence. The original trial judge subsequently became a state senator. In effect, there is no resolution to this day.
Devil’s Knot was shot entirely in Georgia (surely a disappointment to the Memphis Film Commission). It became a cause celebre for Hollywood. Jason Baldwin, one of the accused, has co-producing credit.
Sunday morning interview notes
Obama's chickens come home to
(BenQQ 3.23.14) Mitt Romney said this morning that Russia's Ukraine grab is a result of Obama's "naivete" and his "faulty judgement of Russia's intentions" even after many people predicted the crisis. As a result Obama was incapable of thinking what Russia might do after the Kiev coup. "This isn't fantasy land...We certainly could have taken actions early on to keep Russia from moving in...I think effective leaders typically are able to see the future to a certain degree and then try and take actions to shape it in a certain way." (Watch for opportunistic commentators to turn this comment into "Romney believes in clairvoyance." ) I personally add the spectacle of our Commander In Chief's failure to physically come to the aid Americans under attack in Benhazi and Hilary Clinton's subsequent denial of its organized nature. IMHO, both were derelections motivated by raw politics. Full interview here.
Direct from the Hollywood propaganda dept.
White House Down, cinematosis halitosis
(BenQQ 3.22.14) OMG! White House Down is now making the cable circuit. In it they blow up the White House! They shoot the Secretary of Defense! They bring down Air Force One! They hold tourist hostages! They want to launch nuclear missiles! And a little 12 year old girl exposes them all on her blog in this convoluted mess of liberal fantasy.
This thing belches forth a roiling mix of Obamaite pleasure center brain mush that could only get big budget funding in Hollywood for this movie you most likely never heard of. One of my director faves, Roland Emerich, delivers up a smaltzy brainless pastiche that checks the formula script boxes of action and suspense as well as stupid and annoying. But it did have touches of his classic Independence Day.
The president's (Jamie Foxx) real enemies, bad old white guys, is led by James Woods, who has a beef against the government because his son was killed in one of this country’s pointless wars. Somehow he has pulled together a motley band of white supremacists (instead of suicidal jihadists) to take over the White House. We’d have an idea of what would motivate a jihadist to blow up the world, but only God-knows-what gets this lame backwoods crew moving other than you guessed it-heartland racism-to formulate a master plan to get back at the libs. The script doesn't even endow them with a second thought about how they thought they were going to escape. At least jihadists initialed that clause.
This thing is a howl from beginning to end. Neighborhood true believers might watch transfixed and so will conservatives and independents, but for different reasons. My advice, open a tall one, and let loose the cinematic bullshit. Its a real romp, especially when Foxx, our Obama clone, says sincerely, "Trust me." I kept thinking about Obamacare broken promises until the story ended with all the major world leaders coming together on his brilliant "peace policy." This one's for you, Hollywood.
The FIRST Earth Day is Today!
John McConnell started Earth Day in 1969
(BenQQ 3.20.14) Don't buy (literally) into the commercial hi-jack of "Earth Day." The first and therefore authentic Earth Day was established by John McConnell in 1969. Read about it at benjharrison.net/Earthday.html.
The Crimea in history and movies
The world just turned, again
(BenQQ 3.6.14) the realpolitik message from Crimea: no Western
country has the backbone for direct conflict with Russia regardless
Say they wordlessly, confrontation would be
as pointless as the 1936 Errol Flynn epic “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
in the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War (1853-56) when the
British tried to capture the port of Sevastopol.
Putin knows he gets it all: a warm water port and a launching pad to take the rest of Ukraine when he wants. It is worth the pain of sanctions, asset freezes, and the threatened western attempt to undermine his ruble. Besides, he’s got the oil. He wasn’t afraid to cut it off to Georgia, some of which Russia still occupies after her bloody invasion. He knows full well Obama didn’t rise early on to kill Assad in support of the then dominant democratic moderates in Syria, did little for any of the Arab Spring uprisings and probably will let Iran have nuclear weapons. Most tellingly he abandoned his country’s own in Benghazi while he and Hilary Clinton comically blamed a video. World leaders, let alone a stone cold killer like Putin, don’t forget. We, good hearted Americans all, apparently do.
