Sunday, January 31, 2010

Netflix Can Yield Some Surprises

Take Ink, for example.

A weird, out-of-sequence story of either a man's fall from grace (with possible redemption,) or a young girl who is stolen by a monster, told in a visual style that you will find arresting and interesting, or irritating and headache-causing, in the same mold as The Matrix or The Cell. Not a kid's movie, lots of NSFW language. This movie was not released by a big studio, and if not for Netflix I would never have seen it. FWIW, I gave it a high rating.
Although it won't help much, here's the trailer:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evaluating Obama's First Year

This analysis isn't even partisan. With a Democrat Congress -- made up of a bulletproof Demcorat Senate and a solid majority in the House, Obama has been unable to get his healthcare legislation passed. The Democrat cap and trade legislation stalled. These were key issues for the Obama White House, and Republicans could do nothing to stop them.
Given these failures, plus the weakened Democrat party (illustrated by Scott Brown's victory in solidly-blue Massachusetts,) Obama's plummeting approval rating -- a historic drop for a President's first year -- and Obama's inability to get international cooperation for any of his foreign policy plans, you can only call his first year a dismal failure....far below the "solid B+" that he gave himself.

Want to make a Liberal crazy(er)?

Tell him that according to a recent poll, Fox News is the most trusted news network in America.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Will's Wisdom

Who knew the Fresh Prince was so deep?  Even Carlton would be impressed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Demotivator - Sunday, January 24, 2010

Patent issued for "Hypodermic Syringe and Attachments Thereto Pleasing to Children", which allows doctors to conceal needles inside cute bunnies. (1967)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

527s, Corporations & You

Democrats, including Barack Obama, are furious over the recent Supreme Court ruling that removes limits on how, and how much, corporations can legally spend on advocacy advertising during elections. "We don't need to give any more voice to the powerful interests that already drown out the voices of everyday Americans," Obama said Saturday. Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to find ways around the Supreme Court so that they can restrict what corporations can and can't do.

In the last several national elections, 527 groups have had the biggest impact on third-party (not connected to the candidate's campaign) spending. The "Swift Boat" 527 was a major influence on the national conversation during the 2004 Presidential election between President Bush and John Kerry.

Interestingly, there seems to be a reason why Democrats are so up in arms about the Supreme Court ruling. The website Open Secrets has a page devoted to political expenditures by 527s during the last few election cycles. They've even got the information broken down into handy categories. For example, here is the information on "Democrat/Liberal" 527s:

Now, here's the information for "Republican/Conservative" 527s:

Spending really hasn't gotten started on the 2010 cycle yet. Comparing the three previous election cycles, Liberal 527s, in their slowest year, spent over $64 million more than Conservative 527s did in their most active year. In the three cycles, Liberal 527s outspent their Conservative counterparts by over $437 million dollars!

Since 77% of investors see Barack Obama as anti-business, is it any wonder that he and other Democrats would see corporations as a threat? Given how heavily 527 spending favors Democrats, corporate advocacy would mean a more level playing field when it comes to third-party spending during elections. Democrats are not against "powerful interests" -- only against those who don't support them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Didn't Know They Were Still Around

Associated Press: Air America Radio closing, filing for bankruptcy

"LOS ANGELES – Air America Radio, a radio network that was launched in 2004 as a liberal alternative to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators, on Thursday shut down abruptly due to financial woes."

Happy trails, Air America. We hardly knew ye.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Question About Healthcare Legislation

I don't take credit for this one, I heard it from someone else.

"If the purpose of healthcare legislation is to insure those who are currently without insurance, why do we need a trillion dollar, 2,000 page bill, that leaves 24 million Americans still uninsured?"

AP: GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate seat in epic upset

With a Republican having won the important 41st Senate seat, making possible Republican filibusters to block Democrat legislation, the Democrats have several crafty maneuvers they can use to pass healthcare. None of them are ethical; all of them reflect massive arrogance. But since when has that stopped these guys?

1. They can hurry through the vote before Brown takes over the Senate seat. The House of Representatives can be pressured to accept the Senate vesion of healthcare legislation -- quickly. Democrats have been meeting in secret with the Obama White House (no C-Span cameras covering these meetings) and a vote may come as early as Saturday, January 23.
2. They delay Brown's seating by having the Massachusetts Secretary of State (a Democrat) delay his confirmation, or the Democrat Senate leaders can take their time seating him. This gives them time to make more deals.
3. Democrats can use the power of reconciliation, a maneuver in the Senate where they tie legislation to the budget, which limits debate and allows passage with only 51 votes. The House has a similar rule, but it is much easier to carry out through majority leadership strongarming.

