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Friday, July 31, 2009

My Budget Cut Proposal: NPR

National Public Radio. What a joke. I posted here a while back that I had decided to change the radio station I wake up to in the morning. Somehow I ended up on the local NPR FM station. I had always heard that NPR was a pit of liberal talking points and bias but, since I had never listened myself, I had no personal opinion.

I do now.

It is absolutely insane how biased NPR really is. First of all I have a question? Do you have be 70 years old to be on the air for NPR? I don't mean to get ageist (I routinely speak out against ageism), but seriously, all of the anchors on there sound like they should be enjoying retirement. What is really surprising though is that it doesn't appear that there is a single moderate or conservative amongst them!

Let's talk about this morning for instance. It was all Obama's health care all the time. NPR managed to find the one small business owner that thinks Obamacare is actually a good idea. So they spent 10 minutes pimping her and her business. It was some coffee shop. I refuse to give this business any more free advertising so I won't mention the name or the location.

So this woman is going on about how expensive it is to provide health insurance for her employees. And how she is supporting Obamacare since she feels a public option will lower prices. HUH? And this woman runs a business? All projections are that this plan will increase costs, but when have liberals ever let facts get in the way of their beliefs.

Now I know a lot of people that run small businesses, including the person I routinely say "yes dear" to. 99.99999% of the small business owners I know are firmly against Obamacare. (Most of them are firmly against Obama but that is another matter.) NPR goes and finds one small business owner (this idiot is even putting "Health Care Now" on their coffee cups with numbers of their local representatives so customers can call and support Obamacare) and tries to make it seem as if she is representative of the majority of small business owners.

When NPR finally moved on from their full Obamacare lovefest, they went on to a story about how Lou Dobbs is killing CNN with his "where is the birth certificate" campaign. Of course the story starts with a line like this: "CNN has always positioned itself as sticking to the facts. Trying to position itself between MSNBC on the left and Fox News on the right." Talk about opinionated reporting. Of course what do you expect from a bunch of liberals? They make CNN unbiased, position Fox News as conservative, and they sacrifice MSNBC in an effort to appear unbiased themselves. Please.

They then take Lou Dobbs to task for daring to ask Obama for a real birth certificate since "every one knows he was born in Hawaii anyway". Excuse me NPR, not all of us know that and if it is such a fact then why can't Obama just provide his original birth certificate and then we can all move on with our lives? NPR never questioned that, they were too busy saying that Dobbs is an idiot and, basically, that CNN should fire him to save face. Please.

That was followed by a report on SCOTUS appointee Sonia Sotomayer and how voting against her confirmation was going to hurt Republicans. The report was so biased and was predicated on the "fact" that Republicans are all about white males. They gleefully pointed out that voting against a racist like Sotomayer would mean that the GOP will always be "the minority party". The reason? Because Hispanics are the fastest growing block of voters.

Never once did they mention Miguel Estrada and what the Democrats did to his appointment to the federal bench during the Bush administration. George W. Bush appointed him to a federal judgeship and the minority Democrats filibustered his appointment, and continued to do that until Estrada eventually withdrew his appointment. Did NPR run a "report" about how that was going to hurt Democrats with Hispanic voters? Of course not.

One biased report wouldn't have been incredible. Two in a row, and you start to see a pattern. Three in a row and you realize what a liberal, left-wing, Democrat-sympathizing hack of an operation NPR has become. I will once again be changing the station I wake up to.

On top of changing the station I am going to suggest that NPR be cut from any government funding it receives. Further, all Americans should refuse to give one red cent in donations to NPR until they get the left-wing, communistic bias out of their reporting. If NPR were to go belly up no one would miss it. It needs to go the way of the dodo.

Cut NPR.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama Sets A New Precedent

Remember way back in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president? Clinton set a couple of precedents in relation to the Monica Lewinsky scandal that still persist today:
  1. That certain types of sex are not really sex.
  2. That changing the meaning of words like "is" in your own mind means you cannot be convicted of perjury.
I don't want to elaborate on the first point very much since this is a family blog. Most of us old enough to remember that scandal know to what I am referring. In polls even today young people still believe that certain sexual acts aren't really sex. I had never heard anyone claim that prior to Bubba.

The second point may even be worse. When Clinton, in an effort to try to cover his lying under oath, tried to claim "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is" that set a new standard for how far one could go in rationalizing perjury. Clinton lied. He knew it. Congress knew it. We all knew it. Yet here is a grown man that had been successful to the point of becoming president haggling over the meaning of "is"?

And then we come to Obama. Obama last week, in a press conference setup to promote his socialistic heath care proposal, set another new precedent: you don't need to know all of the facts in a situation before making judgments on said situation.

