Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
Source: Haiku Deck

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lew Rockwell: Opinion- Christopher Cantwell: Top Ten Reasons Libertarians Aren't Nice to You

Source: Hang The Bankers-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Contrary to popular belief (and yes I feel like a geek for saying that) I'm not a Libertarian.  Anyone who doesn't believe that will have all the evidence they need after they read this post.  I know this is shocking and for anyone who is feeling completely overwhelmed feel free to get loaded on their favorite alcoholic beverage or perhaps something illegal to help calm them down. I hear marijuana has now been decriminalized in Maryland. I'm not interested in eliminating the Federal Government, except for perhaps three departments.  Just don't ask Rick Perry which three those are.

There are several reasons that I'm not a Libertarian.

One:  Unlike Alex Jones  I'm sane, don't live in a mental hospital and am not an escaped mental patient.

Two:  I'm not a big enough asshole to be a Libertarian and view everyone who doesn't agree with me  one-hundred percent of the time as a statist or big government lover, as we saw in Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign.

Three:  Referring to number one, I don't believe 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the United States Government.  We were actually attacked by foreign terrorists, as all of the hard evidence indicates.

Four:  Referring again to one, I don't believe Barack Obama is a foreigner, born in another country. I not only know where Hawaii is but I can find it on a map.  Like ninety-percent or more of the rest of the country I believe Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His Hawaiian birth certificate is a hell of a big clue, the smoking gun, if you will.

The stereotype of Libertarians is that they are pot addicts who may have done time in prison for non-pot related activities.  They are like from another planet where government doesn't exist and have the idea that because they didn't vote for the administration in power they don't have to follow their laws or rules.

As long as Libertarians are viewed through this stereotype as people who want to destroy government, at least where they live, they'll always be viewed as anarchists or escaped mental patients who don't deserve the keys to a big wheel let alone the keys to the car that governs the nation. But Libertarians aren't interested in political power, right. Just the power to be left alone. So I guess they have no real incentive to change their ways.
Shane Killian: How To Argue For Statism- Why We're Rude To You

Friday, April 18, 2014

American Thinker: Opinion- Rick Moran: Can Stephen Colbert be Funny Without Mocking Right-Wingers?

Source: FRS FreeState Now Plus- Food for thought-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

There's been this latest complaint, well not really a late complaint, it goes back to at least the 1960s, from the American Right that the American media, especially the entertainment industry, don't like right-wingers and love to make fun of them. With the right not really having their own medium (Why not?  Do they not have enough money?) to take on the left, they feel naked and defenseless. They are correct that Hollywood and others like to make fun of right-wingers but it is a special section of the right-wing that they tend to go after.  I'll get into that later.  They are wrong when they say that the right doesn't have a way to make fun of the left.

I read the libertarian magazine, Reason, everyday.  I also look at their think tank, Reason Foundation, and their YouTube channel, everyday.  They make fun of leftists almost everyday with constant satires about big government leftists and dumb leftists. But a certain faction of the right doesn't like Reason because they go after big government dumbies on the right as well, making dumb people from both political wings look pretty silly.

This blog makes fun of big government dumbies, both left and right, because The New Democrat is simply anti-big government.  It doesn't want government trying to control American lives, personally or economically.  The New Democrat and Reason do not go after everyone on the left and right, only the ignorant people who believe that they know best how Americans should live their lives.  A certain faction on the right hates that. Which faction do you think that might be?

Could it be the American far-right, the christian right and neoconservatives in general, who really weren't born, politically, until the 1960s?  The far right sees themselves as the "Heartland of America,"  as a Chevrolet commercial (or is that "Heartbeat of America").  They still live in the Leave it to Beaver 1950s where dad went to work, mom stayed at home and took care of the kids and house,  and gays were locked in the closet.  African-Americans were, technically, not slaves anymore but they existed only to serve Caucasians, without full American citizenship.

All of early TV and everything else that came from Hollywood in this era represented this 1950s American way of life.  Since then, the country has aged sixty years, give or take a few, but the so-called moral majority coalition has not matured accordingly.  They are stuck in a Twilight Zone episode and are confused by how much the country has changed.  They want to go back in time.

The American national media, especially the entertainment industry, don't so much make fun of conservatives as they make fun of the so-called traditional values coalition that is trying put America into a time machine and take it back to the 1950s.  The christian right  looks down on Americans and calls them immoral if they are gay or live with their romantic partners before marriage.  They consider sex before marriage, watching pornography, smoking pot and, perhaps, tobacco, and drinking alcohol sins as well.  These people get made fun of because they are stuck in a Twilight Zone called Modern America and haven't figured out how to get back to real time.
The Young Turks: Rush Limbaugh- Sees War in Stephen Colbert Replacing David Letterman

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reason Magazine: Tax Day is Coming- Game of Thrones Edition: The Taxes Are Coming!!!

