Star Wars: a saga revived, or enough already, let it die?

As many of you may know or at least heard something of, J.J. Abrams released the first trailer of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” And the general response has been positive, aside from nitpicking over what appears to a screw up on the new Sith lightsaber design, and a bizarre controversy over the appearance of a black stormtrooper during the trailer.

 

While the original trilogy is beloved both by critics and fans, the prequel trilogy is far more controversial. Partially because George Lucas insisted on writing and having full control over the script.  The SFX are astounding, groundbreaking for when they came out.  And it probably caused many a fan to overlook obvious issues in the films.  Myself included.  I was extremely hyped at the idea of a new Star Wars for my generation. And aside from the cringe-worthy Jar-Jar Binks, the film itself wasn’t too bad. It had problems, but nothing that intrinsically wrecked Star Wars. Interestingly enough, they cut out a section during Qui-Gon Jinn’s viking funeral where the camera pans back to show Vader’s shadow and leitmotif behind Anakin. The large amount of action and movement helped offset the lack of pacing and script. Though having a child of 8 or so take out a command ship with one fighter was a bit too much for the suspension of disbelief.  The pod racing, ok. But the last star-fighter battle was just ridiculous.

As par the course in most sci-fi movies, the bad guys once again stole the show.  A mysterious figure who savvy Star Wars fan clearly identified early, and his sidekick….Darth Maul.  Who despite looking very badass, didn’t do all that much aside from killing Qui-gon. The Trade Federation guys were plainly ineffectual and not worth commenting on.

On a side note, the controversy over Watto, the flying blue junk dealer as some kind of jewish stereotype is a waste of breath.  The shifty tradesman who’s only out to make a quick buck regardless of everyone else is a stock character type, and not one that is intrinsically associated with jews.

Moving onto to Attack of the Clones, great SFX, meh plot.  Despite a heroic effort by Christopher Lee, the series still couldn’t get a narrative together.  The plot about Padme and Anakin having to hide their relationship was something that despite being Star Wars canon (A Jedi shall not know love) was just awkward and hard to watch.  Jango provided a nice level of badass despite getting one-shotted by Mace Windu.

The plans for the Death Star however, were something that was bound to cause continuity issues. I’ll talk more about that later.  The other issue was the entire clones plot.  They never actually explain the plot-line about where the clones came from, aside from a side note about a Jedi master from twenty years ago named Sif0-Dyas, a plot line left dangling in the film.  There is no apparent connection between him and the main characters at all, it’s just left out there as a way to explain the clones and why an army has been grown for the last 20 years conveniently.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sifo-Dyas

What the film does not say however, is that the coming darkness that Yoda and other masters sensed had been a concern even twenty years ago, and Master Sifo-Dyas was alerted to it by one Hego Damask, aka Darth Plagueis, the guy who trained Darth Sidious also known as Chancellor and later Emperor, Palpatine. It was he who convinced Sifo-Dyas to commission the clone army in case there was a separatist movement later on, which was a possible concern at the time.  What further plans beyond using the army to instill a Sith empire that Plagueis intended are unknown, because shortly after Senator Palpatine was elected Grand Chancellor, he assassinated his master after getting him drunk.   As for Sifo-Dyas?  He was betrayed by Count Dooku who had him killed and then desecrated his body by using his blood to help create General Grievous and Master Dyas’s saber was turned over to the killer cyborg.

Even part of this being included in the film would have greatly shored up the story.

 

Finally, we come to Revenge of the Sith. The best of the three in many ways, and also Lucas’s greatest failing in terms of writing.  We drop as the Clone War reaches a fever pitch with Coruscant, the government capital world, under an orbital siege.  After a great action sequence, we find Count Dooku holding his boss, Palpatine hostage.  A much improved Anakin disarms Dooku in the literal sense, by slicing off both his hands.  Palpatine gleefully gets Anakin to behead Dooku.

 

That right there, should have been a huge red flag to Anakin that something was wrong.  This was massively out of character for Palpatine’s public identity as a reluctant leader who only wanted to end the conflict as soon as possible.

