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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Hope-Shred Awakens. Star Wars Episode VII Cast Announced

Here you go, the cast of Star Wars Episode VII.

J.J Abrams (top center right) at the cast read-through of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan.
It's hard to stay skeptical these days.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Gun Control Nut Runs for Cover from @DLoesch #Gutlesscoward

Dana Loesch took to task another gun control lib (read: liar) who falsely accused her of being paid by NRA, MAGPUL, the Koch brothers, the "gun lobby," Darth Vader, and Satan. She also may have made inferences to Dana's predilection for eating puppies.

Ok, I might be exaggerating on one or two of those. But the point is, Shannon Watts wasn't. Like most liars and bullies, she's a hypocrite with armed guards, she will not actually answer questions or defend her points. This, ladies and gentleman, is the walking, talking, dictionary definition of a gutless coward.

*Corrected Shannon Watts name. Originally published as Wagner. My mistake.

Republican Rep Republican Michael Republican Grimm (R-NY) (Republican) Arrested. Republican.

I think he's a republican.  It's noted here and here. Politico however takes the cake.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Conservatism and Twitter -- Useful but thin on substance

I like Twitter to a certain extent. It has opened up a world of information to me on a variety of subjects and sites like Twitchy has used it to great effect. Nick Searcy has been using it like a sledge hammer against the left and Iowahawk may be the best conservative humorist in 140 character increments.

But it has its problems, one of them being that it is nearly impossible to properly defend and define conservatism on any number of issues or to get in a substantive argument with a liberal without resorting to the irrelevant or the trivial.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Liberal Diversity: Everyone be a culture-free drone of the state, or else racists or something

Liberals really don't like other cultures. I have been assuming they are racists but I'm not so sure now. I think they are simply statists and like all statists, everyone must conform. They may not care about black or white as long as you all dress the same, act the same and vote the same. We can control you regardless of skin color.

In that vein, everything different then from them is bad. Really. It makes it all very black and white to them. They dress it up in terms like "Cultural Appropriation" and "diversity" but really, they want everyone to be bland, cultureless drones.

I started on this road from reading this article on the federalist.
A few weeks ago, the Palestinian-American feminist made a splash with an article in Salon explaining “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers.” Her argument, to the extent she offers one, is that this is a peculiar form of exploitation called “cultural appropriation.” She ends with the advice: “Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.” 
Now that is an interesting principle if we were to apply it consistently. The mind reels. Enormous parts of our culture have been influenced by and therefore “appropriated” from someone else. Much of contemporary American popular music was “appropriated” in one way or another from Southern blacks, as are whole styles of dance. Tap dance was appropriated by whites from blacks, who appropriated it from the Irish. Or maybe the other way around, or both. Parts of the American Arts and Crafts style were “appropriated” from traditional Japanese homebuilding. Franz Liszt encouraged his contemporaries to “appropriate” melodies from the Hungarians like all get-out. Classical architecture was “appropriated” from the Romans by the descendants of the very barbarians who sacked the empire. And so on. 
What Jarrar condemns as “appropriation” is actually “learning.” It is the transmission of new ideas, and the more sources they come from, the more vibrant the culture.
Indeed. Here's the problem with a vibrant, diverse culture, it encourages vibrant and diverse ideas. That can't happen in a socialist state. It helps me understand my previous article regarding casting choices in movies. You can cast a black person in a white role but you can't cast a white person in a black role. Think about it, everyone must be a bland, vanilla, with no discernable cultural characteristics. If they do, they can be mocked, especially white southerners. Even Adam Sandler movies will make fun of anyone who doesn't seem like a bland white person, including blacks, gays, mexicans, and pretty much everyone else.

Any depiction of a minority as having a culture outside the norm is called "stereotyping." Any white person dressing or celebrating another culture is called "cultural appropriation." In other words, there are state sanctioned (read: politically correct) permits to celebrating culture. Only Indians can belly dance, only Hawaiians can do the hula. They are given special dispensation as they are grandfathered in. But anything new, say a movie or other form of entertainment must follow the guidelines as put forth by your helpful, enlightened (and usually lilly-white) liberal orthodoxy.

