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   Now in our tenth calendar year!
   PCR #486 (Vol. 10, No. 29). This edition is for the week of July 13--19, 2009.

"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"  by Mike Smith
Movies and The Mob: part 2  by Terence Nuzum
Movies That Scared Me for Life  by ED Tucker
Summer Memories: Old Forge, NY  by Chris Woods
Birthdays: A Sponge .... A Witch .... A Nap .... And A Gameboy .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
16.5% Unemployment ?!?! .... Fuzzy Math .... Quid Pro Quo? .... Fall Of Vader? .... Rattner Who? .... .... .... Giant Leap Turns 40!  by Brandon Jones
“the Robbery” .... Back To Sports, Mcnair’s Death .... Obama At The All-star Game .... Rays Win All-star Game (again) .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Elvis The Dog .... Happy Birthday .... They Did Something Right .... Reel/real News .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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State of the Nation

16.5% Unemployment ?!?!

This article (and the website itself) proclaims to calculate the actual unemployment numbers. During the Bush years we were told that the 4-6% was falsely low for various reasons.

Now, the reported figure is 9.5% and the Ticker projects the actual unemployment to 16.5%. Quite a difference..

I remember when I learned how the government changed the inflation calculations to save money. Social Security payments are tied to inflation, therefore, changes were required to keep SS payments down to prevent bankruptcy.

The sooner we wake up and stop bickering over parties, the sooner we can join resources to put an end to this corruption. The Republicans didn't want to tell us in 2007 that the unemployment was skyrocketing. The Democrats don't want to tell us know that 20% unemployment isn't out of the realm of possibilites.

This isn't about right or left, it's simply about what's right and what's wrong.

Fuzzy Math

This week marks the Mid Session Review, MSR, in which the budget in Washington gets reviewed. Remember when the President said it would be $1.2Trillion, then the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) revise the figure to $1.6T, then $1.7T? Four times the figure when Bush left office.

Well, we are now at another signpost and Washington cannot hide figure and most important: that date when we crossed $1 trillion.

I expect the figure to be changed to a minimum of $1.8T as they prolong the truth -- the deficit will hit $2T for this year.

Why? The endless spending and less tax revenues, you can't get it both ways.

The Budget
So the budget spending will skyrocket the next couple of years. Let me explain.

The Department of Education was allocated $40B for 2009, but one of the stimulus plans added an additional $40B for this year. The books now show $80+B, as we move towards the 2010 budget planning.

So, will the politicians treat the stimulus as a one time jolt or a spending increase?

If the budget for 2010 was set for $60B what would we hear: education budget has been increased by 50% or that it was cut by 25%.

Welcome to the nightmare.

Bush let the flexible spending budget for Congress at $400B, but the stimulus (and the omnibus) increased the spending budget to $1 trillion.

Now in the latter half of 2009 you can listen for the sound bites. How are our politicians planning their shell game?

It's your money. It's your kids' money and your grandkids' money. Maybe we should pay more attention.

Quid pro quo?

While the futile confirmation of future Supreme Court Justice Sotomoyor distracts America, the President cements the deepening relationship between the government and Labor Unions. The Monday meeting adjourned with the President announcing union support for nationalized healthcare and the Unions pronouncing commitments from the President to pursue a bill easing the ability to organize new members as well as the auto industry.

Quid pro quo?

Support socialized healthcare and we'll create legislature banning secret ballots, broadening union powers and protect the UAW bound ownership of GM and Chrysler -- they wouldn't do that would they?

Fall of Vader?

Former VP Dick Cheney, aka Darth Vader to his opposition, is back in the crosshairs of left-wing attacks. There are claims that Cheney withheld intelligence information and/or concealed a top-secret program from Congress which contradicts CIA claims and would exonerate Nancy Pelosi who said CIA officials did not inform her (and Congress) of all of the intelligence gathering techniques.

I can't find details on the program in question other than some random comments about "assassination" plans in the wake of 9/11. So my hypothesis:

Immediately following 9/11 Cheney collaborated with CIA Director George Tenet to oversee of a list of targets that the CIA had the green light to execute. I believe there could be connections to this program and a botched assassination attempt in Africa that engaged a terrorist suspect without the local ambassador's knowledge.

To maintain national secrecy, the VP tells the CIA to not share details with anyone, including Congress – is that irresponsible? Congress has leaked confidential documents and details at every turn.

Of course, in a short time thereafter, war on Afghanistan was declared etc…so the list becomes irrelevant. There program was most likely "suspended" or ignored, but never terminated.

Scott McClellan’s book was supposed to be the "tell all" gotcha that would bring down Cheney and the Bush administration. Instead, it was a cry baby tale of disgruntled employees who were all jealous of one another.

Cheney is a shrewd, brilliant politician who understands the intelligence community and national defense as good as anyone. I hope Attorney General Holder investigates these accusations and acts accordingly.

Nancy Pelosi has already gained what she needed: the accusation became the truth once it hit the ears of the Bush haters. Truth and facts won’t and don't matter, only the feeling that Cheney, Bush, the CIA were all breaking rules and keeping Congress in the dark.

It’s such dangerous territory to be politicizing national security.

Rattner who?

Steve Rattner resigned this week. Who's Steve Rattner? He's the Car Czar handling the GM, Chrysler salvage efforts. I'm sure you've heard of him.

Why would he resign after only a few months? The press calls this abrupt and unexpected.

Possibly it is the excalation of the SEC investigation into Quadrangle group that links Rattner to millions in middleman investment dealings. The New York attorney general has made links from Rattner to Hank Morris in an $85 million pension scandal.

Haven't heard of Hank Morris? Morris faces over 100 charges of securities fraud, grand larceny, bribery and money laundering.

So, even if Rattner doesn't get indicted, Quadrangle is expected to lose over $15 million.

Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the SEC or the NY AG. Maybe it's simply to support is wife during her drunk driving conviction. Oh you didn't hear about that?

Rattner's wife Maureen White, is an influential fund raiser, even holding the title of National Finance Chairwoman for the DNC. It's a coincidence that the Daily News story documenting the drunk driving incident disappeared.

It's stange how Rattner has stayed out of the headlines. He's a former NY Times reporter, who became an investment banker before becoming a huge fundraiser for the Clintons.

Rattner and his wife are no Michael Jackson, Sonia Sotomoyer, Sarah Palin, but you'd think someone, somewhere would run this story.

FOX you say? Nope, Rattner and Rupert Murdoch are close friends and this didn't get legs at the New York Post or the on FOX.

Probably just a coincidence.

Giant leap turns 40!

"That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." -- Neil Armstrong, 1969.

The culmination of the space program was fulfilling the ambitions set forth by President Kennedy. What seems so long ago, also feels so recent. This was certainly one of the most engaging moments in our history with all eyes watching glued to televisions all over the country.
This is a pin from 1969: "US First Man on the Moon"

Armstrong has avoided his celebrity status becoming more and more enigmatic over the decades. Our society is obsessed with exploitation and Armstrong has been victimized by autograph seekers and even his personal barber who sold hair trimmings for $3,000. Buzz Aldrin is constantly harassed by skeptics, even being sued for striking one man.

NASA seems marred with struggles over the International Space Station, problems with the Hubble Telescope and escalating costs yielding minimal results. We reflected on this great accomplishment five years ago and I hope that we put aside a few moments to reminisce again.

Quote of the Week
If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.-- President Obama, Economic Speech on January 8th, 2009.

"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.