 

The film also skips over the events of the Clone Wars cartoon show, which showed Grievous at his best, and even explained why he seemed so unpowered and weak compared to there.  It was because shortly before the events of the film began, Mace Windu had force-crushed Grievous’s chest unit and damage his remaining internal organs, thereby giving him the rasping cough and denying him the acrobatics of the cartoon.  Thus making Grievous a threat dispatched…..by blaster to the chest.  An ignominious death unworthy of someone hyped so much prior to the film’s premiere by the cartoon show and advertising.

 

Mace Windu at least, gets a much better death.  Which was by Samuel L. Jackson’s request.  Even if Anakin deciding to turn on the Jedi for the sake of someone who had clearly taken out three other masters whose bodies he passed on the way in, is hard to take in.

 

The corruption apparently worked fast enough that Anakin quickly graduated to child-killing and mass-murder before facing down Obi-Wan……after force-choking his wife unconscious.

 

Padme, decides to just quit living, but only after she conveniently gives birth to, and names, Luke and Leia Skywalker.   After what’s apparently a 15-17 year timeskip, we hit the events of Star Wars Episode IV.

 

And this is where we run into problems.  Palpatine got the 2nd Death Star up in far less time than the first one, it taking fifteen years is just plain ridiculous.  Nor is twenty years long enough for the Jedi to be all but extinct and shrouded in myth.  Vader taking orders from the guy who made him murder his wife (from his point of view anyway), is ludicrous.  Not to mention the image of Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi is of a far older man than what we saw in Episode 3.  Of course, Lucas decided to digitally edit in the young Anakin in place of the old one in newer releases.

 

Thus, if J.J. Abrams just decides to flat out ignore the new trilogy, he would be better off.  The black stormtrooper issue is stupid, mainly because they ran out of clones and had to start taking recruits to meet the needs of the empire.  I’ll withhold judgement on the Sith Lightsaber until I see the film, there might be more to it than meets the eye. I have no idea which of the original cast is coming back, but much like the title of Episode IV, there is a new hope for Star Wars.

 

All we can do, is hope Abrams just tries to tell a good story and doesn’t try to cram in stupid ideas like the Force being caused by microbes called midi-chlorians.

 

Thank you for reading.  Good Night and Good Luck.

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The shutdown post. Because somebody has to explain this bs.

It’s time for a new post. “What’s the government shutdown? And why should I care?”

October 1st: The government shut down as of one minute past midnight eastern time last night. This was a result of negotiations between the house of representatives and the senate to keep government funding going. Due to congress not passing a budget for some time, we have been using something called a continuing resolution. This keeps the government going for a few months or so while giving time to work out a budget in negotiations. The budget is calculated and referred to as the ‘fiscal year’. This is a technical term which is used to calculate financial statements from x date to y date. In the case of the US government, this is from October 1st of the previous year, to September 30th of the year it is numbered. In this case, fiscal year 2013 ended last night. Since congress could not set up an agreement to settle the differences between the house and senate, we get a shutdown. Sounds like both sides are to blame, right?

 

That is a lie that the GOP would love to see perpetuated. The real reason for this shutdown is because the House of Representatives attached a rider to the CR that would have delayed or defunded the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. This bill was sent to the Democratic-controlled senate, where that portion of the bill was stripped out, leaving a clean bill, which was sent back to the house. John Boehner aka “Orange Man” so named for his incredibly tacky fake tan, scuttled the bill and refused to bring it up to a vote as is.

This is because should that bill be brought up for a clean vote, it would almost certainly pass with a few republican defections. The price is John Boehner’s speakership though. The Republicans in congress have a rule known as the “Hastert Rule.” It says no bill can be considered unless it has the support of “the majority of the majority party.” This is a republican rule that they have largely adhered to since the days of Dennis Hastert as speaker of the house in the 90s. Thanks to an influx of new congressmen who are largely Tea Party members, Boehner cannot bring get that majority republican consent. In order to maintain his position as speaker, he must have the votes of a majority of the representatives of the house.

