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   Now in our tenth calendar year!
   PCR #476  (Vol. 10, No. 19) This edition is for the week of May 4--10, 2009.

"Star Trek"  by Mike Smith
Summer Movie Preview by Mike Smith
Glen and Randa  by ED Tucker
Movie Marathon Begins .... Instead I’d Recommend .... Our Nation Gets The Flu .... Make The Fed Be Transparent .... TARP Not $700 Billion, But 3.5 Trillion?... Enemy of State: Ted Stevens .... One-Hit Wonders  by Brandon Jones
Nfl Network’s Top 10 Home Field Advantages .... Cowboy Tragedy .... Two Faces .... Coyotes Moving .... The Richest F**k Up! .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
You Can Dance If You Want To .... Fly By Night .... This Hurts .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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State of the Nation

Movie Marathon Begins
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” marks the beginning of the summer movie season, particularly the bloated month of May. Hollywood doesn’t seem to acknowledge the depression that the country (or the world) is struggling through.

“Wolverine” leads a busy month, followed by J.J. Abrams’ revisioned “Star Trek”, the Da Vinci Code sequel “Angels and Demons”, Christian Bale as John Connors in “Terminator: Salvation”, “Night at the Museum 2” with Ben Stiller and Pixar’s “Up.”

As a comic book purist, the Wolverine film is more revolting than appealing. That said, I have less desire to support another Abrams abomination than watch Gambit flip his hair while ignoring comic book mythology and the continuity of the first two films.

There should be reservations for “Angel and Demons” since Ron Howard’s “Da Vinci Code” was such a slow paced, nearly unwatchable adaptation of Dan Brown’s fantastic novel. “Terminator: Salvation” appears to deliver in spite of the absence of the “Arnold” model. “Up” and “NATM 2” are kid’s picks from my house and I can’t argue that Pixar delivers.

The “Star Trek” re-launch is just another futile attempt to cling the baby boomer era in which the show delivered. J.J. Abrams, a self-pronounced non-fan, brings us a Trek time travel tale in a Hollywood contrived rollercoaster ride – to what avail: a new string of Trek actors delivering cameos in sequels? Other than Karl Urban’s McCoy, I’m not interested at all.

I’ve had my Star Trek fill with the recent parody on CSI1 which delivered everything but a tribble and a “Wrath of Khan” reference.

So, Boomers, line up with the teens to get a taste of the “new” Trek, Abrams style. Hollywood is expecting too much far too little and fans have to picky, especially with tough economic times.

1CSI: A Space Oddity: http://www.cbs.com/primetime/csi/video/video.php?cid=446409122&pid=w1mVVqKBy5amUvOwwVY8tZPsupRnuKd8&category=editorial&play=true

Instead I’d recommend….
Spend your money more wisely on season 1&2 of “Dexter” from Showtime. Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) is fantastic as the blood splatter expert, who spends his spare time feeding his inner demon as a serial killer. Based on “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay, the series delivers the black humor perfectly with a great cast and balanced writing.

Our Nation gets the Flu
Sure movies are a hot topic, but nothing compared to the Mexican flu (if you’re a Virologist), the swine flu (as long as you’re not an Israeli or a pig farmer), or the H1N1 flu, whichever named you choose, has proven to be more dangerous hysterical rant by the media and the World Health Organization, than to our public health.

Robert Herriman, a co-worker of mine, has written a piece on Swine Flu in his infectious disease column1. I think he adds some great scope and perspective to the flu hysteria.

Thousands die monthly (on the average) from various strains of the flu and malaria is a true epidemic in Africa. We should be thankful this was an actual danger because our government is still not equipped to protect us from rapid spread.

The only thing truly clear to me is how inefficient Homeland Security performed by not screening airline passengers from the infected region for even a fever? DHS cannot evaluate, possibly limit travelers from Mexico to other areas (a flight to Israel that carried the virus to that area). Worldwide media has made this into a crisis that led to executing more than 300,000 swine in Egypt, a twenty country ban meats (Russia banned all meat from the US) devastating the pork industry -- it’s all about the crisis.