Source: Reason Magazine-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

The taxes are coming! The taxes are coming! The taxes are coming! Everybody grab your wallets and bank accounts and, if you have a lot of money, be prepared to send it to your Swiss bank account because this is the time of year that makes everyone excepts Socialists cry. That's right, it's tax season, when we have to give Uncle Sam a big fat check so he can spend our money, on our behalf (supposedly), and, if we are lucky, we get that some of it back in a refund.

While 85-90% of the country right now is crying about how much they are going to have to pay in taxes, there are big wine and cheese parties in New York, Boston, greater New England, and San Francisco where Socialists are celebrating the payment of their taxes with smiles on their faces. The person who paid the most in taxes, with the biggest smile about paying them, gets to drink and eat free, during the party.  Government will hit them all again later with sales and income taxes but the winner is a Socialist and that will just make them smile.

To be serious for a second, and then I'll get back to being an asshole, I'm really not anti-government or anti-tax.  I'm anti-big government and anti-bad government.  Millions of Americans have to pay for a government that they wouldn't wish on their worst enemies.  With all of the corruption, tax money funding pork barrel projects, political contributions coming God knows where because we don't have full-disclosure,  the vast majority of the electorate doesn't have a damn clue as far as where the money flowing into politicians' pockets comes from, leaving millions of Americans to ask a good question, "Why do I have to pay for this?"  If I wanted to pay for corruption I would hire a lawyer or buy a used car.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Liberty Pen: Megyn Kelly: 'The Fuzzy Math of ObamaCare': The Fuzzy Math of Fox News

Source: Liberty Pen- Megyn Kelly & Brit Hume-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

The FOX News specializes in fuzzy math. When they hear government reports that back up their argument, whatever it is at the time, they say, "Hey, see, we told you this is not working and we need to repeal it!"  But when government figures come out that contradict their arguments, they claim that government conspiracy exists. "See the government that we don't trust, that said ObamaCare is failing, is now saying that it is working!"

There are people, both in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and fringe independents, who only listen to news that backs up their political beliefs. I give you the FOX News audience on the Right and Far-Right. And MSNBC on the Far-Left.  The Right uses FOX News and the Far-Left uses MSNBC for the same reasons that other people use The Onion. To see what is not happening in the world and to make fun of it.

Listening to FOX News is like listening to kids trying to convince their parents that if they allow them to have cake for dinner, it won't spoil their appetites.  They'll say "Hey, I had cake before and it didn't spoil my appetite then. Why would it spoil it now?"  When you point out that the last time they had cake, they had an upset stomach and had to stay home from school the next day, they say, "I hate you! You're always saying no and won't let me do anything!"  Seriously, why would anyone interested in real news take FOX News seriously?
Liberty Pen Megyn Kelly- 'The Fuzzy Math of ObamaCare'

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Retro Whiz TV: The Naked Gun 1988- How a Klutzy Cop Saves The Day

Source: Retro Wiz TV- Action/Comedian,  Leslie Nielsen-
Source: The New Democrat 

To get The Naked Gun and the two or three sequels that came after, you have to first get the humor of the Zucker brothers.  They produced these movies, the Police Squad series and the Airplane movies from the early 1980s.  I don't have a single word for their humor.  Perhaps, "Accidental humor," would do.  These movies tend to feature klutzes, who are accident prone, in major roles.  They save the day, often, by making an unintended mistake.

I was looking for this word yesterday when I wrote a blog about Airplane and the best I came up with was "literal." Practically everything that is said in these movies is taken literally by all of the characters. They are very funny people and yet they take everything that is said completely literally.  There's a scene in Ricardo Montalban's office with Lieutenant Drebin (Leslie Nielson).  Montalbano holds a box of cigars up in front of the lieutenant and says, "Cuban", offering a Cuban cigar.  Drebin replies, "No, Scotch-Irish my father was from Wales," apparently thinking that Montalban was asking him about his ancestry and not noticing the Cuban cigars that are right in front of his nose.

The Zucker brothers humor is also accidentally sarcastic, which is tough to explain.  Sargent Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) gets shot early in the movie during an undercover operation and the Captain (George Kennedy) tells Drebin that Nordberg has a ninety percent chance of recovering from the gun shot wounds. Then he says there's only a fifty percent shot at that.  They are talking about boxers and one of the guys says "I know Kid Cleveland, he fights out of Minneapolis, and the Texas Tornado fights out of Chicago."

The Naked Gun is about a corrupt Los Angeles businessman (Ricardo Montalban) who uses his legitimate business as a  cover for his criminal organization.  He has a big drug shipment coming into Los Angeles.  Police Squad, a big shot division of LAPD is all over it.  Sargent Nordberg is shot during their investigation.  Drebin and his team  are investigating the drug shipment while the Queen of England is visiting Los Angeles.