So if you feel that Japanese culture speaks to you, you want to learn more about it and take to wearing kimonos or watching Anime, you are appropriating their culture. You're the wrong color, you haven't gotten the proper permits and the thought police will be arriving soon to send you to some sort of re-education camp. Most likely it will be easier for everyone to just conform to a state sanctioned method of dress and speaking.

Enjoy your diversity.

Oregon Turns Racist and Other Obamacare Stories

Oregon is dropping their state-run Obamacare because apparently over the course of the last few months, everybody in Oregon has inexplicably become racist. There is hope because they are moving over to the federal system so perhaps they are actually just slightly bigoted.
Cover Oregon still isn’t online six months after its troubled launch, and now it looks like it never will be. Portland’s KATU reports that Oregon officials will recommend dumping its “beleaguered” state-run exchange, which was only able to accept paper-only applications because of its nonfunctional website, and will switch over to the federal program.
More and more of us will stop being racists as our plans get cancelled and we'll be forced onto the federal exchanges:
The Obama administration is quietly trying to stamp out some of the skimpiest health plans, a decision that industry officials say could trigger yet another wave of cancellation notices. 
The administration is targeting a type of coverage called fixed benefit or indemnity insurance, which give patients a fixed sum of money whenever they visit the doctor or land in a hospital.
With this kind of success, it's no wonder Senators are starting to defend and run on Obamacare. Kind of. 
It’s an exceptionally well-crafted ad, and I imagine it will help raise Senator Begich’s favorable image. Not surprisingly, it focuses on what is consistently the most popular aspect of Obamacare, a ban on pre-existing conditions used to block insurance. This is one aspect of Obamacare that both Republicans and Democrats support in overwhelming numbers and some variation is included in almost all Republican health care alternatives. No one is for pre-existing conditions. 
But as far as the ad being a defense of Obamacare, if you’re reluctant to name what you are “unabashedly” defending, it’s hard to see how this bodes well for the fight. It’s like showing up at the game with a bag over your head to cheer for your team.
Well they "kind of" defend it because Obamacare only "kind of" works:
The administration has failed to meet 44 statutory deadlines required under Obamacare, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). 
The report, released on Monday, documents every provision with a specific deadline within the health care law and the administration’s actions taken as of April 15, 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has missed more than half of the 83 deadlines mandated since March 2011.
So the thing Democrats do best, which is force other people to do things they don't want to do, is also something they fail at executing.

The Federalist cuts through the bullshit to show how racist they really are, by questioning whether or not the people are actually getting quality care.
In the torrent of information which deluges the public, the problem of price controls is scarcely mentioned because most writers in the medical policy community belong to a small group of academics, social scientists, economists and members of think tanks whose interests and expertise are in the financial rather than the medical aspects of healthcare.  They  lack the real life experience to appreciate the effects of their recommendations on practicing physicians and their patients. Doctors who know the problems are too busy coping with them to write about them.
This is a long one but in essence Obamacare is destroying the fundamental economics behind health care. If you do this to the housing market, peoples homes are underwater and it's a real pain. But point Phillips Gausewitz makes is that doing this to the medical market will cause more medical problems as Canada and other countries are experiencing due to delays in care:
This situation and the loss of the many intangible rewards of practice: gratifying patient relations, respect, time and funds for continuing education; have made the practice of medicine a much less attractive profession. Physicians who are financially able retire sooner than they would have previously, and the best qualified potential replacements often choose less frustrating careers. 
The result is the growing shortage which, unless corrected, will result in conditions here like those in Great Britain, Japan and Canada where patients are dying and cancers becoming untreatable while they are on waiting lists for care.
Price controls was tried during Nixon and we saw how well that turned out. Let it burn? It's burning. The question is how much damage will it cause.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Let it Burn? Let it Burn.