Notes today 3.3.14
(BenQQ) Leave it to MSNBC: on the Oscars last night: Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o won best actress along with best producer Steve McQueen. McQueen also directed. Both are black. By the way they talked, Ronan Farrow and a two member panel, supposedly Hollywood cognoscenti, seemed to think Nyongo'o and McQueen were the first blacks to win Oscars, not apparently realizing there were six black predecessors. Also apparently only counting blacks as minorities, they ignored that Mexicans won best director, Alfonso Cuaron, and best cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubesk, the second Mexican to do so in that category.
Government by NFL
Like me or I will sue you
(BenQQ 2.27.14) So the latest foray of Republicans to protect business owners from imagined unfair claims of discrimination backfires with the “religious freedom” bill in Arizona. The whole episode reveals much about us at the top of the 21st century. Media and the commentariot predictably presented proponents as social neanderthals among the popularly supported progressive homo sapiens.
Arising from a case in New Mexico where the state supreme court ruled a gay couple could sue a photographer for discrimination after he turned down a request to document their wedding, writers of the Arizona bill figured the best defense of such claims—I’m assuming they were thinking of small businesses—would be the owners’ religious convictions.
Wrong. In our society today, personal religious convictions fall to social norms. Now everyone can get into everyone else’s business. Literally in this case, anti-discrimination laws would force small business individuals to do business up close and personal with those whom he might rather not.
But does a business owner’s decision, in the personal business context, not to do business with someone rise to the level of civil discrimination against a whole class, like, minorities, women and people over 40? My answer is no. No one should be forced to run his business on regulatory culture war rules.
But as gay establishment claims their “civil rights”—now hubrisly defined by an individual choosing not to associate with someone else—the hand writing of the federal government, the big corporations like the NFL and Apple, as well as the local Chambers of Commerce, is on the wall: you WILL do business with people you otherwise wouldn’t.
From the start it was a strange spectacle that won Gov. Jan Brewer the political common sense award but left her high and dry in the courage dept.
The bill intended to protect the right of business owners against being required to serve clientele—not only gays—if owners could show real religious objections. Not even personal objections, but religious objections. So, for example, a photographer, like me, would be required by law to shoot a wedding that offended my doctrinal religious sensibilities, (granted, if I had any).
So let’s say I was asked to photo a gay wedding and I said, thanksbutnothanks. My religious convictions prohibit my taking your money. (Not likely. I have never turned down a religious wedding of any faith nor would I a gay one.) So what would the aggrieved client say to me: “I am going to file a civil suit against you to force you to do business with me.” So, wierdly enough, if the Arizona Supreme Court gave the go ahead, I could be prosecuted for turning down a paying gig for personal reasons.
Then, what would be the penalty for my not providing a service? Would I be fined? Would I be forced to photograph the wedding? And who would then judge my fee? Am I being exploitive with a too large fee? Or should I not charge a fee at all? All that plus being forced to attend sensitivity training sessions and to post mea culpa signs that I serve all, despite my private and personal religious precepts?
By the way, the bill never mentions homosexuals or any other group. As unnecessary as I admit it is, it left open any number of scenarios where people may be actively forced to serve others they would choose not to, as defined by likely discrimination laws coming down from high courts. So, for example, a Jew would have to cater a Nazi event. They would be discriminatory? Better believe it.
In effect, the overarching culture and federal government are now in the business of sanctioning personal beliefs. The phony battle of “civil rights” has fallen to the level of forcing someone to serve you because they, for whatever good or bad reason, don’t like you. Proponents may claim “civil rights,” but what they really want is enforced personal acceptance by everybody.