Answering a question related to the Skip Gates arrest Obama first acknowledged that he didn't have all the facts in the matter, but then went on to say "the cops acted stupidly".

Now I have maintained since last November that voters acted stupidly in the elections, but at least I had all the facts down before making that judgment. But seriously, how do admit to being ignorant of the facts, and then make such a harsh, unfair judgment anyway?

So a new precedent has been set. We don't have to listen to people, or hear both sides of a debate before we make rash judgments, and then spew out harsh pronouncements based on those judgments. It has been great fun employing that tactic for the last week or so whenever the chance arises. And I especially like the use of the word "stupidly". That way people know exactly to what precedent and I am appealing to in making an uninformed judgment.

We really shouldn't be surprised by any of this though. After all, Obama continually is trying to get congress to pass bills that they haven''t even read.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obamacare Consistent With Liberal View On The Value Of Life

For the last several decades liberals have carefully crafted the ground work for the proposals and changes to our society that they wish to enact. They laid this ground work by spearheading two movements: the pro-abortion movement, and the pro-euthanasia movement.

Conservatives, especially the religious right (of which I am a proud member), cautioned throughout that same time period, that those two movements would cheapen human life. While liberals were coming up with all kinds of arguments ("its a woman's right", "its a patient's right", "it will alleviate costs", "it removes unwanted humans from the equation", etc), conservatives remained on point: both abortion and euthanasia cheapens human life.

Abortion has now been legal in this country for going on 4 decades. Euthanasia (also called doctor assisted suicide) is now legal in some states. Both of these things were met with abhorrence when initially embarked on. American society couldn't understand the government approved practice of letting pregnant woman have their unborn babies ripped into pieces and sucked into a tub. Nor could American society come to grips with a government allowing doctors and patients to decide that a person was no longer useful, no longer worth saving, and then taking an active measure to end that person's life.

Over time however, as the mainstream media, the left, public education, famous persons, movies and TV shows, and the like continued to hammer away at these issues, American society began to soften towards them. Those arguments quoted above began to work on people. Human life was not the overriding factor any longer as people continued to be conditioned, desensitized, and even brainwashed into the liberal way of thinking on these issues.

Eventually we have arrived to where we are now. Human life has been cheapened to the point where cost factors are considered when it comes to dealing with life. People are open to environmental initiatives that may be devastating to human life (read: malaria vs. the DDT ban). People will now try to rationalize both issues as being "for the greater good".

So is it any surprise that Obama's health care proposal has tenets of both issues included in it? As people continue to read about this bill, and what it would do, more and more details are emerging:
  • government-funded abortion
  • coerced abortion
  • denial of treatment to the elderly
  • denial of treatment due to cost
All of these things are part and parcel of the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, liberal thinking that has pervaded our society and education system. Human life, without the belief in an almighty creator, is reduced to that of animal life. What do you do with animals when their population becomes to great? You euthanize unwanted animals, you sterilize them to keep them from reproducing, and take measures to control their population.

This gets to heart of the matter for liberals. Population control. Liberal thought, again devoid of an almighty creator, says that the earth is overpopulated, is running out of resources, and must be saved at all costs. Algore is the spokesperson for this movement. If your view of the world is along these lines then not only do you have no problem with abortion and euthanasia, but you see it as necessary to your end goal: saving the environment.

So we shouldn't be surprised that Obamacare is pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia (denial of care). That is who he is, how he thinks, and where he comes from. For him and his ilk, life is not something to be valued, it is something that is to be controlled and manipulated just like the rest of the world. Obama wants to control the world, and thus needs his draconian health care plan enacted regardless of its effect on human life. In actuality, despite human life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Film Discussion: Knowing (2009)



I watched this movie last night and I am still trying to come to terms with it. If you haven't seen it but plan to, stop here. There will be spoilers.

So what was this movie trying to say? Were those weird alien dudes angels? Does God use UFOs to transport his angels? Was that the tree of life at the end of the movie? Was it a modern day retelling of Noah's Ark?

I like some of the points this movie made. I like the interaction between Nicolas Cage's character and his father. I like that by the end of the movie he realized that the world was more than a random happenstance and that there was more meaning to life than just what we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. That the spiritual is more important than the physical.

Obviously, the movie didn't jive with Biblical teaching and therefore shouldn't be looked at from a scriptural frame of reference. But it was a good movie, with great special effects.

As I said I am still digesting this film. Please feel free to give your take in the comments, or provide links in the comments to the read others took on this film. I am interested to read how other people felt about this film

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Very Own Conspiracy Theory

As far as conspiracy theories go, I am not that big on them. I believe we really went to the moon, and I really believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by Muslim terrorists. One of the only conspiracy theories I believe is that Oswald did not act alone.