Montalban and his crew want the drug shipments to go through and to assassinate the Queen of England.  Police Squad has inside information that someone is trying to kill her.  Drebin and company have to investigate and stop that from happening.  All of these accident prone people taking everything that is said literally make for an hysterical action comedy.
Retro Whiz TV: Naked Gun 1988 Trailer

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie Clips: Airplane 1980- A Satire About 1970s American Culture Inside of a Disaster Movie

Source: Movie Clips- Leslie Nielsen-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

When I think of the 1970s,  I think of a depressing decade that got better as the culture, entertainment and fashion improved. We went from hippy culture and bellbottoms to flares in the early and mid 1970s  to tight, designer, dark wash denim jeans and disco by the late 1970s, with all sorts of horrible things in between.

Airplane 1980 shows you a lot of this in a ninety minute film.  It is a satire about a very strange decade and captures many of the cultural details.  The movie itself has to do with food poisoning on an airliner that affects all three of the flight crew leaving no one to fly the plane except for a passenger who was a combat pilot in some made up war.  It suggests never eating airplane food and thanking God (unless you're and atheist) for food courts at airports.

The movie has references to  Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, early on.  There's a disco scene involving Robert Hayes and Julie Hagerty.  Leisure suits, flare pants and bellbottoms are in evidence.  A women suffering from food poisoning says that she's hasn't felt this bad since she saw that Ronald Reagan movie. A women in her seventies serves as a translator for two African-American men who apparently only speak jive (which would be called Ebonics today).

Of course there is the great Cohen brothers humor of people doing really dumb things because someone gets the wrong idea about something.  Someone asks a ground crew member signaling the pilot of a plane to to its gate with his light wands where the fork lift is.  Without thinking, the crew says, "Over there," and points to the side with his wands.  The pilot of the taxiing plane follows the direction of the wands and crashes the plane into the gate.

The humor of the Cohen brothers, expressed in Airplane is spontaneous which is my style of humor.  Part of it is based on taking everything that people say absolutely literally.   Dr. Womack (Leslie Nielson) says to Ted Striker (Robert Hayes) that if they don't land this plane soon several passengers will die from food poisoning.  Striker says, "Surely, you can't be serious."  Womack replies, "I am serious and don't call me Shirley."

Airplane 1980 is a, sort of, spinoff of more serious airplane disaster movies of the 1970s, starting in 1970 with Airport.  Parts of each of these movies appear in Airplane 1980.  The end result is hysterical.
Movie Clips: Airplane 1980 Trailer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flanagan: Network 1976- An Inside Look Into Modern Contemporary News Media

Source: Flanagan-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Anyone who's interested in modern network news should watch the movie Network from 1976.  It's almost forty years old now and except for the modern technology, the new players and the new stories they'd be hard pressed to see any differences between the two eras.  Shows in both address what people will watch and assume that hard news is boring and that most people get the news in which they are interested from their smart phones (today, anyway).   They work long days, come home and are only interested in what some celebrity did at some party, what they wore or some other celebrity gossip.

Network is about a struggling TV network called United Broadcasting System (UBS) and its struggling news division, UBS News. Their lead news anchor, Howard Beale (the great Peter Finch) has a nervous breakdown live on his nightly newscast, perhaps because of his awful ratings (the movie does  not make that clear).  He starts swearing on national network TV back when cable TV was just getting going and not yet a major medium.

The news executives and other network executives conclude that Beale has to be taken off the air completely but give him one last newscast to say goodbye to his audience (the two people remaining outside of UBS) because of his long distinguished career in journalism and with UBS News.  Beale takes this opportunity to continue his rant and tell his audience that the whole world is bullshit and that people should be mad as hell and not stand for it anymore.

Well, to get Network you have to first understand the times. This movie takes place in, I believe 1975, even though it came out in 1976.  America was going through a rough recession combined with high unemployment, high inflation, high interest rates, high costs of living and everything else that makes life expensive.  Beale, here, is presenting this to his audience and saying that they shouldn't stand for it anymore.

Fay Dunaway's character is a program executive at UBS who sees a big opening for herself and a way to profit from Beale and the malaise that the country is suffering.  She gives him his own new show, a nightly rant about everything that sucks in the world.  The show is a hit, at least at first,  This is one of the first instances of network news becoming a money-making business first and public service second.

Network foretold CNN, MSNBC, FNC and all of the so-called reality TV networks 30-35 years before their time.  I'm not aware of a movie before or since that was so prescient.  With its great writing, cast, and humor it is one of the best movies of all time and one of my personal favorites.