So Ace has an interesting article today. 
Note the actual phrase begins with "let". It's a passive word. No one is saying "Start a fire and burn it down". It is burning already. 
Out of control entitlement spending, zero political will to control discretionary spending and an unchecked debt is the fuel that is feeding this fire. 
You want to know who is actively fanning the flames of this fire? Mainstream Republican candidates and office holders, not tea party fanatics or people who simply have lost interest in trying to stop the conflagration. 
In fact, it's these "grown ups" who are so darn "electable" that are actively doing something....putting more fuel on the fire. 
Until people realize that with the GOP as presently constituted stopping the increase in the rate of burning, let alone putting the fire out isn't on the menu and nothing will change. 
So don't look at those of us who have washed our hands of this mess as the ones unwilling to stop the burning. We tried and were told to shut up. You guys who insist on voting for the GOP which will add more fuel to the fire are the ones who are grunting "fire good!", not us.
I would not just say we are part of the "let it burn" crowd anymore. The fire is now out of control. But "Letting it burn" is not an irresponsible view but actually an attempt to make people deal with what they have wrought. I fully support it. We tried to fight it, we tried to get rid of it in courts, we've tried to get people to listen. Not just Obamacare but all the Democrat/Liberal policies of "Government First." The spending, the corruption, the fraud, the waste... we fight these things because we know that they cannot continue. The best way is to stop them before they start.

It's now too late for that. The laws are in place. The spending is out of control. Until adults start saying "No", and change the laws, this will not be able to continue. It WILL burn, whether we let it or not. Perhaps we can get the Scott Walkers of the world elected in the Senate, House, and Presidency. People who understand that the governments job is not to take from those who succeed and spend it on garbage.

No I'm not saying they give it to the poor because honestly, the poor aren't really any better off. The amount of money getting shifted away from the working middle and upper class should be more than enough to let poor people live a lot better than they do. No, the money goes away. It feeds politicians and donors and companies and labor unions and the giant bureaucracy that doesn't seem to improve anything. In short, the money disappears and the debt grows.

This is now out of control. Best thing to do is retreat to states that have at least some sort of bulwark against the on-coming storm until the rest of the country grows up and wises up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Obamacare Roundup

That rocket scientist over at MSNBC says Dems should just say "Your crappy plans are gone, deal with it." Way to look out for the poor there, Hyphenated-Asshat. I mean Harris-Perry. Nothing says compassion like telling your voters to suck it.

Obamacare is back in court by the way. Ever have a friend who always seemed to end up in court? Did they eventually implode? Anyway this is for the abortion mandate:
The administration and abortion advocates insist that Conestoga and Hobby Lobby are about women’s rights, not religious freedom. This claim is strike one against the administration. 
Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, created a “right to privacy” in the matter of contraception, and then eight years later, in Roe v. Wade, extended it to include abortion, even though those activities are not mentioned in the Constitution. Yet the Court never suggested that private citizens could be forced to buy things for other people.
Yup, women's rights are now defined as having other people take care of their medical expenses. Oh feminism, how far you've fallen.

But choices are for us big, government, powerful, intellectual types. Not for you peons, defined as anyone making their own money. So you people get shaken down:
It’s worth noting at this point that HHS regulates these markets in significant ways, especially after the passage of ObamaCare. This wasn’t just a case of working the phones for a charity. This was the Cabinet official with the most impact on these businesses extolling the efforts of a supposedly independent group launched by a close adviser to the President. It doesn’t take much ink to connect those dots, which is why insurers began complaining loudly enough about the pressure for Congress and the media to take notice. 
It was a shakedown, pure and simple, to wring more money and assistance out of industry players in order to bypass Congress on funding operations within the executive branch. That should prompt Congress to demand more answers, and perhaps to cut off even more funding to HHS until they get them.
 Your government is here to help. Or else.

Remember, this is the Affordable Care Act. It's right there in its name: Affordable. And yet...
Obamacare will cost large companies between $4,800 and $5,900 more per employee and add hundreds of millions to their overhead, according to a new survey. 
The American Health Policy Institute conducted a confidential survey of 100 large employers—those with 10,000 or more employees—asking what costs they expect to incur from Obamacare over the next decade. 
Factoring in the health care law’s added mandates, fees, and regulatory burdens, employers anticipate cost hikes between $163 million and $200 million in 2016, a 4.3 percent increase. By 2023, employers will be paying 8.4 percent more than “what they would otherwise be spending” for their employees’ health care. 
In the next 10 years, the total cost of Obamacare to all large American employers is estimated to be from $151 billion to $186 billion, according to the study.
Affordable. Affordable. Affordable.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Show Me The Money

Forgive very dated movie reference. Heritage has come out with their annual report on where the money goes. It's a good read but for reference, let's check out the percentages:

Here's the money for 2012. As you can see, we spent 45% on entitlements. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. All programs going bankrupt and are rife with fraud. Remember, 65 billion lost to fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare alone. 

