Daily Archives: August 1, 2011

You have to be brain-damaged to celebrate what they’ve just done to you

In this image from House Television, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., center, appears on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise. (AP Photo/House Television)

Associated Press image

Your future is being dismantled, chunk by chunk, by the partisan duopoly in D.C. — but hey, look! There’s Gabrielle Giffords!

No offense, but what does it say that a literally brain-damaged congressperson voted “yes” on your legislation?

But seriously, apparently the “feel-good” “news” story of the day is that Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was capped in the head by yet another white male psychopath/sociopath in Tucson in January, returned to the U.S. House of Representatives just in time in order to give her thumbs-up to the Capitulator in Chief’s latest selling out of yet another huge chunk of the store to the plutocratic and pro-plutocratic right wing.

Reports The Associated Press tonight:

Washington, D.C. — Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the [U.S.] House [of Representatives tonight], breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.

The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.

A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.

“If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions.

After months of fierce struggle, the House’s top Republican and Democratic leaders swung behind the bill, ratifying a deal sealed Sunday night with a phone call from House Speaker John Boehner to President Barack Obama.

Many Republicans contended the bill still would cut too little from federal spending; many Democrats said much too much. Still, Republican lawmakers supported the compromise, 174-66, while Democrats split, 95-95.

“The legislation will solve this debt crisis and help get the American people back to work,” Boehner said at a news conference a few hours before the vote.

The Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was far less effusive. “I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments in it. That’s why I’m voting for it.”

So, too, many of the first-term Republicans whose election in 2010 handed the GOP control of the House and set the federal government on a new, more conservative course.

“It’s about time that Congress come together and figure out a way to live within our means,” said one of them, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. “This bill is going to start that process although it doesn’t go far enough.”

The measure would cut federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion over a decade — and possibly considerably moreand would not require tax increases. [Emphasis mine.] The U.S. debt limit would rise by at least $2.1 trillion, tiding the Treasury over through the 2012 elections. …

I’m happy that Giffords is doing better these days, but does that fucking erase the fact that, chunk by chunk, my future as a forty-something, as a member of the crew that has to follow with shovels the elephants in the parade that are the fucking baby boomers, is being destroyed by the overwhelmingly self-serving, legacy-ignoring baby-boomer “leaders” in Washington? And that Capitulator in Chief Barack Obama is happily helping them in the name of “bipartisanship”?

Oh, we’re seeing a lot of “change,” all right — the decimation of Social Security and Medicare, which I’ve been paying into since I was a teenager, and other public benefits sure the fuck is a change, just not the change that I’d hoped for, and certainly not the change that President Hopey-Changey Obama had promised us.

But I suppose that I’m a heartless ogre if I am not mindlessly distracted by the “feel-good” fact that Gabrielle Giffords was there to vote “yes” on the further destruction of my nation, to endorse the further widening of the gulf between the rich and the poor in the rapidly crumbling United States of America.

I haven’t blogged on the “debt ceiling crisis” until now for many reasons:

One, I’ve come to expect Barack Obama to sell us out. He consistently and predictably sells us out. He is committed to selling us out. (He always has wanted to be the next Ronald Reagan, remember. He is succeeding spectacularly.)

Two, I’ve always figured that “at the last minute” they (the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, well, don’t feel badly, because most of the rest of us can’t, either) would announce some “breakthrough” “deal,” thus “miraculously” averting “economic Armageddon!”

Three, I’ve always figured that this has been bullshit all along, that this always has been just an elephant-and-donkey show, that the Democrats and the Repugnicans are in bed together and that a “last-minute deal” always was in the script, that the fear-mongering was meant to create the illusion among the masses that there’s actually some struggle for the soul of the nation going on in D.C. — and not, say, the collusion of, for and by two duopolistic parties that don’t give a flying fuck about you or me that’s actually going on.*

Fuck, they even threw The Return of Gabrielle Giffords into the script.