However, I have always suspected a conspiracy by the left-wing, liberal, environwhackos. First, here is a link to a series of articles about the latest outbreak of illness on a cruise ship:

Google List Of Related Articles

So here is my conspiracy theory: left-wing, liberal, environwhackos book passage on cruise ships and purposely release viruses to make the passengers sick.

Of course, the first question you probably have is: why would they do this? The answer is simple and I think you'll see why I logically theorize the way I do. Environwhackos have had it out for cruise ships for a long time. Don't believe me? Check out this quick google search on the topic:

Google Search On Environwhackos And There Feelings On Cruise Ships

Truth be told, they hate cruise ships. I am surprised they haven't resorted to Whale Wars type tactics against cruise ships. The only thing stopping them is the potential PR nightmare if they were to kill a bunch of cruise passengers. But I am sure the thought has crossed their feeble, minuscule minds.

So knowing they haven't waged all out war on cruise ships, it is only logical to think that they have resorted to stealth type tactics. Clandestine operations if you will. The goal? Scare people from spending big money on cruises and, hopefully, forcing the cruise industry out of business.

I remember watching all of the cruise ships when we were in St. Thomas a few years ago. If I were an environwhacko I could see myself becoming concerned with all of the fuel and emissions those ships use and produce. I could see myself worrying about the dumping of garbage and sewage. I could see myself becoming upset at the thought of the wanton consumption that occurs on those ships. Luckily, I am a freedom loving, right thinking person and those cruise ships actually gave me a sense of pride. Pride in what our economy has produced and the luxury it has afforded so many.

But if I were an environwhacko, I could see myself scheming to book passage on a cruise ship, smuggling in some nasty virus that could make the passengers ill, and releasing that into a buffet or dining area. Then sitting back and watching the carnage. I truly believe this is what is occurring on cruise ships. There are just too many illnesses occurring on cruises. No way did this problem so suddenly rear its ugly head a few years ago, and become as common as quickly as it has.

So that is my conspiracy theory. I know, I know, most of you are thinking "no way are environwhacko morons smart enough to hatch such a plot". It is true they usually stick to idiotic tactics like banging pots and pans in the woods to disrupt hunters. Or throwing paint on fur-wearing rich women. Or burning Hummers on dealer lots. (I never understood that one, seems to me that nothing could be worse for the environment than a burning Hummer!) Or setting fire to labs were experiments are performed on animals (burning the animals to their painful deaths in the process). But all it takes is one evil genius mind to get the stupid lemming masses lined up for such a thing. Surely amongst the masses of stupid environwhackos there are a couple that can actually do higher math.

So there it is. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think of my theory.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Is A Lying Liar That Lies

The lying meter was pegged last night during Obama's prime-time socialized health care pitch. This guy has been described as a snake oil salesman and that description was never more apt than it was last night. Here are some of his lies and my commentary as to why it is a lie:

I'm rushed because I get letters every day from families that are being clobbered by health care costs. And they ask me, "Can you help?"


Lie. Obama isn't as concerned with getting this done quickly for people that are in need, he is interested in getting this done quickly before people see what is really in this plan. It is just like his stimulus that wasn't a stimulus. He wanted that passed quickly before people had time to digest the fact that the stimulus bill was more about returning political favors than it was about simulating the economy. The fact that unemployment is so high, and other economic indicators are worse since the stimulus is proof of this. Obama is lying to cover his tracks. He wants this done now because he knows if it has to wait he will have to compromise and not get the reform towards socialism he really wants.

Now, I do think it's important to get this right. And if, at the end of the day, I do not yet see that we have it right, then I'm not going to sign a bill that, for example, adds to our deficit. I won't sign a bill that doesn't reduce health care inflation so that families as well as government are saving money. I'm not going to sign a bill that I don't think will work.


Lie. Obama is either purposely lying about this or he is just plain dumb. Maybe it is both. But this bill will not reduce health care inflation. Health care inflation is a result of the massive insurance premiums providers have to pay to protect themselves against frivolous malpractice suits. A bill that doesn't address tort reform will not address health care inflation. Unless of course the government mandates pricing. Obama has lied and said he doesn't want that, but you can bet that if the government is paying they will tell doctors what they can charge.

With respect to all of the negotiations not being on C-SPAN, you will recall in this very room that our kickoff event was here on C- SPAN and, at a certain point, you know, you start getting into all kinds of different meetings. Senate Finance is having a meeting; the House is having a meeting. If they wanted those to be on C-SPAN, then I would welcome it. I don't think there are a lot of secrets going on in there.