Here's 2013. Looks like we're paying out more entitlements to entitled whiners. Ok, we put ourselves into this mess, we can't just turn it off overnight. But consider this: Obamacare isn't on this yet. That doesn't start until this year.

National defense, meh. Who cares. We now spend more on all the other entitlements like welfare than we do on defending the nation. Welfare is not in the constitution but defending the country is. 

Read the article, good stuff.

Scott Walker: Soooper Genius.

Front-runnering like a boss.
Scott Walker has a 16 point lead (56-40) among likely voters in his race for governor, according to a poll from Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert’s. Among registered voters, his lead is essentially the same (55-40). 
Let’s assume that Scott Walker is reelected decisively in November. In that event, it’s clear that he will receive a boost among Republicans nationally. 
The buzz among Republican accompanying a big Walker victory would probably dwarf the considerable buzz that followed Chris Christie’s runaway win in New Jersey. Many conservatives had serious doubts (or worse) about the New Jersey governor even when he was riding high. No serious doubts exist for Walker, although most conservatives will want to learn more before embracing him as a presidential candidate.

Ya know why Scott's awesome? Because he's effective. So's Obama, you say? Yes, Obamacare, his economic policy, and his social policies have been effective but the effect is negative. Scott's is positive. He posiffective. I'm coining it. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Section 179 and Why Congress can Eat a Dick

No I didn't say "Obama" because in truth, this is Bush's idiocy as well. And all of congress.

Raise your hand if you know what Section 179 is. Put your hands down, you lying dickbags. I know you don't know because hardly anyone knows what this is. Accountants don't even all know about this. Specifically, it's a tax law governing depreciation and deductibility of large purchases, but colloquially, it's a prime example of our all knowing government thinking they can pull and push levers and buttons and make the economy go.

Section 179 was created in 2003 and it basically said that -- well let me quote from
Section 179 limits for the year 2013 were increased by the 'American Taxpayer Relief Act' which allows businesses to write-off up to $500,000 of qualified capital expenditures subject to a dollar-for-dollar phase-out once these expenditures exceed $2,000,000 in the 2013 tax year. 
Bonus Depreciation was also reinstated to 50% by the 'American Taxpayer Relief Act' which allows larger businesses that exceed the $2,000,000 cap to write-off 50% of qualified assets using first year Bonus Depreciation. Also, small businesses that are not profitable in 2013 can use 50% Bonus Depreciation (on new equipment only) and carry-forward the loss to future profitable years. 
This should mean a substantial boost to your bottom line this year. But, to get the deduction for tax year 2013, you have to act this year, as once the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2013; Section 179 can't increase your 2013 profits anymore.
This deduction has been dicked around with for over 10 years and especially in the last 7. Do a google search for "Section 179 Deduction" under news and you'll come up with a piddly 438 news stories on this. In contrast "Game of Thrones" has about 301,000,000 results. So informing the public on this hasn't exactly been job numero uno of congress or the dilweeds at MSNBC. As a result, the so-called stimulus hasn't stimulated jack squat.

But even more ridiculous is that every year congress keeps playing around with the numbers on this and seem to think that if they make it big, then everyone will run out an buy stuff and that will make the economy go. Which may or may not work for one year but this is incredible short-sighted.

Businesses invest in equipment because there is a return on that investment over the life of that equipment. Taxes do figure into their decision to but it is not a primary motivator. If it was, then McDonalds would buy bulldozers for the tax write offs.

What the big problem here is congress's incredibly inflated opinion of themselves and their role in the economy. These people believe that the businesses people create and run are there to please the government and therefore all the government has to do is pull a lever here or push a button there and blammo! Instant awesome economy. The fact that this thinking keeps failing over and over again does nothing to deter them. Obama is the face of this hubris but it's all the government. People get into government and with the power of regulation begin to believe that the role of government is to control businesses.

