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   Now in our tenth calendar year!
   PCR #489 (Vol. 10, No. 32). This edition is for the week of August 3--9, 2009.

"Julie & Julia"  by Mike Smith
Manson at the Movies  by ED Tucker
Vietnam Town in Orlando  by Jason Fetters
Marvel Fatigue .... Attack Of Russell Brand .... Dune .... .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
Don't Read It, Just Sign It! .... Time To Calibrate? .... Cash For Clunkers .... Skynet? .... Best Time For A Divorce .... Free At Last .... ....  by Brandon Jones
Say Goodbye To The Afl .... Who’s The Punk Now? .... No Takers On Vick Yet? .... Donte Stallworth Meets Goodell .... It’s Not Sports .... Rays On A Roll .... ....  by Chris Munger
D T #58 .... Movie Notes .... Free Tex! .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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State of the Nation

Don't read it, just sign it!
Senator John Conyers told us point blank how he (and others apparently) feel about these mammoth bills from Congress. In his address he states:

"I love these members, they get up and say, 'Read the bill'"..."What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?"

Simple, that's your job.

Of course, Mr. Representative, we empathize. We can't read them either, especially when they are introduced the day before they are being voted upon.

From a non-political article, which Robert Herriman brought to my attention at work, illustrated that a law regulating iodine contains over 18,000 words. The Ten Commandments has 66 words, the Declaration of Independence has 1,600 and the TARP bill, signed in the Fall of 2008 is a pithy 195,000 pages.

An easy read right?

The stimulus bill which had a paltry 275,000 and the Healthcare bill (if we add look at the Senate updated version) appears to have grown to a whopping 300,000 words -- is there a wonder why there is a non-profit group pushing to pass a bill to require Congress to read EVERY page of the bills before they are signed.

Time to calibrate?
The President has been asked about the language in the Healthcare Bill, HR 3200, in particular, the language that some call a "ban" on private insurance. He stubbled along saying: "You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about."

Feel free to wander around the 1000+ pages, but this "ban", which originates on page 16, results in this:

While there's ominous language, it isn't a ban, but it is saying private health insurers will be legally barred from accepting new clients after the health bill is signed into law.

What is true is that many current plans may not qualify under the new regulations, and so private insurers won't be able to offer the same plan to new customers once this monstrosity kicks in. Therefore, if you can't keep your current plan or if your employer dumps the group plan they offer - you're now on the federal public plan.

I'll posted to the PCR message board post here as I present the real HARD questions for the healthcare supporters.

Cash for clunkers

I don't really have much to add to this great article Caroline Baum.

Taxpayer money being used to buy people cars. Sounds great, aren't you racing to the auto lot near you?

Skynet becoming self aware?

Hasn't anyone watched "Terminator"?

The computers can charge themselves as artificial intelligence technology soars. Reading that "Scientists Worry" about machines and their advances makes you wonder how prophetic James Cameron's films actually are.

The article makes reference to predator drones, and Professor Sharkey of spoke to the BBC (read full article here) about autonomous killer drones, so imagine if they go offline. A world controlled by HAL or the uselessness of humans (Wall-E) still seems far, far away, but I can speak personally about the impact on jobs.

The laboratory technology advanced so quickly that manpower shifted from departments of 10-12 per section to 3-4 per section is just ten years. The labor was moved from higher paid technologists to cheaper labor in specimen handling and labeling departments. Barcoding, scanning, and PC technology reduced problem resolution to such a nominal effect that individual supervisors handle issues and the "problem resolution" department (i.e. Specimen Management) was reduced down to 2-3 people.

There is a disturbing statement in the column:

"Technologists are providing almost religious visions, and their ideas are resonating in some ways with the same idea of the Rapture." -- Dr. Eric Horvitz

Do you believe Skynet and other science fiction nightmares are so far-fetched when the innovators speak with such religious fervor? Do you think they would ever know and recognize where the barriers and stopping SHOULD be?

I thought it was an interesting topic/article that hasn't been brought up much in the wake of the economy.

Best Time for a Divorce
Society does little to support individuals through difficult times, especially those struggling financially. This Miami Herald piece speaks volumes of our lack of fortitude.

The news article gives the lawyer free press to his "pragmatic approach" to divorce campaign and goes on to discuss the "strategies for women."

The statistics are illustrated that divorces are down, so why not drum up some business?

We hear complaints, or complain ourselves, of massive divorce rate and the strife that it causes countless families in our difficult world. As divorce declines, there were no cheers or efforts to further aid relationships in trouble. Instead we turn to an ad campaign on the radio and in the newspapers to scream out: "the time is now, get a strategy and lessen that divorce blow."

Free at last
Robert Gibbs proclaims “Our focus right now is on the safety of the two journalists” as Bill Clinton travels to meet with North Korean leaders. Laura Ling and Euna Lee, journalists working for Al Gore's Current TV, were arrested near China's border with North Korea on March 17. The two were quickly convicted of illegal entry and "hostile acts" and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.

It seems as though the deal has been struck and the Secretary of State’s husband should come home with these two poor women. I simply think Clinton’s visit yields too much credibility to the North Koreans handing them a victory in the propaganda game.

Nearly five months of captivity lends itself to the Presidential treatment. Next stop Tehran to bring home those three hostages (read here)


As I was posting this, the news broke that our hostages were freed. The CNN report reveals what I suspected. Negotiations were founded upon having a key, top flight official, like the former President, make the visit; therefore, adding to the North Korean's propaganda of legitimacy. Already you can find the reports overseas.

I love the reports and the coverage that sound as though the White House or the State Department acted with a sense of urgency when the girls were detained there since March.

Thankfully they are unharmed as they can return to their families.

Let me paraphrase a good point that one of the talking heads on CNN spewed during my lunchtime. U.S. citizens traveling abroad will come under increased risk of detainment by hostile foreign governments unless the United States demonstrates greater strength in protecting its citizens from arbitrary detainment by tin-pot dictatorships. Our foreign policy amounts to speaking loudly while carrying no stick at all.

Quote of the Week
Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide. -- John Adams

"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.