Lie! Reports have been rampant that he has been calling in members of congress trying to bolster support for this ridiculous move to socialism. His last sentence is very telling: "I don't think there are a lot of secrets going on in there." This way if he is called on this lie he can claim that he never said there were no secrets. This guy is as dirty as pig in mud, no matter how much lipstick they try to put on the pig.

And the last question was with respect to TARP. I -- let me take a look at what exactly they say we have not provided. I think that we've provided much greater transparency than existed prior to our administration coming in.


Lie. Further, he didn't promise more transparency than the Bush administration during the campaign, he promise FULL transparency. Obama is telling lies on top of lies. First he lies about full transparency, then to cover that lie he lies about more transparency than the Bush administration. How anyone believes a word that comes out of this idiot's mouth is beyond me.

Well, No. 1, not only in the public option, but the insurance regulation that we want to put in place will largely match up with what members of Congress are getting through the federal employee plan.


Lie. Federal employees currently get the best health insurance in existence. Little out of pocket costs with full benefits. It would be impossible to provide that to every man, woman, and child in the United States. The costs would be in the mega-trillions, and getting care would become impossible since it would be virtually free. Further, it has already come out that this public plan for the general population will be separate from the federal employee plan, and that federal employees would get to keep their current plans. Including CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT!!! This lie is ridiculous and the press should be ashamed of themselves for not calling Obama on this.

You know, I would be happy to abide by the same benefit package. I will just be honest with you. I'm the president of the United States, so I've got a doctor following me every minute...

(Laughter)

... which is why I say this is not about me. I've got the best health care in the world. I'm trying to make sure that everybody has good health care, and they don't right now.


Liar. He even admitted it with the "joke". He wouldn't want to drink his own kool-aid.

They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier. And I -- speaking as an American, I think that's the kind of change you want.


This is the biggest lie of all "speaking as an American". This guy is about as American as Fidel Castro. The fact that this guy got elected is scary enough. Congratulations to you who voted for him, we are getting exactly what you were told we'd get. A liar, a socialist, a terrorist sympathizer. May God help us all.

(Note: There are hundreds more lies I could highlight from last night, but I have neither the time or the patience to point them all out. Go here for the full transcript of this lying liar's lies: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/22/transcript.obama/index.html?eref=rss_latest)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama Is Unconstitutional

And no this post has nothing to do with his birthplace, or his birth certificate. Both of which are huge question marks that he hasn't answered. (The fact he hasn't answered questions related to both things pretty much means he wasn't born in Hawaii as he claims.)

This post is about spending money in the federal budget, and what the constitution allows for, and what it does not. Remember, the founders were tired of oppressive taxation, and wanted to limit the power and size of the federal government.

The preamble of the constitution says:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Note the words "provide for the common defense". Now notice these two news stories:

Senate to Consider Removing Money For F-22s From Budget

Obama Won't Rule Out Health Surtax

WHAT?? So on one hand he doesn't want to fund fighter jets that protect us. But he wants draconian taxes to fund a socialized health plan??

This gets to the heart of Obama, and what is completely wrong with his outlook of our country, the world, and our constitution. Now he and other Marxists would argue that the language "promote the general welfare" gives them the constitutional freedom to set-up a public health care system.

But notice the difference in language: "provide for the common defense" and "promote the general welfare". Provide vs. promote.

provide: to supply or make available

promote: to contribute to the growth or prosperity of: further

See the distinction? No where does it say "provide for the general welfare". The language is clear: the federal government is to pay for and provide for the defense of the country, while it is supposed to encourage and not stand in the way of the country's general welfare.

Yet Obama is willing to spend big dollars on health care (general welfare) and cut out defense spending (common defense). As usual he has it backwards. And it is unconstitutional for him to do this. If he gets both of these things then someone, somewhere should sue his administration on constitutional grounds. If you are going to tax me and spend that money, then you should only be allowed to spend the money on things the constitution says you can spend it on.

Luckily it appears that people are willing to stand up against this socialization of our health care. We cannot lose this fight, it is paramount to whether we remain a free, capitalist society, or become an enslaved, Marxist society. It is time to turn the tide away from the latter and back to the former.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Obama Doctrine II: Be Nice To Them And They Will Like Us

A while back I posted the following entry:

The Obama Doctrine: Do What I Want And Lie About It Later

Now there is another Obama Doctrine: Be Nice TO Them And They Will Like Us

While the first is still in play domestically, the second seems to be his official foreign policy. The problem is that it doesn't work. Here are a couple of examples of how being nice to our enemies doesn't work:

Click here for story: Chavez: Obama Is Biting Off More Than He Can Chew

Click here for story: Iran Spurns Engagement On Nuclear Drive, Thwarting Obama Effort

Obama seems to think that being nice to bullies will make them stop being bullies. The truth is that bullies see being nice as a sign of weakness. Chavez and Ahmadinejad see Obama as someone they can manipulate. Someone they can push around. They have no fear of Obama. Do you think they feared George W. Bush? You know they did!