Now, why does a small group like the Tea Party, which has only 49 members in the current house, command such power? Because despite being a minority, they have enough votes to scuttle any republican bills. And furthermore, other republicans are loath to provoke them, because they hold the threat of launching a tea party candidate to battle them in their home state primary elections. This happened to several long time moderate republicans such as Arlen Specter, or Mike Castle. In Castle’s case, he was beaten by Christine O’Donnell, which ended up costing the republicans that seat due to several mishaps including her “I’m not a witch, I’m you” campaign video. (The debacle of her campaign is an entire blog post unto itself which I will not go into here.)

The threat of being primaried is backed by several groups such as the Koch Brothers backed Americans For Prosperity and FreedomWorks. The Club for Growth has threatened to back primary candidates against any republican house member who votes for Obamacare, and indeed, is raising funds to primary several republicans who voted yes on the sequester deal last year.  This has created a new dynamic in the house. Previously, the Speaker could block unruly members of his party from receiving funds for reelection from the party’s National Committee or remove them from choice committee seats, such as Oversight and Government Reform, Agriculture, Financial Oversight, etc.

The Tea parties have independent funding thanks to a variety of shady groups and don’t care about committee seats. Thus, there’s essentially no leverage, particularly since the republican party gerrymandered (rearranged the districts in their favor) enough districts to give them control of the house.

 

October 6th: Getting back to the issue at hand, the shutdown has already begun and so far the effects are mainly annoying for the majority of americans. There is no movement from either side on resolving it. The elephant in the room, (no pun intended, this time) is the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling will be breached sometime after october 17th to 22nd, depending on actions taken by the US treasury department.

What happens at that point? No one knows. It would be an unprecedented event in the history of this country. Most economists are in agreement, that it would be devastating if only in terms of consumer confidence in the United States. Moodys docked our credit rating from AAA 2 years ago due to the brinksmanship and hostage taking the last time we had a close call on this issue. We avoided a showdown in 2012 thanks to the Sequester deal, but there’s no deal this time. And the Democrats aren’t willing to cut spending again, not after they already agreed to the republican budgetary levels as part of the current negotiations on the continuing resolution.

I cannot speculate on when the shutdown will end, but I believe there will be a last minute deal to stop a debt ceiling breach. Even if it’s just to half mutually assured destruction. The tea party of course, is the monkey wrench in the works. No one is quite sure how far they’re willing to go, and whether or not they’ll risk the financial equivalent of a nuclear bomb detonating on the economy.

We can only hope that they come to their senses. It’s an ugly mess, but sooner or later the government will have to re-open. Hopefully, it will not be after America pays the price for GOP hubris.

 

Good Night and Good Luck.

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Election day: and hopefully, the end of Mitt Romney’s ambitions.

Election day has finally come. And the country is faced with what some would call a hard decision. Between the incumbent President Obama who is beset on all sides by a sea of troubles both inherited from his predecessor, and exacerbated by the Tea Party. And the challenger, a successful businessman from Detroit Michigan and former governer of Massachusetts.

Many factors have emerged to differentiate the two, from Obama’s non-denomination christianity, to Mitt Romney’s membership in the controversial church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. Romney’s background is that of a son of a governor and privileged upper-class ivy leaguer. Obama is a man of humble background who worked his way into Harvard.

I could go on about the various ways one can differentiate the two, but at this point, it’s been done to death  by everyone from Fox News to C-SPAN. This is a call to action for the voters, whether voting for Obama or Romney reluctantly, choosing to ignore the election due to apathy at finding no difference between the two or believing their candidate has this in the bag. I have but one message to you. Get out and vote.

Yes, I admit this blog has a strong liberal bias, but people should get out and vote regardless of their political affiliation. However, pause a moment if you will, and consider a few things.

Which candidate stands to continue the same Bush era policies that dragged this country into two wars and the economic quicksand we are just now digging ourselves out of? Which party, furthermore, chose to have a destructive battle over paying debt we already accrued and promised to pay for, the result of which caused the country’s credit rating to be lowered? Which side has distorted the facts and determined voter suppresion is their most viable path to victory?

