Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Synecdoche, NY - new trailer

Check out the new trailer for Synecdoche, NY the directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Human Nature, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). It stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman who is definitely one of the best actors working now, and the trailer is gorgeous. Kaufman appears to be a quick study as a director, if this trailer is any indication. This is right up there with Benjamin Button as my most anticipated film. Watch the trailer here:


Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh, There Goes That Darn Caitalism Again..

I don't blame Democrats, in an election year, for jumping on every bad piece of news in the world and trying to spin that to their advantage. It's just the smart thing to do. However, on the issue of the economy, specifically the recent financial meltdown, and proposed bailout package, I would tread lightly. Because as soon as they start pointing fingers they're quickly going to find that they're pointing back at themselves.

This whole mess was a creation of the government, broadly, and more specifically, leftist policies and laws. And now these same people who created the mess are running around decrying the evils of capitalism and how badly it has failed us here. When in reality capitalism didn't fail us because, when it comes to the financial system, and these financial institutions, a free market hasn't been in place for quite some time. No, these failures are the results of government intrusion INTO the free market.

The best illustration of this is the Community Reinvestment Act passed under Carter which forced lenders to loan to poor people, regardless of their ability to pay off these loans. And if banks didn't make these loans, then that would be held against them if they ever chose to merge. That was the leverage government held over the market, making it a not-so-free market. Do you really think any sane person operating a business, under a truly capitalistic system, would loan money to people who couldn't pay it back, absent governmental coercion? Of course not.

So what happens when Banks and lenders make loans to people who can't afford them? Well, as long as the market is going up, there's no immediate problem as the people can refinance and use the equity in their house to pay their mortgage, and keep doing this. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is a house built on quicksand. A house of cards waiting to crumble. And now it has, as every intelligent person with any foresight knew was going to happen.

So thanks to the quasi-socialists laws and practices put into place by Democratic lawmakers, politicians and bureaucrats, we now are faced with this problem. And the government is having to fix a government created problem with MORE government infiltration and regulation. See the common thread here? Any recurring them you're noticing? A certain word popping out? That's right. Government. That which we need less of and not more of. The source of our problems, not the cure of them. The government that Barack Obama will tell you flat out he plans to expand hugely.

And, even with all this being the case, you still have liberal Democrats, with Obama out in front, out there claiming this is a result of the Bush administrations failed economic policies. Note that he can't logically connect any specific policy to this meltdown, because there is no connection. He just speaks in vague terms about the 'failed Republican economic policies'. Meanwhile, it can be directly show that his own party are the architects of this disaster. The irony is thick. Wise up, people. The question is a lot more complex than "durr, something bad happened while Bush was in office, must be his fault, du-hur". Think.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vote Obama!... Actually, don't.

"How could you not like Obama?" Um, more like how could I possibly even consider liking him? I am a conservative, with conservative beliefs and principles. Obama is the most liberal member of the US Senate. The end. It's a non-starter. Even if you question National Journals ranking of him as the number 1 liberal, as that is obviously somewhat subjective, I don't think anyone would argue the fact that he's at least in the top 5 or 10. So what's there for me to even consider? He wants retreat and surrender in Iraq; I want to stay the course. He thinks it was a mistake to go into Iraq in the first place; I think it was an absolute necessity. He has said he would meet with the likes of Ahmedenijahd with no preconditions; I think that's asinine. He's for strict gun controls; I'm pro 2nd-amendment. He's for unfettered abortion rights; I think abortion is murder. He has said that he would appoint liberal judges in the mold of Ginsberg; I want conservative, constructionist judges appointed. He wants to socialize healthcare; I believe in free market solutions. He wants to raise taxes, and increase federal spending on social programs; I want to cut taxes and cut spending. He's a global warming alarmist; I think it's not a big problem and that economic prosperity and freedom is a more important concern that usually trumps environmental concerns. He wants "comprehensive immigration reform" AKA amnesty; I want enforcement first, along with deportations. What am I missing? How could I possibly even consider voting for someone who believes the opposite of me on basically every important issue?

The real question is why any conservative, or even moderate for that matter, would ever contemplate voting for someone who is SO liberal. It doesn't make sense to me. "Obama is a uniter?" Uh, how do you figure? Doesn't a uniter do things like compromise? Why then does Obama toe the democratic party line on literally every issue imaginable? If anything it's MCCAIN (who I'm not a big fan of either, by the way) who could rightly be labeled a 'uniter' of sorts. He CO-AUTHORED McCain-Kennedy, and McCain-Feingold. Both of which were liberal legislation that conservatives and Republicans opposed. His name is in the titles for heaven's sake. He's against waterboarding. He's for that cap-and-trade nonsense. He voted against Bush's (brilliant) tax cuts TWICE. He's constantly reaching across the aisle to liberal democrats. You want unity? You want change? Then McCain is your guy. You want standard-issue, democratic party-line politics? Go Obama.