Even Quadaffi in Libya is starting to make noise again after being scared into submission for the last 6 years. What Obama is doing is making us less safe. He has become Carter when he should be more like Reagan.

Reagan knew that being tough and being bold would call our enemies' bluffs. And when you do that things happen like the Berlin wall coming down, or the Soviet empire collapsing.

When you act timid like Neville Chamberlain things like Hitler running roughshod over Europe occur. When you take a stand like Winston Churchill then things happen like the Allies winning WWII.

Teddy Roosevelt said "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Obama seems to want to enter the fray unarmed, and still speak softly. The results for our national security could be disastrous.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barack Throws Like A Girl

Remember the strike that George W. Bush threw for the first pitch during the 2001 World Series?



Now watch Obama the sissy throw a moon ball that doesn't even make it to the plate. (Note: Albert Pujols is even set up in front of the plate because he knows the sissy won't make it.)



Hard to see from that angle. Try watching this clip (follow the link, then play the video clip in the article), notice the replay at the end:

Click here: Yahoo's Clip Of Obama's Sissy Throw

Too funny! Obama should stick to killing flies.............

P.S. Those jeans were the worst things I've ever seen.

Obama And Universal Health Care Must Be Stopped

UPDATE: Click here to oppose ObamaCare: Patients First

Must See Video:

Steven Crowder Goes Undercover To Document Truth About Government Run Health Care In Canada



Wow. Note this is not fiction. This is not staged. This is actual footage of experiences with a single-payer, government run and controlled health care system. I have a cousin that married a Canadian and they now live there. Her experiences with her pregnancy, birth of their son, and health care for the three of them are very similar to these posted. Most people, when they truly need health care, seek out private health care and pay through the nose for that care.

I worked for many years for a health care information company. We did all sorts of different types of work related to health care, but one of the biggest things we did was to help employers design their self-funded health care coverage plans. People complain about deductibles and copays thinking it is greedy insurance carriers trying to recoup costs. Copays and deductibles aren't about recouping costs, they are about limiting usage.

The worst thing you can do from a usage standpoint is to make health care free. It causes people to rush to the hospital and doctor's office for the most minor illnesses and symptoms. Deductibles and copays are put into place to prevent this from occurring. The whole goal is to make sure that only people that truly need health care go to the doctor or hospital. This does two things.
  1. It prevents costs from over running and bankrupting the health plan.
  2. It prevents usage from over running and over burdening the health care system.
What we are seeing in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and other places where health care is "free" (I quote it because we still pay for it in the end) is exactly those two things: costs bankrupting the government plan and usage over burdening the entire system.

Is that what we really want here?

It reminds me of the outrage over a plan a few years ago to start charging a nominal fee for the use of handicapped parking. The media and other groups positioned the plan as "greedy" people trying to take advantage of, and make money from, handicapped people. What the plan was really about was freeing up handicapped parking for those that REALLY NEED IT! Think about it, if it cost 50 cents to park in handicapped parking then these people that talk their doctors into, or worse pay them for, giving them a handicapped sticker probably won't park there. If you are able bodied you probably aren't going to pay to park there even if you legally can.

The short-sighted results of not instituting that plan is that more and more people everyday park in handicapped parking that do not really need it. I think it is immoral and lazy to do that, and it is sad that we have to look into plans like the one outlined above to try and prevent this behavior. But this is the society we have created for ourselves.

So in 5 years, when you can't get health care for a lacerated artery because the emergency room is full of people with hangnails, don't say you weren't warned.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Movie Review: Up


Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (Some peril, action.)
Studio: Disney Pixar
Release Date: May 29, 2009
Run Time: 96 minutes

Summary:
A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, whose trying to get an assisting the elderly badge. Together, they embark in an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin. Written by Garfield2710


Having returned from Disney World less than a week ago, my wife and I took my daughter to see Up this past weekend. While at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando we were bombarded with advertisements for this Pixar film, Up. We had been meaning to see it for a while so Saturday morning we made the trek over to the local theater and paid through the nose to see this movie.

We didn't see it in IMax, but in stunning Disney Digital 3D. 3D technology has come a long ways since I saw Jaws 3D as a kid. No more blue and red lenses in the 3D glasses, and the image quality is stunning. This all comes with a price though as even the matinee viewing set us back over $33, and that was before we dropped more cash on popcorn and beverages.