The GOP, aka the Republican party which in it’s urge to tap it’s base and the extreme right of the Tea Party, has purged almost all of it’s moderates and anyone who refuses to toe the party line of no compromise. It is this party, which rather than let the Bush era tax cuts for the rich expire, decided to hold the country hostage over that and extending unemployment benefits, which at the time of the crisis, were in danger of lapsing. Now, extending benefits further is not the best solution, but to do otherwise when the unemployment ratio was over 10% and the country as a whole was suffering would be inhuman. It was necessary to protect american families who were suffering because of the financial fallout and destruction of jobs.

And what did Mitch McConnell say was his number one priority? “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Does this sound like they have the best interests of this country at heart? Romney declared that he would privatize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and put the onus on the states to respond to national disasters without federal aid. After the path of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, is there anyone who still believes that New York and New Jersey could have responded to this on their own?

Chris Christie was roundly criticized for his response praising Obama for his handling of Sandy. Nevermind that Mitt Romney would have privatized the federal emergency response mechanisms. It always seems to come down to trying to shrink government regardless of the consequences, whether it be the CIA losing human intelligence assets and translators, or the SEC losing regulators and funding. “Starve the beast”, is very much alive and a part of republican doctrine.

I could go on about the ways in which the GOP have gone off the deep end and ceased being a legitimate opposition, but ultimately, this battle is decided by you, the voters.

So I ask, read the facts. Make an informed decision, and vote. As much as Mitt Romney has proved himself a liar and an opportunist, the only way to stop him is to get out and vote. Vote for a sane and science based America. Vote to say no to more wars of choice. Vote to oppose the dark money from the Citizen’s united decision.  And most of all, vote to stop the tea party madness. It’s taken enough of a toll on this country. And it’s time it was purged from this government which it only seeks to subvert and destroy from within.

GET OUT AND VOTE.

Good night and good luck.


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On the recent Middle East riots surrounding a certain film.

It’s been an ugly week in the middle east. Thanks to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka Sam Bacile etc, a coptic christian with far too much time on his hands, and the Reverend Terry Jones (the man who had the brilliant idea of announcing the Quran should be burned and then spreading that message over the internet), the Muslim world is enraged. The ‘film’ “The Innocence of Muslims”, spews many spurious allegations against the religion, including that Muhammed was insane, a pedophile, a murderer, that Islam is a religion of war and dedicated to `enslaving those not of the islamic faith.

I am not here to dispute the allegations. They are so ludicrous that they can dismissed out of hand. I understand muslims being offended. The piece was designed to flip the bird at them. But, my problem is, their reaction is disproportionate. More than that, I just watched the film in question.

It’s utter drek. The production values are below that of a student film, and the narrative is incoherent and inconsistent. First they argue Muhammed is a pedophile, then they claim he’s gay. Later they claim that the Quran itself is actually a mix of subversive teachings from the Coptic Christian church and the Torah, designed to distract Muhammed and keep him from going off the deep end. It is probably superfluous to mention that the Prophet is depicted as insane enough to consider a donkey as the first muslim animal.

And for this, 4 Americans had to die? For this, the middle east is aflame with riots in the streets, rampant property damage, and signs saying that infidels must die, etc? Frankly, the muslim world needs to stop being so thin-skinned. This film was nothing more than an attempt to bait this very reaction or rally evangelist christians. There is a fine line between justifiable outrage, and the kind of fanatical zealotry the world has seen over the last week. The latter is not only unbecoming of decent human beings, it’s the type of behavior that feeds people like Sharon Angle, who two years ago, claimed the US was in danger of being under Shariah law. Or Michelle Bachmann, who wants investigations into secret muslims in our government. Or even in Europe, where this image was captured at Hyde Park, London.