Obviously, classifying healthcare legislation as a "budget" item stretches incredulity, but nothing is out of the question anymore when it comes to Obama and the Democrats in charge of Congress. However, the victory of a Republican in a dark blue state reinvigorates the Republican party, which was pronounced DOA after Obama's victory last year.

Demotivator - Sunday, January 17, 2010

Benjamin Franklin is born; inventor writer, organizaer, activist, revolutionary, geek. (1706)

(Yes, I know it's late. The scheduler function didn't work. So sue me.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Single Ladies (in Mayberry) & Other Mashups

mashup (māsh'ŭp') n. A combination of multiple sources of video and/or audio —which usually have no relation with each other—into a derivative work, often lampooning its component sources or another text.

This is the first song I ever heard under the description "mashup."

Here's one for the B-boomers.

Ever wonder how Kubrick's The Shining could have gone?

Here's another version of Toy Story.

And one that completely boggles me -- Must Love Jaws.

And finally -- a Titanic movie guys can get into. I give you Titanic Two: The Surface.

(Edit: After I posted this, I found one more, a work of genius. Something for my comic book geek friends. Toy Story 2 meets The Dark Knight.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More Evidence That AGW* is Bunk

* AGW = Anthropogenic ("manmade") Global Warming

Britain's David Rose, writing in the UK Daily Mail ("The mini Ice Age starts here") points out several factors disputing the global warming alarmists's arguments. One passage that destroys a cherished alarmist claim -- that Arctic ice will be gone by 2013 -- bears emphasis:

"According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 – and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this."

Contrary to what Al Gore and others would have us believe, the science is definitely not settled.

Demotivator - Thursday, January 14, 2010

* Huygens probe lands on Saturn's moon Titan, near the Xanadu region. Olivia Newton-John nowhere to be found. (2005)

Democrats Play Rough

An interesting story is developing in Massachusetts. The state is holding a special election to choose a US Senator to fill an open spot, one currently held by a filler. It's a little complex, so here is a list of the characters:

Teddy Kennedy, notorious US Senator (D-Massachusetts). Died in 2009 after serving in the Senate for 46 years.
* Paul G. Kirk, Jr., (D). appointed to fill the vacant seat left by Kennedy's death. His appointment was made when the Massachusetts legislature changed its own state law so the governor could appoint a Democrat quickly in order to pass Obama's healthcare legislation. Kirk is irrelevant to the story, but he's the one being replaced with the election.
Martha Coakley, (D). Massachusetts state attorney general. The Democrat candidate for the senate seat.
Scott Brown, (R). Massachusetts state senator. The Republican candidate for the senate seat. Young, smart, attractive and charismatic, he is making a strong showing, something Democrats weren't prepared for. Kennedy's seat was supposed to be a Democrat legacy.
Michael Meehan (D). A long-time Democrat political "operative" and Obama appointee. Sent to Boston by the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee to help Coakley, who is having unxpected trouble winning the election.
John McCormack. A deputy online editor for the conservative publication The Weekly Standard, covering the Massachusetts senate race.

Watch Brown perform in this clip from their debate and you'll see why Democrats are ready to scream.

Worried about losing the election, and with it the super-majority they enjoy in the Senate (which allows them to ram through whatever legislation they want,) Democrats are not afraid to use violence when necessary.

McCormack, according to his own account, asked some uncomfortable questions of Democrat Coakley at a fundraiser. She brushed him off, and as he followed her down a sidewalk (along with other reporters,) Meehan knocked him down. Meehan also prevented McCormack from approaching Coakley.

The election is on January 19. This story has drawn national attention, so it may be a harbinger of the bad days ahead for Democrats. Good news at last.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Internet's a Small Place

So my daughter comes in yesterday and says "Dad, you have to watch this video." We go to YouTube and there's a video of a guy using sign language (ASL) to sing along with a song. Actually, he choreographed ASL and turned it all into a sort of dance. The young man, Stephen Torrence, is very talented and charismatic. I made the comment to her that he really had something, and likely could be very successful if he turned to show business.

Another entertaining online video. No big deal, right? Except we Googled his name, and discover that he's attending Texas Tech. He wasn't a genius 12-year-old from South Korea or a Romanian kung fu expert singing Numa Numa. He's local (at least until he graduates.)

Here's one of the many videos Stephen Torrence has online. See if you don't feel better after watching it:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Imagine If a Republican Had Said It

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Saturday for what he called "a poor choice of words." What were the words? And why was Reid apologizing?