Still, just the sheer beauty of this film's animation, 3D effect, and overall image clarity was worth the extra money. But it is Up's story that really grabs a hold of you. While watching the first several minutes I decided that this would be today's blog entry. And the material for today's blogging grew from there.

The set-up for the film, which occurs in the first few minutes of it's 96 minute running time, is an amazing trip through a lifetime. Most of it is set to music with no dialogue as we see our protagonist's journey through life with his wife Ellie. Carl and Ellie were childhood sweethearts, and as their life is documented for us through everyday life events like buying a home, Ellie tying Carl's tie each morning, hillside picnics, and, eventually, illness and Ellie's death, it is an amazingly poignant summary. I found myself fighting back tears as it drew to a close.

That an animated film could evoke such an emotional response from a 40 year-old male is incredible. But as that chapter of the film closes, it fades to black and there is silence on the screen, and in the movie theater. And that is when it hit me that I had to write about this film. There was not a sound in the theater. Granted, since we were seeing this film nearly a full 6 weeks since it's release, it wasn't a packed house, but the 50 or so of us at that early afternoon viewing sat in emotional silence for several seconds as the film segued into the meat of the story. I have seen a lot of movies over the years, and heard a variety of audience reactions. Never have I heard such utter silence. I didn't even hear the usual munching of popcorn.

Pixar threw us all a curve ball. We expected a whimsical cartoon with funny moments. Think Toy Story or Cars. Instead we saw two people's lives from their meeting to ultimate parting. To try to put the entire sequence into words would be an effort in futility. You really have to see it and experience it. But Pixar should be commended for one of the most moving montages in animated film history. Not that their mastery of animated film should come as a surprise.

Up is only more delightful from there. The messages that this film sends are numerous and profound. What it says about the quickness of life, the elderly, what is most important, and fresh starts is subtle but obvious. They are important messages none-the-less, and while this film has plenty in it to appeal to children, adults will not only enjoy it, but can learn a thing or two from it as well.

The most important scene to me is a scene where Carl has to choose between the material things in his life, and his friends. As the summary points out, he is befriended by Russell, a young "boy scout" trying to earn an "assisting the elderly" badge. He also ends up teaming with a talking dog named "Dug" (he is able to talk via an electronic collar devised by the film's evil villian), and a rare bird that Russell has named "Kevin".

In the scene where Carl has to make his choice, Russell has flown off on some of Carl's balloons to rescue Kevin. Carl finally has positioned his house where Ellie always imagined it: next to Paradise Falls. The house is really symbolic of Carl's life, it holds all of the earthly treasures that he and Ellie had accumulated over the years. Carl has attached a lot of significance to the house and the material items inside. Throughout the film he has been most protective over the house and his belongings.

After Russell flies off, Carl knows that the young boy is in great peril without him to assist. The problem is that Carl's house is too heavy for the depleted balloons to hoist. Before Russell flew off to save Kevin he threw off his most prized possession: his scout badge sash with all of his scout badges. This inspires Carl and he begins to throw out of the house all of those prized possessions he and Ellie had acquired to ligten the house enough for the remaining balloons to carry it. Carl realizes what is most important in life, and is willing to get rid of his material things to attend to more important matters.

This is an important lesson for us. Sometimes we become so caught up in pursuit of material things that we lose sight of what is most important. Carl realized that the memories he had with Ellie were what was important, not the material things they had accumulated. He had put more value on things than he did on the memories. Once he came to this realization he was able to throw off the shackles those things had placed on him.

In the end Carl flies off to help Russell on their adventure to rescue Kevin. Without giving away too much of the ending, Carl ends up a father figure in Russell's life and as the film closes you get the impression that Carl, Russell, Dug, and Kevin will all live happily ever after. Or as the film pointed out in the set-up, until their lives come to an end.