To see a young child, three, four years old, holding a sign proclaiming, “Behead all those who insult the Prophet”, which apparently his mother thought was funny enough to photograph and publish on the web, is disturbing. The Muslim world needs to have a serious conversation about they want to be portrayed on the world stage. They were once a world power, the envy of the west for intellectuals, tolerance, etc. Now, they are stagnant and only relevant due to their supplies of petroleum. From Saudi Arabia, all the way to Indonesia, protests are being staged, all pointing fingers and accusations against the US. And for what? A film that would be laughed out of most film schools even as an amateur work? There seems to be fundamental lack of respect for the idea of freedom of speech. Mr. Nakoula’s film is reprehensible, but he has the right to make it. Despite the reaction of the middle east, I do not believe this falls under “shouting fire in a crowded theatre”, the idea that freedom of speech is not protected when that speech creates a clear and present danger (IE: yelling a false alarm of fire in a crowded venue.) Yes, it was offensive. Yes, it was slanderous and inciteful. But so are publications by the Aryan Brotherhood, Neo-Nazis, the British National Party, etc. And in most of the world, these publications are grudgingly tolerated under freedom of speech. They have the right to such hateful and despicable language, for if they did not, then the rights themselves would have no value.

Thus, my issue is not with the film, but with the reaction to it. And that is where my disgust lies. There is no excuse for this kind of violence and Al Qaeda-esque threats. The various ruling powers of the middle east might tolerate this religious pseudo-terroristic rhetoric and mob mentality, but the rest of the world should be quick to scorn it and inform them that they are not as willing to overlook it. The Imams, Ayatollahs and other religious leaders should be putting a stop to this madness, and the fact that they are not, say one of two things. Either they willfully tolerate it and do not care, or, it has grown out of their control and anyone who tries to impede it will pulled underfoot.

Time will tell what the future of the middle east is, but fundamentalism isn’t it. Religious zealotry will only widen the gulf between the Arab world and the West. The eyes of the world are on the arab streets right now, and not in a good way.

Good Night and Good Luck.

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Down with SOPA/PIPA

There are many voices coming out against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Internet Protocol Act. SOPA and PIPA, despite being different bills, are in fact the same problem merely viewed from different angles. They both restrict internet freedom and neither is better than the other.

Under SOPA, youtube could be shut down just for a person uploading themselves singing to a song if the song is playing in the background. That could be considered copyright infringement. Tumblr? Post something that someone complains about being copyrighted, it’s down. This is not like the previous laws, wherein a copyrighted media/link/picture/etc would be blacked out or removed due to a copyright violation. If one ever searches for something on youtube, chances are you have come across a video that was removed for copyright violation. Now imagine youtube itself shut down over one of those.

PIPA would institute Domain Name System blocking. Under this system, if you type in the name of an offending website, your search engine would be unable to locate it. It would appear as though the site did not exist. The cataclysmic potential of this cannot be understated. This technology would break the functionality of DNS itself. By the nature of Uniform resource locator (URL) design, all DNS hosted on servers should be identical. With this implemented, US servers would have records different from their counterparts in other countries, thereby making URLs less universal and forcing drastic changes on the internet infrastructure.

There are many resources detailing why SOPA/PIPA are terrible ideas. Today, do your part and please help voice your opposition. Write a letter, phone your congressman, put up a facebook alert, but do something so Washington and the various backers of SOPA/PIPA such as the US Chamber of Commerce take notice.

Thank you. Good Night and Good Luck.

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Leapblog review: Shin Mazinger Z

Welcome. Today is the first of a new feature on leapblog. Reviews of music, films, series, video games and more.

Today’s review item is the anime series “Shin Mazinger Shogeki! Z Hen.” Which translates to “True Mazinger Impact! Z Chapter”, in the original japanese. It’s a remake of the legendary anime series “Mazinger Z” from Go Nagai from the 1970s. The story is once again of Kabuto Koji using his grandfather’s super robot, Mazinger Z, to fight the evil Doctor Hell. All the old characters show up again with more current animation styles. And there are many references and in jokes to Go Nagai’s other works.