Why? A steady diet of pop-culture showing every businessman as a greedy, profit hungry asshole who would sell out his own grandmother if it meant pleasing the stockholders hasn't helped. Add in an MCI/Worldcom and an Enron for the leftist press to completely over cover and you got a recipe for a primo poisoned well.

Recently I was able to attend a symposium where Cindy Olsen was the keynote speaker. Cindy, as you may or may not recall, was a key player at Enron and was the first to testify. What she said was a bit eye opening. Enron was not a monolithic corporation full of Dick Joneses using people for ED-209 tests. They in fact were an incredibly innovative company that espoused ethics and integrity. Ken Lay was not a monster, but he was incredibly naive to what was happening in his company. He did not act in the best interests of the company and let others around destroy it. In that, he was very complicit.

Cindy's talk was all about ethics in business and how important it is. The real takeaway for me was that if a company wants to be profitable, it had better be ethical. In fact, companies that are ethical tend to be more profitable.

This is where the arrogance of the government comes into play. You get a bunch of leftists raised on a steady diet of "corporations are bad" and "Profit is Evil." They begin making all these stupid rules that businesses struggle to try to figure out, at a great cost to them. Cost they have to pay even though they've done nothing wrong. Then when the economy grows sluggish thanks to all the onerous rules, the government pulls a stimulus lever like that will make everything ok.

Stimulus like Section 179 are like salt and pepper to a meal. You have to make a good meal and all the salt and pepper in the world can't substitute for real food. Congress needs to stop with all this overly complicated crap and let businesses do what they do best.

And no, I'm not saying there should be no laws, I'm saying that stupid short sighted stimulus laws to deal with an overly complicated tax system that does nothing but get politicians re-elected need to go.

By the way, Section 179 was raised to 500,000 in 2012 and 2013. This year it's 25,000. Good luck getting anyone to buy anything this year.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who's out there?

Comment below! I'd like to see who's a part of this wonderful community. A complete lack of comments will destroy my self-esteem and I will have to throw myself out a window. Probably a first floor window, I don't want to miss "Game of Thrones" this weekend.

The New Left: Questioning Persecution is actually a form of Persecution

Wait... what?

This is pretty much the equivalent of saying "I was just holding out my fist and this crazy lunatic rammed his face into it. 80 or 90 times."

Old and busted: The journalist as an ever crusading knight fighting for the freedom of the average citizen against an overreaching government drunk on power.

New hotness: TV show personalities selling out the people for a chance to be invited to all the right parties that the average scruffy viewer will never attend, thank god.

Kathleen Sebelius Allows Door to hit her on the Butt on the Way Out, Gets Accenture to Upgrade Door

Well she's out.
Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president’s legacy…
On behalf of all Kansans, I apologize for foisting this incompetent boob on the country. She's the most damaging Kansan to come along since Zach Snyder's Superman.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Movie Review Break: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

So I went and saw this one this weekend and I went into it with high expectations. After all, I have a pretty soft spot in my heart for the Marvel Universe series of movies. They've done an excellent job and not one of their movies ever can be considered "unwatchable." While I will say the quality has been uneven, the vast majority have been really entertaining.

The reviews on this one have been rapturous, other than a few killjoys who don't like anything. For the most part, I have to agree. I was very entertained and while the movie has some plot holes/WTFs that don't bear scrutiny on closer inspection, they really don't take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie.

Spoilers ahead so if you don't want to know, don't read.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a pretty brisk, well done, political thriller with a side helping of awesome ridiculousness on the side. Basically it's Nick Fury who stumbles on to a problem that gets him targeted and killed and this sends Cap and Black Widow out to find out what it is. On the way, the pick up Sam Wilson a.k.a. "Falcon" to help. They figure it out, save the day, and destroy SHIELD in the process.