Poignant, emotional, whimsical, endearing, enlightening, thought-provoking, and purely enjoyable, Up is a must see for all. Young and old alike will love this film, learn from this film, and laugh with this film. I rarely say a film, especially an animated film, is a must see, but Up is a must see. I was even able to look past the fact that Ed Asner was the voice of Carl!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Movie Review: The Last Supper

Rating: R (Restricted) (Violence, extremely bad language.)
Studio: Sony Pictures
Release Date: April 5, 1996
Run Time: 94 minutes















Summary: Amazon.com
Painted in mile-wide strokes of black satirical comedy, The Last Supper turns intolerance into a parlor trick, then repeats it ad nauseam in case we missed the joke. Still, redundancy can be fun when applied to the premeditated murder of right-wing extremists by self-righteous left-wing zealots; director Stacy Title is an equal-opportunity offender, never taking sides. The grisly high jinks commence when a truck-driving, child-molesting, Hitler-loving ex-Marine (Bill Paxton, acing the role) is accidentally killed while dining with a clutch of snobby liberal grad students, played with uniform excellence by Cameron Diaz (showing early promise), Ron Eldard, Courtney B. Vance, Annabeth Gish, and coproducer Jonathan Penner. Having acquired a taste for blood, the wine-poisoning liberals stage "last suppers" with hand-picked targets (Charles Durning, Mark Harmon, Jason Alexander, and ultimately Ron Perlman), eventually attracting a suspicious sheriff (fine work by SNL alumnus Nora Dunn). It's got all the subtlety of a pile-driver, but The Last Supper craftily defends free speech by exposing its most vicious violations. --Jeff Shannon
Let me start by saying that this is a horrible movie. Not horrible from a cinematography standpoint, though some of the acting is just plain bad. Overall, the movie is fairly well done but the reason it is horrible is because of the messages it sends, both intended and unintended.

As the quoted summary suggests, but fails to delve into completely, the movie is about 5 graduate students, all extremely entrenched in their left-wing, liberal ideals. So much so that they can't really tolerate opposing viewpoints. Especially when those viewpoints are extreme in nature themselves. They kill their first victim, after inviting him over for dinner, in what could be argued as self defense. Thinking they've done the world a favor by ridding it of a bigot, they set out to invite other guests to their home and, if they prove to be right-wing extremists as they suspect, are given arsenic-laced wine. This is all done in the cause of bettering the world by ridding it of another intolerant conservative.

The intended central theme is that extremists from either end of the spectrum are not that much different. Sure they disagree vehemently on the issues, but what they are willing to say and do in order to defend their positions are analogous. This point is completely lost in a sea of pigeon-holing conservatives, and making it seem as if liberals, even extreme liberals, may be misguided but have purer intentions than do extreme conservatives.

Take the first victim that is killed. He is a truck-driving, ex-military southerner. So of course he hates blacks, gays, jews, and anyone different than him. This is where the movie really falls down. It paints conservative into corners. This first victim isn't misguided, he is pure evil. The movie suggests that on top of being a bigot, he also is a child-molesting pedophile.

So while the extreme liberals are trying to improve the world, the parade of conservatives they march through and kill are painted as pathetic, selfish people. Take the priest that becomes the group's second victim. He turns out to be a homophobic gay-basher that wants to see all homosexuals rounded up and sent to an island with food enough for only 2 years. The point seems to be that if you think homosexuality is a sin then you must hate the people involved with that sin and not care for them or their souls.

Then there is the male chauvinist sexist. The point seems to be that if you feel the male is the stronger of the sexes, then you must think rape is fine because deep down women really want it. In other words, chauvinism = rapist.

The conservatives, other than the final invitee, end up being caricatures. There is the anti-abortion protester that claims she'd stoop to murdering abortion doctors if it would save the life of the unborn. There is the 17 year-old abstinence advocate that is ridiculed for "being anti-sex" even though she's never had sex herself. (In fairness, they spare her life despite a discussion about killing her.)

So while all of the conservatives are evil, the liberals are motivated in their murder by the greater good. They continually have a discussion about meeting Hitler in 1909, and killing him in order to save millions. So if you are a bigot, a sexist, anti-abortion, or think homosexuality is a sin, then you are aligned with the likes of Hitler. While conservatives are on par with Hitler, the murdering liberals are simply trying to make the world a better place.

Conservatives are also painted as uneducated, backward thinking cave people. Their intelligence is ridiculed throughout. Liberals are educated and superior in almost every aspect of life, even if their actions are less than desirable. The only conservative that is painted as intelligent is the last guest that is invited. He is a conservative talk-show host in the mold of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. He ends up not being all that conservative, and it is implied that he says the things he says to motivate his brainless, unthinking, stupid listeners to drive up his ratings, buy the products advertised on his show, and to buy his books. The point seems to be that if a conservative is intelligent, then he isn't really a conservative but is just exploiting conservatism for personal gain.

One thing that needs to be pointed out is that no where in the movie is it ever said, or even implied, that the murdering of these conservatives is immoral or wrong. The movie showed how the blood lust of the murders began to corrupt the individuals involved, but never that the actual murdering was wrong.