For example, Viscount Pygman the african shaman, who has not been seen since the 1970s due to an offensive character design. His form was originally a pygmy shaman on the body of a large tribal warrior carrying a spear and shield. This time around, he has the appearance of another Go Nagai character, Jim Mazinger, himself a parody of Mazinger Z.

He’s not the only one to show up from other places, and this technique of taking references and characters from an artist and writer’s collected works is a trademark of the director, Yasuhiro Imagawa, who also directed Giant Robo and G Gundam. Shin Mazinger Z is a homage to the collected works of Go Nagai. The animation is crisp, well shaded, and conspicuously lacking in CGI for the most part. Occasionally you get something like a special attack or the background of Doctor Hell’s lair that’s CGI. But the action and every single character is hand drawn in Go Nagai’s signature style.

Even without knowing anything about this series, if you enjoy seeing giant robots fight and pilots yell out their attacks, this is your series. It’s everything good about the old series, without the filler garbage, or stupid plots. It looks like a general retelling of the old Mazinger Z with a different backstory and a few new characters. And then the plot gets twisted a few times. The backstory actually has a purpose besides setting the stage, and it’s a large part of the overarching plot. The twists are numerous and well integrated. The rashomon effect is in full force at times, and discovering the true nature of events in the backstory becomes increasingly important. What happened to Kenzo Kabuto? Why did Juuzo Kabuto build Mazinger Z? What is Bardos Island and the legends of the Mycenae? And, what is Photon Power? All of these questions will be answered throughout the series in interesting and surprising ways.

Unfortunately, Shin Mazinger Z is not out in this country officially. So the only options are importing a disk, buying it on ebay or at specialty stores, or searching out fan subtitled versions on the internet. In defense of importing or otherwise buying japanese disks, studios in Japan have added English subtitles to most of the DVDs. It’s 26 episodes, and each episode is between 22-25 minutes long, counting opening and ending themes in most episodes.

Thank you. Good Night and Good Luck.

 

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On the question of the Wall Street protests

The ongoing protests on Wall Street have drawn national attention, both for the fact that they are ongoing and possibly growing, and for the police response. Between pepper spraying by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, the orange netting corrals, the officer photographed with his neck on a protestor’s neck, and the blatant snubbing by the mainstream media, it’s surprising that they are still there.

And yet, the protestors remain, and organized labor unions are now starting to take notice and offering to march in solidarity. Thus far the New York transit workers union and Air Line Pilots association have chosen to march in the streets. Today, protestors marched on NYPD headquarters in outrage at their treatment at the hands of officers. It’s very sad that I had to find out about this by browsing the web and not through newspapers or TV news. In fact, aside from the inimitable Keith Olbermann on Current TV, not a single news program has given them any kind of positive coverage.

Fox of course, is demonizing the protestors, even going so far as to argue that the young women who were pepper-sprayed in the face are overreacting, while mentioning that they have never been pepper-sprayed in the same breath. The refrain is near constant: “The protests are meaningless and without a clear message.” The message is only unclear because Fox and various other groups are the targets named by the protestors. They are out on the streets, through the wind, rain, police brutality and scourging, because they don’t know what else to do.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has applauded them, saying it is focusing a much-needed spotlight on Wall Street and their actions over the past few years. We had one of the worst economic crises in the history of this country, and 3 years later, not one of the culprits has been punished. The major banking institutions, the companies trading in derivatives, the energy and food futures speculation that is helping to drive up prices, none of them have been called to account for their actions. The banks even had the gall to institute fees on debit cards in response to the Dodd-Frank bill (which was a response to the economic crisis) and the durbin amendment therein, which capped fees the banks could levy on merchants. Bank of America is leading the charge with $5 debit use fees. Well Fargo is charging $3, and other banks are within the same range. The Dodd-Frank bill was of course, vigorously opposed by the banking industry and various pundits and politicians on the right, claiming it would unfairly restrict banks and impinge on their ability to make a profit.