So we have consequences, a rather simple plot with some twists and turns as you go along to keep it very interesting and some confusion (until about 2/3 into it) about who the bad guys are. I was intrigued the whole time and even though I was pretty sure Robert Redford was the bad guy, I wasn't completely sure as they played some effective twists to make me question that assumption. Also, Redford's motives aren't all that evil and somewhat understandable, given the state of the Marvel Universe as we know it.

Cap starts out a man adjusting to the world he finds himself in but still steadfast in his ideals. He is not naive and not blindly patriotic but he is fundamentally decent and that is a huge breath of fresh air in this angsty, dark, brooding, dark knight-esque atmosphere we see most studios turning heroes into. I mean, did we need the The Dark Knight of Steel? Steve is not conflicted but he doesn't know what's what because he doesn't have all the information he needs to make decisions. He naturally questions what's right and wrong anymore but not because he doesn't know, but because everyone is lying to him. Once he figures out the truth of things, he knows what to do.

This is a big difference in most of the heroes these days because they are always questioning themselves. Batman, Superman, Wolverine, etc. They are always looking in. Steve was different because he knows at his core what is right and what is wrong, it's the world that's changed and he's adjusting to make the decisions. It's a subtle difference but it is there and I appreciated it.

Nick Fury as a character fares pretty well here too. He is also fundamentally decent but is arrogant, distrustful, and too dependent on the apparatus he has helped create. He's given a dose of reality and realizes how something so big can be easily corrupted.

Here's where the story gets really interesting to me. For the left, it may seem like an anthem against drone attacks and how we enforce our will against other countries. For the right, it may seem like a warning against entrenched bureaucracies, and the dangers of corruption. I liked that it really wasn't heavy handed either way in its message. The methods used in the movie seemed a little far-fetched but then this is a universe where Norse gods exist and men can turn into giant green rage monsters so what the heck.

See Nick has been working on a plan to put a trio of new helicarriers into air along with Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).  They need to be linked together for some reason to find threats using the internet metadata(?) and then they can eliminate the threats because the helicarriers are absurdly overarmed gunships. This is the awesome ridiculousness.

Cap and Widow went on a mission to rescue hostages however Widow's mission was to retrieve data on the ship the hostages were held. Cap wasn't in the know and was pretty pissed. When he confronts Nick about secrets, Nick shows him the helicarriers. Cap is understandably skeptical of this.

When Nick's security is compromised, he starts sniffing around and gets attacked by the Winter Soldier and a group of thugs pretending to be cops. It's a pretty good scene though I wasn't sure why the Winter Soldier held back for so long other than to show us how bad ass Nick Fury is. End result is Nick gets injured and escapes to Cap's apartment where he gives Cap the USB drive that holds the data that was on the boat. He then dies.

Yeah, I didn't buy that either. Of course he pops back up. Since we know Sam Jackson is contracted to do at least 46 more of these movies.

Cap and Widow figure out where the data came from which leads them back to the very training base Cap was at in the first movie and where apparently SHIELD started. I thought that was a nice touch. They find an underground bunker and a pile of old computers from the 70's or early 80's. But a modern USB hub is connected to them. They plug in the drive and the computers come to life. I mean literally. It appears Armin Zola from the last movie has digitized himself and is living in these old computers. Or on the drive? Or the drive started him up? I'm not sure if the bad guys tried to get him off the computers or if he was always there.... it's a little unclear.

Point is: Hail Hydra!

Yeah, turns out that Hydra has been infiltrating SHIELD and the government for decades. In a nice touch, Senator Gary Shandling, Head of the Ways and Douchebag committee from Iron Man 2 turns out to be a Hydra agent. I suppose some may complain "Can't it just be that he's a douche? Does everyone have to be on the wrong side?" But I kinda liked it.

So Zola pretty much outlines it, while contacting Hydra to have the base bunker bombed. They escape, head out to find Fury (see? told ya.) alive. They get Falcon and Maria Hill to help and come up with a plan to take down the helicarriers.

To do this, they also have to demolish SHIELD since it's too corrupted with Hydra now. Long story short, there is no SHIELD or Hydra by the end.

The Winter Soldier is really a sub-plot and didn't have to be there but was a nice addition to add to the texture of the movie. So big fight, lots of action, carriers crash, boom boom, good guys win. Pretty satisfying.