This speaks to one of the biggest holes in leftist belief: anything can be rationalized as being okay. Unlike conservatism, that is based on objective right and wrongs, liberalism is rooted in relativism and subjectivity. Therefore, if murder contributes to the greater good, then it isn't wrong. If there is something positive (I have no idea what myself) about ripping unborn humans apart in the womb then it can be justified. Homosexuality should not only be tolerated, but accepted and embraced because there is no such thing as sin. A truly liberal society would end up collapsing on itself due to a lack of objective standards and ideals.

Whether or not it was intended, this ends up being one of the messages of the film: anything is justified if it contributes to the greater good. What is lost is the fact that murder is wrong, period. Even if you were to murder Hitler in 1909 in order to save millions it would still be wrong. While the movie never makes that clear it is an objective truth regardless.

The movie in the closing sequences, tries to make the point that the extremes of right-wing and left-wing activism is a problem in our society, and that it is with moderates and centrists that the real truth and morality exists. This message is lost under a tsumani of messages that extreme conservatism is worse than extreme liberalism. While I would expect nothing less from Hollywood, the message ends up being that a world with murdering liberals is still better than a world that has hate-filled conservatives, regardless of how unrealistic those conservatives are portrayed.

I only watched the film to completion to see how it would turn out. Though the end of the movie leaves the fate of the 5 graduate students to the viewers imagination, the implication is that they end up drinking their own poisoned wine. You get the impression that, while they didn't like who they had started to become, they are still quite satisfied with what they accomplished. While they end up not being the best people on the planet, the fact that they took 11 "hate-filled right-wingers" with them means that the world is better off to the tune of 11 to 5.

In closing, if you go to imdb.com it is interesting to see the different takes on this movie. Liberals see it as a black comedy that is farcical in nature. Conservatives see it as pro-liberal, anti-conservative. In the end I give the filmmakers credit for making a movie that at a minimum was thought-provoking and induced debate. However, I see this movie as the epitome of what Hollywood became during the 1990's: a playground for the egotistical, superioristic left.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

On Honduras

I was out of pocket for a week and a half, but still kept my eye on the news. I noted that despite 24/7 Michael Jackson coverage, some other things did occur recently. The one that I really want to comment on is the situation in Honduras.

Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras, was ousted in a coup. That is something that seems on the surface to be a bad thing, until you hear why he was ousted. He was trying to thwart Honduras' constitution, supreme court, and, more importantly, the will of the people to try to remain in office despite term limits that would have meant his presidency was over this coming January. Zelaya wants to remain in power past January, and was willing to trash Honduras' Constitution in order to do that.

But what is most troubling was Obama's response to this. He said, and I quote, "It sets a bad precedent". -Insert look of confusion and shock.- What precedent does it set? That when a man tries to usurp authority and do whatever he wants despite the law of the land, that the people have a right to stop him? This is the perfect precedent to set: If you ignore the Constitution the people will rise up and oust you.

This is the same precedent that was set in the late 1700's when a group of colonials overthrew overbearing English rule. It is the same precedent set shortly after that in France when the people overthrew their aristocracy and demanded democracy. It is the same precedent that countless nations have set, and others have tried to set, in order to establish or maintain government for and by the people.

Obama's stance on Honduras is very telling. It shows that he is power hungry enough to try what Zelaya tried. He knows that the people would revolt if he ever did, and that is why he thinks this sets a bad precedent. His lack of support for the opposition in Iran is also telling. Obama sees nothing wrong with dictatorships as long as the dictator shares his world view. Obama wants what he wants and if becoming a dictator will accomplish that then he is for it.

Remember his "I won" comment in a meeting shortly after taking office to Congressional Republicans? Suddenly the talk of working together, that he preached throughout his campaign, was gone. Now it is "I won, so roll over". He has nothing in mind except ramrodding through his own agenda. And he is willing to do that at all costs.

I am afraid that Obama feels that the bad precedent that he claims was set in Honduras is that the will of people stood up for what they feel their country stands for. I am afraid Obama wants to thwart the will of the people himself here in United States, and do whatever he wants to do. Regardless of Supreme Courts, congress, the Constitution, and even the will of the people.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Daughter, And To The Greatest Country On God's Green Earth!

I will post more later but wanted to wish our country a happy birthday! July 4th is always a special day to those of us that are proud of our country, and that love it immensely. Now if only our president was proud of and loved it. Oh well.

Last Monday was my daughter's birthday. She turned 6. She was also admitted to the hospital for dehydration on her birthday. She had a stomach virus since the previous Wednesday. We traveled to Orlando, FL so she could spend her birthday at Disney World, and she ended up in the hospital instead.

The good news is that she is fine now, spent this past Wednesday at The Magic Kingdom, and yesterday at Disney Hollywood Studios. I'll post more on her ordeal later.