So, without even considering Obama's character, I can already say that I would never vote for him based on his values and beliefs alone. All this without even breaching the issue to his questionable character and personal decisions i.e. attending a church with a pastor who preaches hatred of America, and racism from the pulpit. Marrying a woman who has never been proud of this country. Serving on boards and giving speeches with an unrepentant terrorist etc.

He's attempting to sell that he's a post-politics politician, above the fray, and unsullied by politics-as-usual. You might even be tempted to believe him given his short, and relatively 'clean' recor. But look at the Jeremiah Wright situation and you quickly see that he's the quintessential politician who will say and do whatever helps him get elected. That is: when he first responded to the Wright situation, he refused to distance himself from his pastor. "I can no more disown him than I can the black community". Uh, Ok. A month later, when Wright went on a speaking tour in the middle of Obama's campaign that was severely hurting Obama, Obama instantly threw Wright under the bus. And Obama even ADMITTED that the reason he was upset at Wright WASN'T because of what he was saying (i.e. hating America, government creating AIDS as a form of eugenics, etc.), because Wright wasn't saying anything new, or different than he had said before. But he was upset with Wright because Wright had the nerve to put himself in the public eye at a time that it was hurting Obama's campaign. If that's not the very definition of a self-serving politician, I don't know what is. Not to mention it illuminates the fact that he was well aware of the type of statements and ideas that Wright stands for when he was sitting in the pew for 20 years listening to the garbage.

So, if you are a liberal yourself, then i completely understand why you would want to vote for Barack Obama. He shares your ideals, and he's a very talented speaker (and speech-writer for that matter). That makes sense. If you are a conservative, or moderate, then he doesn't share most of your ideals, and has no intention on compromising on his own. So what could you possibly find attractive about electing him? "But I don't like McCain either". That's understandable. Truth be told, McCain is not a conservative either. But if that's the case then it would seem to me your choices are between voting McCain and not voting at all. Rather than vote for someone who is going to devote every breath he takes to fighting AGAINST what you believe.

But if you do decide to vote for him, and he does happen to get elected, then I hope you have a good time at the celebration rally. As you find yourself wedged between an atheist, Marxist professor with The Communist Manifesto tucked under his arm on one side and a San Franciscan transsexual hippy pothead on the other. And as you gaze at the trannies adam's apple bobbing up and down gently between gasps of exultation I hope you wonder to yourself "what am i doing here?" Because I was wondering the same thing.

Upcoming Films and Trailers

The first half of the year only produced a handful of worthwhile films, which is typical. The 2 best films I've seen so far this year are probably WALL-E and The Dark Knight. I admittedly didn't see that many films, though, as very few piqued my interest.

The 2nd half of the year always has a lot more interesting films. Here are a few that are on my radar for the second half of the year. In the approximate order from most to least anticipated.

1) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - The latest project from probably my favorite living director, David Fincher, finds him teaming up with Brad Pitt once again (as they did on two of my favorite films, Se7en and Fight Club). It's based on a an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story and the trailer is really phenomenal. Fincher's latest work, Zodiac, was another masterpiece, so it will be interesting to see if he hits another one out of the park.


2) The Wrestler - Coming off of the brilliant 'The Fountain', Darren Aronofsky is back with 'The Wrestler'. Starring Mickey Rourke as an aging wrestler seeking to regain some of his past glory, but with some troubling personal and family issues. It just recently premiered at Venice Film Festival and won the top honor there. Aronofsky is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today, and he is for 3/3 so far in my book (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain). This will mark the first time he hasn't worked with cinematographer Matthew Libatique on a film of his, and all the early reviews say his signature visual flair is definitely absent. Resulting in this film having a grittier, toned down, 70s drama look and feel to it. I'm very interested to see how this will turn out.

3) Burn After Reading - The Coen Brothers' follow up to No Country For Old Men (one of my two favorite movies from last year) has them returning to their bread and butter; the dark comedy. As opposed to drama/thriller. This film also stars Pitt, oddly. And features an excellent cast including John Malkovich who is always awesome. Prior to NCFOM, the Coen's had been in a rut with a couple of lackluster comedies. Will be interesting to see if they return to form in the genre.
(EDIT: This is no longer upcoming, it came out last week and is excellent. Check it out)


4) Blindness - I read the dystopian novel by Jose Saramago about a year or two ago, and thought it was one of the better novels I had read in quite a while. Shortly after I had read it I heard that Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God (easily one of the top 10 films of the 2000s), was going to be directing an adaptation of the novel. That's a pretty potent combination of strong source material, and a very talented director at the helm, so I was highly anticipating it before I even saw a trailer. The trailer itself is actually underwhelming, and even looks like a sterilized, Hollywood version of the universe. But I still have high hopes for this one.


5) Choke - I'm actually not expecting too much from this. It's based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club). I read the book a few years ago, and I thought it was one of Palahniuk's weakest books. In addition, this is the director's first film. So he's untested and unproven. However, Sam Rockwell as the lead was a very excellent casting choice. After seeing Fincher adapt Palahniuk, though, I envision all of his novels as i read them as though they're being directed by Fincher. So I'm just curious to see how someone else will handle the source material.