Some points though:

When Fury and Widow confront Pierce, they decide to release all of SHIELD's information, which includes all of Hydra's, on to the internet. Those of you who work in IT would know that that would be petabytes of information. I mean sifting through all that would take years. Hell, we still don't know what's in Obamacare even though we passed it, right Nancy?

So once they release it (how? Open the firewall? Put it in dropbox? Had a website ready? I don't know) Widow says "It's out! And it's trending!" Sort of funny I guess but royally stupid. When Hollywood writes a line about computers that sounds like they just heard cool words and puts them in the script, it really stands out to me. Like in Iron Man 2, when Whiplash typed some nonsense and started accessing the drones and Sam Rockwell commented "whoa, just got right through that firewall there..." well, Marvel... hire a tech consultant, please? Know your audience, half of it is tech savvy. Shit like that stands out. (There was no firewall, he maybe broke through some kind of authentication, and since all of that is most likely custom made, there was no way Whiplash could do that just because he's evil.)

This is really a minor point though. The Hydra plan bugged me a bit. So they realized from WWII that if you try to take freedom by force, free people will fight back. But if they could get people to feel unsafe, then people would willingly surrender their freedom for that safety. And the helicarriers would make people feel safe. Ok I can buy that. There is precedent going on right now for that. There are different kinds of things however that people define as "safe." The libs want to make things safe domestically by taking away things like smoking, gun free zones, etc. Conservatives are more about using the military to deal with foreign threats to feel safe. The left just wants to appease.

But then the Helicarriers used the internet and metadata to somehow predict which people are going to be most likely to fight and then just mows them down. Immediately. Like 2 million of them in the first salvo. This seemed very unsafe to me? I know we've taken out one or two Americans that work for the taliban or al-queda without trial and I think that's where they were going with that? But mowing down 2 million people along the eastern seaboard is not exactly the same thing. It seemed like Hydra was doing exactly what they learned in WWII wouldn't work. I figured they would take out a few terrorists in Pakistan, expand out to maybe Russia or Europe and creep up until they finally started taking out "threats" in the US. That would have made more sense but day 1? Mow down 2 million US citizens immediately? Seems a little doomed to fail in the long run. Thor may have been dealing with dark elves at the time but he probably would've taken those carriers down pretty quick after that. Hulk would've done the rest. Not a smart plan.

But comic book movie. The narrative and what Cap was trying to stop was good enough. I never was angry or bored and even though a few things don't hold up under a little scrutiny, it in no way stopped my enjoyment of the movie. Evans pretty much owns the role, Falcon was a nice addition, and I'm ready to see a Black Widow movie now. Too bad Robert Redford bought it but he is 134 years old.

I was definitely interested in the intrigue and mystery. Cap is in street clothes for a good portion of the movie and that added to realism, in the sense that we didn't have him out in a silly costume during these moments when he's on the run. When he did put on the costume, it was a good moment. (Though, enough with the Stan Lee cameos.) Shaky cam can go but at no time did I not know what was going on and why. The action is great. (I did get the feeling Falcon has been doing his thing for quite a while, but wasn't Iron Man the first that could fly? It's been 6 years, maybe he gave some of that tech to the government, but in Iron Man 2, he wouldn't give up any of his tech. Wasn't he in a big senate hearing telling.. ahh fuck it.)

Overall, it's one of the best of the Marvel movies and well worth your time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obama Proclaims Himself THE April Fool

Well that's how I read it anyway.
Pres. Obama has proclaimed April "National Financial Capability Month" and called on Americans to educate themselves about how to "avoid scams, spot misleading information, and decipher complex paperwork" - like those of Obamacare. 
On the day of the Obamacare enrollment deadline, Pres. Obama reminded Americans of the importance of being able to spot and avoid dishonest marketing tactics - and offered help:
 "In today's economy, financial capability is essential for some of life's biggest transitions -- paying for college, buying a home, saving for retirement. A solid understanding of the marketplace makes it easier to avoid scams, spot misleading information, and decipher complex paperwork. For free resources on managing money and making the best decisions for you, visit and, or call 1-888-MyMoney." 
Sometimes the jokes are just too obvious.