Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The 2010 film "Legion", or "Welcome to the Irony-verse"

I saw "Legion" last weekend and it is ridiculously bad. The most interesting thing about the film is that nearly all of the main characters suffer highly ironic deaths.
  • The young black man trying to win custody of his child in a divorce proceedings is killed by an angel-possessed child.

  • The owner of the diner is killed when he blows the diner up to try and kill an angel.

  • The wealthy, yuppy mother dies immediately after trying to "sell out" the newly born child.

  • The bitter, yuppy father is killed and then his body is filled with acid

  • The exhibitionist daughter of the yuppy couple is killed off-screen in a mundane car crash.

  • The military veteran is killed when he gets hit in the back with acid, causing his spine to disintegrate

  • The archangel Michael does more than any other being on Earth to thwart God's plans, and he turns out to be the only being that God brings back to life.

The old joke about Stephen King is that all of his books had the same basic plot: X gets possessed and tries to kill people. In "Cujo", X is the dog. In "The Shining", X is the house. In "Legion", X is the 1950s: it's iconic monsters are an angel-possessed granny, an angel-possessed "ice cream man", and an angel-possessed child (who happens to look just like the Chucky doll from the "Chucky" films).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

President Obama's discretionary spending freeze will only affect Republicans.

President Obama is still playing games with the American economy. His plan for a commission that will place mandatory votes on spending cuts before Congress will only go into effect after November:
Trying to win the votes of fiscal moderates, President Barack Obama formally endorsed legislation Saturday creating an independent commission with the power to force Congress to vote on major deficit reduction steps this year, after the November elections.

Obama’s statement gives new momentum to efforts in the Senate now to attach such legislation this coming week to a pending debt ceiling bill. But the endorsement comes so late that it risks being seen as just a ploy to win over swing Democratic senators whose votes the White House needs to lift the federal debt ceiling.
Since the Republicans are widely expected to make massive gains and November and possibly win back one or both houses of Congress this November, this proposed commission is obviously a scam. Call it the standing committee to humiliate Republicans.

It's almost certainly unconstitutional as well. How can a standing committee force Congress to vote on anything?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

President Obama is out of touch with reality.

For a good laugh, read this article about how President Obama -- the greatest deficit spender in the history of the American Presidency -- wants to freeze discretionary spending:
There is a “fighting chance” President Barack Obama will propose a freeze in most discretionary spending by the federal government in his State of the Union speech next week, Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said

“The president can say in this State of the Union address, ‘I’m going to include in my budget a freeze on discretionary spending, I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I’m going to use my veto pen to enforce that,’” Bayh said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.
First, President Obama has identified out-of-control health care spending as the principle budget problem affecting the federal government. Second, President Obama's plan for reigning-in health care spending involves massively increasing the amount of money that will be spend on health care. Third, the reason why discretionary spending is such a major problem that President Obama must now address is because President Obama's first major action as president was to massively increase discretionary spending. Fourth, if President Obama wasn't the imcompetent idiot that he is, he'd realize that building a Democratic Party majority for spending restraint is utterly impossible in the modern era.

There is really only one explanation for President Obama's call for a discretionary spending freeze: the Democratic Congress believes that Obamacare will give them all of the opportunities for pork, graft, and bribery that they will ever need to run the government.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Please do not vote for California Democrats ever again because they are all totally bats**t insane.

Last year, the state of California had a $20 billion budget shortfall that required a mixture of tax and fee increases and painfull budget cuts to make up. Despite all this, the state of California will have a $20 billion budget shortfall again this year. Democrats across the state have been loudly complaining that state government is broken, that the state's taxation system is totally inadequate for funding its current budgetary problems, that only a complete overhaul of the state's revenue-producing system -- including repeal of proposition 13 -- can solve California's budget woes.

So, how are California Democrats planning to fix the economic havoc dragging the state into chaos? The current plan is to start by tripling the state budget overnight with absolutely no idea for how to pay for it. Seriously:
A key legislative committee in California revived a bill Thursday to create a government-run health care system in the nation's most populous state, two days after Massachusetts elected a senator who opposes the president's national health care plan.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released the bill for a vote by the full Senate next week. The legislation had been held over from last year because of the state's ongoing budget crisis.

Creating a single-payer system would cost California an estimated $210 billion in its first year. That's roughly double the size of the total state budget, but about what the state and federal government and residents cumulatively spend now on California health care, said Sen. Mark Leno.
This plan is so far beyond the boundaries of reality that the Democrats are planning to spend $1 million a year just for paying people to work out a way to pay for this damn thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The World Turned Upside Down

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The most transparent Congress ever

When Nancy Pelosi promised the most transparent Congress in American history, people took this to mean that she would open political discussion and dealmaking to public inspection. This was certainly the impression that C-SPAN received:
The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.

