Daily Archives: February 28, 2011

Poll shows Walker’s overreach

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks to the media ...

Associated Press photo

Embattled Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has the support of only a third of the nation in his attempt at union-busting, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll.

Politico reports today on a nationwide poll taken by The New York Times and CBS News that shows that only 33 percent agree with Wisconsin Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker’s contention that it’s acceptable to strip public-sector union members of their right to collectively bargain.

Further, a sizeable majority of 56 percent oppose cutting public workers’ pay or benefits as a way to deal with state budget deficits, which also blows out of the water Walker’s contention that it is acceptable to deal with a state’s budget deficit by making members of the working class pay for the problem that they didn’t create.

Walker, if he is able to remain in office for a full first term, certainly won’t see a second term. His political career is toast.

The Times/CBS News poll shows that Walker has the support of only the roughly one-third of Americans who are wingnuts, who go along with whatever the ringleaders of the right are doing at the moment, and the right-wing “cause” du jour is union-busting, as evidenced by this graphic from a fundraising e-mail that I received today from the National Repugnican Senatorial Committee:

The one-third or so of Americans who are wingnuts are loud and obnoxious, no doubt, but they are the minority, and the rest of us are — or, were until recently, anyway — truly the silent majority, those of us who are sick and fucking tired of being told that we are the cause of the nation’s economic problems while the treasonous Wall Street criminals who put us into this mess (and who have the full support of the Repugnican Tea Party) remain unprosecuted.

It is the plutocrats’ wet fucking dream to destroy our federal, state and local governments, which are the last barrier to our becoming serfs to our corporate feudal overlords.

So devoid of any decency whatsofuckingever are the plutocrats that they’re attacking even our public-school teachers. They are doing this for several reasons, of course: one, they want to privatize our schools because they hate to see any operation from which they are not profiting obscenely, and they are perfectly OK with decimating our public-school system to the point that only the children of the rich and the super-rich get anything like a decent education, while the rest of our children, like the children of third-world nations, get grossly substandard educations or none at all; two, they want total control of what is taught and what is not taught in our schools, even though corporations already have undue influence over our public-school curricula; three, they want the American educational system to make the masses even more ignorant and even more obedient, which the schools, under their command, would do; and four, they constantly are on the lookout for supposed internal enemies, be they non-heterosexuals, non-Christians, “illegals” — and yes, even our public-school teachers.

But back to Scott Walker.

Clearly his political calculations were grossly in error. His colossal fucking ego prevents him from admitting this, but I have no doubt in my mind that, if he could go back in time and do things differently, he would.

He claims that it doesn’t bother him that he has drawn protests in Madison the size of which haven’t been seen since the Vietnam War — as many as 100,000 protesters there on Saturday, which saw protests of varying sizes in the capitals of every state of the nation — but I have no doubt that privately it disturbs him greatly that his state’s capital, thanks to him, resembles one of the Middle Eastern nations whose dictators are toppling like dominoes.

Thankfully, the more that Walker digs in his heels, the more that the political noose that he has looped around his neck tightens; give a fucking fool enough rope and he’ll hang himself.

At this point, Walker is fairly trapped. Wanting, in his own words, to be the next Ronald Reagan, he has alienated the majority of the people of Wisconsin, but he also wants to show the national Repugnican Tea Party what a bad-ass he is. He probably could succeed with that in a red state, but he is in a purple state: Wisconsin went to the Democratic presidential candidate in the past six president elections; the last Repugnican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin was Reagan in 1984. (Barack Obama in 2008 garnered 56 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, which was a better showing than Bill Clinton or Michael Dukakis had in the state in 1988, 1992 and 1996.)

Walker took a huge political gamble — and he lost.

Rather than destroying the nation’s labor unions, which is the goal of the Repugnican Tea Party and the plutocrats who fund it, Walker, by being such an incredibly craven asshole, has inspired the center, the center-left and the left — not only in Wisconsin but nationwide — in a way that President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party could not do in the mid-term elections of 2010.

Now, not only is Obama’s re-election almost guaranteed, but Wisconsin’s next governor will be a Democrat, and I will be surprised if at least one of the state’s two houses doesn’t revert to Democratic control in 2012.