In their new book Game Change, about the 2008 Presidential campaign, Time magazine reporter Mark Halperin and New York magazine writer John Heileman quote Harry Reid as calling Barack Obama a "light-skinned" black man "with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

While you would imagine a white politician would be driven from office, tarred and feathered, and drawn and quartered when exposed publicly for making such a remark, Reid seems to be okay because a) he's a Democrat; and b) Obama "accepted Reid's apology" (on behalf, presumably, of any and all other black people who might be offended.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An Interesting Take on Obama's Appeal to Voters

Glenn Reynolds, on Instapundit, recently offered an interesting take on those who voted for Obama: "I think Obama's 'charisma' was based on voter narcissism—people excited not just about electing a black president, but about themselves, voting for a black president. Now that's over, and they're stuck just with him, and emptied of their own narcissism there's not much there to fill out the suit."

He goes on to quote
Ann Althouse: "I think what Obama seems to have become, he always was.”

Monday, January 04, 2010

Rodin's Thinker

Is it just me, or is the pose of Auguste Rodin's sculpture, Le Penseur (The Thinker,) with the right elbow on the left knee, kind of awkward for someone with a lot on his mind?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Versions: Roll Over Beethoven

One of my many weaknesses is music videos. I enjoy watching videos of my favorite often-obscure songs online , occasionally catching some unknown version by another performer, or even a talented amateur. The one song that defines the original rock and roll is Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." Berry wrote the song in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Chuck wanted to play modern "rhythm and blues." The song was released in 1956 by Chess Records.

Here's the man himself.

Another popular version was recorded by the Beatles in 1963 for their second British album, With the Beatles.

The version that I remember enjoying most as a teenager was by ELO in 1973. Besides the great version of the song, I love Jeff Lynne's vocals.

Of course, there are also terrible versions of Chuck Berry's song out there. I understand poor amateur performances -- enthusiasm and energy make them at least sympathetic. But how do you forgive professional, reasonably talented performers who ruin the song? Answer: you don't.

Obama Overrides the Constitution

Several days ago, Barack Obama issued an executive order allowing an international police agency to operate with unlimited power within the United States, without regard to the US Constitution.

You all know about diplomatic immunity, right? We see it in the movies -- a foreign diplomat can pretty much get away with any crime, because his property can not be seized or searched, and diplomats are subject to a lot of other extra protections under the law. This immunity is part of Constitutional law, enacted by Congress, and extended to foreign governments and certain international organizations. Organizations are covered in particular by the
International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA) passed in 1945.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12425 adding Interpol, the international police agency, to the list of organizations covered under the IOIA. However, his order excepted certain aspects of the legislation, specifically those regarding search and seizure. Interpol, under Reagan's order, was subject to having all of its records, property, baggage, communications, etc. searched by US police agencies. Citizens could also petition for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

On December 16, 2009, Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13524, amending President Reagan's EO, and removing the exceptions. Interpol can now collect information, evidence or whatever else it wants, and our own agencies can not access that evidence or information. If Interpol prosecutes an American citizen -- even on America soil -- that citizen will not have the ability to see the evidence used for that prosecution, a protection guaranteed citizens by the US Constitution. Because of Obama's order, an international police agency has more authority than the FBI, more authority than the police, more authority than the US Constitution.

By the way, Interpol operates within our own Justice Department, staffed by American citizens. More on this in a moment.

The big question we need to ask ourselves is, why? What motivation could Obama have to give an international police force that kind of authority? What prompted him to amend a working situation that has been in existence for more than a quarter of a century?

In 2008, Obama proposed a "civilian national security force." Many people wondered: Was Obama talking about a police state? A massive government body "just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the military, but without consitutional restraints? That is effectively what Obama has done with the Executive Order that he issued without fanfare in December. American citizens working for Interpol within our own Justice Department now have more police authority than any other agency. They are literally above the law.


Demotivator - Sunday, January 3, 2010

* Computer named "Man of the Year" in Time Magazine. (1983)

* It's also Festival of Sleep Day!

Friday, January 01, 2010

About Mike Leach...

There is plenty of ambiguity regarding exactly why former Texas Tech football head coach Mike Leach was fired. Tech officials and their apologists claim Leach "abused' the player. Leach claims he just told the trainers to "find someplace dark" for the player to be put; "one place was just as good as another," said Leach.

With the release of e-mails among Tech administration officials regarding Leach's contract negotiations in 2008, the likely motivation for the firing begins to appear. The negotiations had been tense, with Leach's agent asking for more than the administration wanted to pay. The negotiations apparently turned nasty. In an e-mail dated January 9, 2009, from athletic booster Jim Sowell to Chancellor Kent Hance, Sowell made the following statement:

"I hope he [Leach] doesn't sign, that gives us a full year to find another coach after we fire him after next season...."

Although I could be wrong, it looks as though Tech administration had Leach's termination planned for almost a year prior to its execution.