Well, we can look to Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, to valuate a crisis: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."2

Joe Biden contradicted the other White House leaders to advise us not to travel at all.3

1 http://www.examiner.com/x-7707-Tampa-Disease-Prevention-Examiner~y2009m5d3-Swine-flumy-thoughts
2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mzcbXi1Tkk&feature=related
3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw1h2t355Bo

Make the Fed be Transparent
There is a Ron Paul YouTube link in the aforementioned article and I wanted to also mention Ron Paul’s proposed bill to audit the FED (HR 1207)1.

There are now over 100 cosponsors, so it’s getting traction. The bill, especially in the age where “transparency” and “accountability” appear to be hot buzzwords, seems like an obvious next step.

The legal verbiage needs to change to force the Federal Reserve to operate with real oversight and periodic audits.

While I’d encourage you to read and support HR 1207, I’d asked you to read and denounce HR 1349, which is also aimed at the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, HR 1349, gives more power to the Fed, adds more bureaucracy in government and increases power to this privatized bank.

1 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1207

TARP Not $700 Billion, But 3.5 Trillion?
Remember the emergency that started it all? Both Presidential candidates had to stop everything and race to Washington for an economic séance to save the failing banks. It didn’t matter what letter was after you name, everyone had to hold hands, give a nod and take our debt from 400-500 billion to three times that in one fleeting moment.

Forbes magazine, on January 21st (interesting timing) to say the price tag may be 1/4 of all assets pushing the total to 3.5 trillion.1 But that can’t be right, can it?

The CBO, Congressional Budget Office, is doubling the original estimates to $1.25-1.5 trillion.

So what’s the real number? How long will it take to pay it back? Rahm Emanuel references the Bush debt and claims it would take sixty years, so maybe 100 years?2

1 http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/21/tarp-banking-treasury-biz-wall-cx_lm_0121tarp.html
2 Rahm Emanuel's book, “The Plan: Big Ideas for America”, page 61.

Enemy of State: Ted Stevens
April 7th was a dark day for Alaskans and Americans abroad as the former Senator escaped prosecution for $250,000 of illegal gifts from the VECO oil executives. Stevens has effectively walked on all counts.

I’ll credit Attorney General Eric Holder as cited prosecutors failed to disclose information that could have helped the Steven’s defense. The judge Emmett Sullivan fortunately has ordered possible criminal charges, including criminal contempt, against six prosecutors in the case. A whistleblower has leaked that the lead FBI investigator was having a sexual relationship with the prosecution’s star witness.

Some Republicans have vocalized support for Stevens, who escaped penalty because of a mistrial not of his innocence. He needs to retire from public service, which he has shamed and abused.

On April 23rd Stevens received a lifetime achievement award from Comfish for his work to help the Alaskan seafood industry. Sarah Palin released a statement making Stevens the victim1 -– no Sarah, you are wrong. Yes, the lawyers are scumbags but so is Stevens and instead of awards, he deserved jail time.

1 http://gov.state.ak.us/archive.php?id=1733&type=1

One-Hit Wonders
Judge David Souter resigns: While he was nominated by George H. Bush, Souter seldom voted with other Republican nominees and drew notable wrath in 2005 over his support of eminent domain. I expect to hear Sonia Sotomayor’s name as she’s been a leading candidate in the past. The consensus is to add another female while she’d be the first Puerto Rican as well (definitely an appealing bonus for the President).

Air Force Fly By: Forget the 9/11 sensibilities as we had the 747 (Air Force One) and two F-16 fighters streak into flight path used by terrorists in 2001. We’ve heard a lot of excuses (i.e., photo-op) and the lines are blurred if the President, the Mayor of New York, and others knew of the plans.

We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for the “explanation”.

Enchanted: In case you were watching the regular programming on FOX , “Lie to Me”, you may have missed the engaging question and answer session with the President. Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times caught the President off-guard with this hard hitting question:

“During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office? Enchanted you the most from serving in this office? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?”

The Enemy: Refuge for the al-Qaeda extremists has always been in Pakistan, but now the militants turn on their landlord. The video is a cell phone clip featuring the execution for those accused of adultery.


Quote for the Week:
This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation. – Will Rogers, 1932

"State of the Nation" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.