C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb wrote to leaders in the House and Senate Dec. 30 urging them to open "all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings," to televised coverage on his network.

"The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of the sessions LIVE and in their entirety," he wrote.
Nancy Pelosi will, of course, not agree to C-SPAN's request. Instead she is going to negotiate the health care bill's final provisions in the smoke-filled back rooms of the capital and then have her brain-dead Democratic caucus rubber-stamp the final draft with no debate. "Transparency" to Nancy Pelosi apparently means "I shouldn't have to ask a congressman what his preferred bribe is."

Let the poison in the TARDIS hatch out.

Russell T. Davies ended his tenure as executive producer of "Doctor Who" at the end of 2009. Davies deserves a lot of credit for successfully bringing the show back to life, but his tenure on "Doctor Who" will be notorious for off-screen politics sneaking their way into the on-screen story.

The two-part story arc that represents Davies' final episodes, titled "The End of Time", is a rather blatant example of Davies deciding to eat his successor's lunch. Like a lame-duck American president desperately trying to put as much of the government off-limits to the opposition party as possible, Davies used "The End of Time" as an eleventh-hour "info dump" to define the new show's biggest lacuna: the fate of the Time Lords. The sheer magnitude of the "info dump" is so stunning in its scope that even is essentially conceeding that only a theological explanation is possible:
Let's see if we can't put all of this together. There's an entire race whose development is being massively accelerated, perhaps with the purpose of making the Ood the new Time Lords. (Even if that's too much of a stretch, they clearly have an incredibly strong connection to time, perhaps second only to that of the Doctor.) There's an unimportant old man whose life keeps intersecting with the Doctor's in ways that far too improbable to be the result of mere coincidence. There's a mysterious but benevolent woman in completely white clothing that keeps showing up to steer events towards the best possible conclusion for the Doctor and, indeed, all existence. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is all the work of the White Guardian.

For those who haven't memorized every detail of the classic series, the White Guardian was an almost omnipotent figure who first appeared in Tom Baker's fifth season on Doctor Who.
Steven Moffat will get to have a little fun creating new mythology for "Doctor Who" despite the invisible hand of Davies keeping a grip on the overall back-story. In the story "The Waters of Mars" -- which immediately preceeds "The End of Time" -- Davies has the Doctor decide to become a Time Meddler. In "Doctor Who" mythology, a Time Meddler is someone who makes changes to the established timeline of events. In meta-fictional terms, a Time Meddler is a character that gives its authors an excuse to ignore continuity, which is to say that as long as Moffat decides to play in his little sandbox of a show, he has a free hand to do what he likes.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Terrorist Laundering

Everybody knows that President Obama has a major problem with his plan to close the Guantanamo prison. Paradoxically, the increased terrorist activity in Yemen gives Obama way of squaring the circle, at least as far as the Yemeni terrorists at Guantanamo is concerned.

Step 1: Make sure that Yemen won't torture any terrorists being held in custody, so detainees held at Guantanamo can be sent there under U.S. law.

Step 2: Send Yemeni terrorists back to Yemen. If Yemen keeps them under lock and key, then bingo, one step closer to closing Guantanamo.

Step 3: Assume that Yemen is basically a revolving door that puts these terrorists back into the jihad. If they get recaptured by the United States, then President Obama can send them straight into the civilian court system. The terrorists have been successfully "laundered" out of Guantanamo.

Step 4: President Obama gets to write condolence letters and authorize compensatory payouts for any Americans who died because of step 3.

Terrorist laundering is a neat trick, which is why President Obama is going to continue shipping terrorist to Yemen despite bipartisan opposition.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The end of the David Tennant era

David Tennant has finally passed on the role of the Doctor. Here are 3 things that I liked about David Tennant's tenure with "Doctor Who".

  • David Tennant is not Matt Smith.
    Somebody at the BBC was put in charge of analyzing "Doctor Who" in order to determine what to look for in David Tennant's successor as the Doctor. That somebody concluded that the new "Doctor Who" was missing an essential element of the original series: Turlough! To avoid hot-linking, here's an image of Matt Smith as the Doctor to compare to a similar image of the Fifth Doctor's companion Turlough. You be the judge.

  • David Tennant is a good actor for the role of the Doctor.
    David Tennant isn't the world's greatest actor, but he is pretty good by "Doctor Who" standards. For example, Tom Baker has one setting: the Doctor. Christoper Eccleston has two: happy Doctor and stern Doctor. David Tennant's Doctor was somewhat more protean than his predecessors, generally ranging between the poles of the Doctor as pick-up artist (e.g. "Voyage of the Damned"), Doctor as Sinatra-esqe loner (the very end of "The Waters of Mars", for example), or Doctor as scruffy post-doc as the plot demanded.

  • "Blink"
    David Tennant's best episode as the Doctor and one of the best "Doctor Who" episodes ever filmed.