There are undoubtedly some other upcoming films worth checking out that I either forgot or don't know about, but these top my list.

Wii Records

For all you wii peoples, compare and contrast records. Some I don't know because as far as I know you can't see the records unless you play the game and get to the end, and i didn't take the time to do that for some of the games. And some of the games I just don't play much.

Wii Fit
Ski Slalom (beginner): 18.75s (closing in on world record, 18.15s)
Ski Slalom (advanced): 33.65s
Heading (beginner): 555 (tied for world record)
Heading (advanced): 655 (tied for world record)
Hula Hoop: 312 (a little ways to go for world record 334)
Tight Rope (beginner): 26.96s
Tight Rope (advanced): 32.10s
Tight Rope (expert): 45.2s
Table Tilt (beginner): 118 pts
Table Tiltl (advanced): 93 pts
Bubble (beginner): 29.73s
Bubble (Advanced): 33.25s
Penguin: 125 (approaching world record, 133)
Ski Jump: 354m
Snow Board (beginner): 19.26
Snow Board (advanced): 39.63

Wii Sports
Bowling: 300 (3 consecutive 300s)
Golf: -10
Tennis: 2275 skill ranking

Obama: yeeeahh, about those tax hikes on the rich I've been promising...

Mr. Stephanopoulos: "So even if we're in a recession next January, you come into office, you'll still go through with your tax increases?"

Senator Obama: "No, no, no, no, no. What I've said, George, is that even if we're still (emphasis added for LOLz) in a recession, I'm going to go through with my tax cuts. That's my priority.

Mr. Stephanopoulos: "But not the increases?"

Senator Obama: "I think we've got to take a look and see where the economy is. ..."

In his interview with George Stephonopolus, Barack Obama said that he would NOT go through with his tax hikes on the rich if the economy were still hurting. Why? Because he knows that raising taxes on the rich would discourage investment, hurt job creation, and that, in a struggling economy, that would be a bad thing. Ok, so it appears Obama has half seen the light. He now knows that 'taxing the rich' is an absurd policy... but only when the economy is bad, or struggling. But when the economy is good, it's OK to decrease incentive to invest, to hurt job creation, to hurt revenues to the government etc.? Make sense, please.

The absurdity of Obama's economic policies weren't only being exposed (perhaps unknowingly) by Stephanopoulos, but also in O'reilly's interview with the Senator. Bill pointed out that under Bush's tax cuts revenue to the government increased by 20%. Anyone who understands economics knows why this is; cut taxes, people have more money to spend, to invest, to hire others if they are business owners, etc. and the economy grows, and therefore, even though the rates you're taxing at are lower, the growth of the economy more than makes up for that. When confronted with this fact Obama had no response. When you increase taxes, it's lose-lose, for both tax-or and tax-ee. You ultimately hinder economic growth, standard of living, job creation etc., and in so doing, you hinder the government's own ability to generate revenue, even though you're collecting at a higher rate. On the surface it's counterintuitive, but it's the absolute truth. Of course, there is a lower limit to this... we can't just tax 1%, for example. There is a theoretical point where taxes could be too low that government couldn't take in enough $ to do it's essential functions. But, in practice, this point has never been reached, or even approached, and as a nation, at least in modern times, we have ALWAYS been overtaxed, which is why lowering taxes is ALWAYS a good thing. Because they are, and always have been, too high. Don't believe me? Don't have common sense? Are a toe-tag, braindead liberal? Turn to one of your party's gods, and he'll tell you the same thing:

JFK "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy, which can bring a budget surplus."

Furthermore, beyond the mere question of whether a highly graduated tax system is a good idea in terms of the economic effects it would have, we have the question of what is right and just. And what is right and just is that what belongs to me, belongs to me, and what belongs to you, belongs to you. And it's not the government's place to take from one party and give to another, which is what a highly graduated tax system does. We don't need to graduate the percentages you owe the government, because that's the whole purpose of taxing based on a percentage of your income in the first place. 10% of $50,000 is $5,000, 10% of $5,000,000 is $500,000. The person who makes a lot more has to pay a lot more... the person who makes a lot less has to pay a lot less. Which is just, fair, and righteous. Even if you feel, as I do, that it's the moral obligation of someone who makes a lot more than they need, to give generously to those who need help, why is there a need for government in this equation? Needy person + wealthy person = wealthy person gives to needy person. We don't need government to force or facilitate this transfer. "But what if the wealthy don't feel like giving?" That's their prerogative. And many individuals are greedy and won't give. But, as a whole, we live in the single most generous nation on the planet, and have one of the least needy, least destitute populations on the planet. And it's not because our government takes care of us so well; it's because we take care of each other so well. Indeed, if government does anything it's hinder us by it's massive intrusions into our lives and our pocketbooks. Intrusions Barack Obama is fully intending to make more massive.