If I wasn’t a conspiracy theorist before (and I wasn’t), I think that I am now.

*No, this statement is not an endorsement of “Americans Elect.” “Americans Elect” is evil. The Wall Street weasels who have caused our economic collapse are not the ones to turn to for solutions.

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Chris Evans can’t save ‘Captain America’

Film review

Chris Evans stars as Captain America/Steve Rogers in "Captain America: The First Avenger" -- Paramount

In “Captain America,” the talented actor Chris Evans (shown in and out of uniform) does the best he can with the material that he was given.

Actor Chris Evans, from "Captain America", poses for a portrait at the LMT Music Lodge during Comic Con in San Diego, Thursday, July 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Associated Press photo

“Captain America: The First Avenger” is widely said to be the best of this summer’s crop of super-hero movies. I disagree.

While better than “Thor,” which isn’t saying much, “Captain America” falls short of “X-Men: First Class.”

The best thing that “Captain America” has going for it is the charismatic Chris Evans, who engagingly played the “Fantastic 4”’s smart-assed Johnny Storm and who did a great turn in the sci-fi film “Sunshine.” Like “Sunshine,” “Captain America” isn’t worthy of Evans’ talents, unfortunately.

“Captain America” in a post-Abu-Ghraib world doesn’t woefully overdo the nauseating patriotic crap, but doesn’t give the good captain an awful lot to do that is very interesting once he finally meets and far exceeds his goal of fighting for the U.S. military against Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

In the action Captain America repeatedly loses his one-of-a-kind, impenetrable shield, which he always gets back, we quickly learn, so that trick gets old fairly fast — seriously, the character of the patriotic, skinny, sickly pre-Captain-America Steve Rogers is more interesting than is the fairly invincible hulk that he is morphed into — and the Red Skull, the villain, played by Hugo Weaving, is captivating for all of about five minutes.

True, a friend of mine who had seen “Captain America” before I did had told me that the Nazi-accented Red Skull sounds just like the Austrian-born former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and so every time the Red Skull spoke I heard not the Red Skull, but Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger, and I have wondered if maybe they’d wanted Schwarzenegger to play the role but couldn’t get him, and so they asked Hugo Weaving to do his best Schwarzenegger.

In any case, the glowing blue cube that is supposed to be the source of the Red Skull’s power is not very interesting and not very creative. I’m sick of movies in which we’re just supposed to accept some mysterious power, whether it glows a pretty blue or green. (On that note, I haven’t seen “Green Lantern,” since it roundly got shitty reviews, but just about everyone for some reason has said how great “Captain America” is, which is why I saw it.

And I don’t care that something was in some comic book first, by the way. Something works in a movie or it doesn’t, regardless of its source.)

And we’ve had plenty of movies about Nazis and about Nazis interested in occult powers — “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Hellboy” come immediately to mind. Did we really need another? The retro (World-War-II-era) look of “Captain America” is fairly cool, but didn’t we kinda already see that in the unfortunate “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”?

Tommy Lee Jones does a great job as Steve Rogers’/Captain America’s commanding officer, but it’s the same role of the cranky old man that Jones has been playing for some years now, unfortunately.

And the time-traveling twist at the end of “Captain America” is more likely to make the viewer feel a bit ripped off rather than ooohed and ahhhed — and feel way too rushed to be prepped for Captain America’s next cinematic appearance, which, presumably, will take place in the present. (Again, even if it was in a comic book first, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be good for a film.)

In a nutshell, with “Captain America” it’s been there, done that. It’s a fairly technically well done rehash, but it’s a rehash nonetheless.

Love Chris Evans. “Captain America” — not so much.

My grade: C+

P.S. The showing that I attended was in 3-D. Oops. I hadn’t even known that they’d released it in 3-D. The 3-D effects make no difference, though, as nothing comes flying at you. Not even the shield. Why they released it in 3-D, other than for increased profits, eludes me.

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