For Scott Walker, it’s all over but the crying — but he is, I’m sure, crying on his pillow at night right now.

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Worst. Oscars. Ever?

Oscars Live Report

Melissa Leo accepts the Oscar for best actress ...

AFP and Associated Press photos

The writers of this year’s Oscars ceremony couldn’t even make Anne Hathaway and James Franco in drag funny, and Melissa Leo’s accidental use of the f-word while accepting her best supporting actress Oscar was the biggest surprise of the evening.

I like James Franco and Anne Hathaway, and I had thought that they might actually make pretty decent Oscar hosts. I was wrong.

Much of it wasn’t their fault. The writing of the Oscars ceremony was for shit. Franco was unusually wooden, and Hathaway wasn’t as bouncy as I’d thought she might be. If she isn’t careful, the role that she played in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” — that of the rather empty-headed White Queen — might come to define her.

But again, most of it was the writing. There were too many self-referential (and unfunny) lines about trying to capture the youthful audience with this year’s show and too few funny lines, period.

That “The King’s Speech” would win the most number of awards was a given, so there were few surprises.

When the most talked-about element of the show is that the best supporting actress winner accidentally uttered the f-word on live television (which was bleeped out due to a few seconds’ time delay, apparently), you know that there’s a problem.

I like Colin Firth — he was great in “A Single Man” — but his performance in “The King’s Speech” wasn’t the best performance of the year. Javier Bardem did a much better job in “Biutiful.”

I like Natalie Portman enough, but her Oscar win for best actress for “Black Swan” wasn’t the best performance of the year. Jennifer Lawrence did a better job in “Winter’s Bone.”

“The King’s Speech,” to me, suffered mostly from weak subject matter. That a former king of England overcame a stutter isn’t very compelling material, which one of the film’s producers seemed to admit himself in his acceptance speech for the Oscar for best picture — he indicated that he’d been concerned that no one would find the material worthy enough to back its production and distribution, if memory serves.

“The King’s Speech” is well made — well directed, well written, well acted, well designed, etc. (indeed, virtually every moment of the film screams out “Give me an Oscar already!” [and this screaming worked]) — but do those things matter when the storyline itself is so ho-hum? Just as “truthiness” has replaced the truth, is “Oscariness” going to replace actual Oscar-worthiness?

Admittedly, I have yet to see “The Social Network” or “Toy Story 3,” but that these two highly commercial films, along with the highly commercial “Inception” (which I did see), won so many nominations, including for best picture (for all three), makes me wonder in what direction the Oscars are headed. That a film is a commercial success doesn’t automatically mean that it isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it seems as though the Oscars are becoming more like the People’s Choice Awards.

And the tech-emphasis-heavy Oscars, including not just so many nods to “The Social Network” and “Inception,” but even a mildly-funny-at-best Auto-tune segment, tried way too hard to be hip.  

And do we really need 10 films nominated for best picture when in the other major categories (actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director) there are only five nominees? I’d like to see it reduced to no more than seven or eight nominees for best picture.

Finally, while I have no problem with Brits and Australians, the Brits and Australians on this year’s Oscars seemed to have outnumbered the Americans. Are we Americans this devoid of filmmaking excellence?

If we are, then maybe we should move the Oscars from Los Angeles to London or Sydney.

Just sayin’.

I consider the Oscars to be the “Gay Super Bowl,” and this year’s Gay Super Bowl was dismal.

P.S. Oprah Winfrey’s appearance on the Oscars was a little creepy — I once read someone refer to her as a corporation, and that’s fairly accurate — and ABC’s little corporate plug was offensive, but I do recommend that you see “Inside Job,” the winner for best documentary, the award that Winfrey announced.

“Inside Job,” about the Wall Street criminals who put our nation into economic collapse (um, yeah, it wasn’t the members of public-sector labor unions who did that), is a must-see, and I love the fact that the filmmaker, in his acceptance speech, pulled a mild Michael Moore and noted that not one of the Wall Street crooks has yet to see the inside of a jail cell for his or her crimes (which, in my book, amount to treason).

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