And the media wonders why there are protests. The question is not why are they protesting. It’s why isn’t the rest of the country joining in? For that matter, why is this protest being ignored? Why are Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report giving better information and coverage than MSNBC or CNN? I’d love to quote Bill O’Reilly and say “You can’t explain that!”, but that would be Fox News’s line, not mine. The protestors marched on the Brooklyn bridge today, only to be corralled by the NYPD, put under arrest and on police buses, and treated like cattle.

The protest may be leaderless, lacking in direction and needing clear goals. But at least they’re out there trying to make a difference. And given the list of demands that was shown on Reddit.com and other locations, it may be coalescing into something more defined. If anyone reading this is in New York City, and you can spare the time, go out and protest. There’s something rotten on Wall Street, and it’s time the rest of the country started noticing. Wall Street may be only part of the problem, but the money for the GOP/Tea Party machine came from their rich friends, and where better to combat it, than on Wall Street, the beating heart of the conservative movement. The right created an astro turf movement with the Tea Party, the left has just begun to awaken. It’s fifteen days into the protests, and it’s still going strong.

Occupy Wall Street. You have my support. Thank you for reading.

Good Night, and Good Luck.

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The News Media, The Fanatics, And How We’re All Screwed.

The news media in general tends to be rather gutless. It would be all too easy to blast them for not reporting on the Iraq war, or various other issues. But the recent attempt to paint the democrats as being culpable for the debt ceiling crisis is nothing short of ludicrous. Whatever their faults, the current atmosphere of fear and tension is due to John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the rest of the GOP/Tea Party leadership.

Continue reading

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How Onlive and Steve Perlman became the patron saints of online gaming

It’s a new day on the internet and for everyone using bandwith.  Onlive CEO Steve Perlman has just announced that Reardan Co. (Onlive’s parent corp) has found a way to break Shannon’s law. By redesigning the way they transmit from the ground up, they have radios working at ten times the limit of what Shannon theorized.

For those not versed in the jargon; Shannon’s law refers to the Shannon-Hartley theorem (named for Claude Shannon and Ralph Hartley, prominent american mathematicians known for pioneering information theory) which states there is an upper limit to what one can transmit before the information before you start losing it. This law was considered unbreakable until now. Reardan has found a way to break Shannon’s law that is completely revolutionary. They now have Radios working at ten times, they’re confident they can get to one hundred times, and a thousand is theoretically possible. There may not even be an upper limit at all. It even works up to 30 miles away with no interference. And that limit has only been established so far because of the time involved of driving to each radio station.

This is not only the death knell for dead zones, it’s the end of latency itself. NO MORE LAG. Lag as a concept could be permanently reduced to a shadow of it’s former power. The exact science is abit out of my league to explain, but Reardan has a reputation for coming up with amazing ideas that seem to work. This is a fantastic development I will be watching with great interest.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/29/onlive-ceo-reveals-entirely-new-approach-to-wireless-credits/

This link goes directly to Engadget’s article, and the video which is set to the point where Mr. Perlman starts talking about their new concept and takes Q&A after.

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The Huntsman In The Wings.

It would be all too easy to dismiss the republican party this coming election. With the likes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and others gunning for the nomination of Republican Presidential Candidate, one could hardly be blamed for laughing off their chances.

But, unfortunately, there is a solid candidate in the background. Though John Huntmans jr., the president’s former ambassador to China has slim to no chance of winning the primary given the Tea Party ascendence, he nonetheless remains the most dangerous opponent for Obama and the democrats. Unlike most of the candidates, he can actually hold a nuanced and reasonable debate. Moreover, he’s a social moderate and a true fiscal conservative. This places Obama in the awkward position of having to fight someone reasonably similar to him. Huntsman not only supports civil unions, he’s also willing to actually talk about the budget. Unfortunately, he’s a traditional republican when it comes to taxes. IE; they are not necessary.

Again, it’s hard to say whether he can pass the tea party gauntlet, but if he does, Obama could lose. Despite having Bin Laden’s head on a platter. It’s no secret that Obama has been a disappointment to the left, nor is it that the Tea Party will be out in force if the GOP sends one of their own. It would have been better for him to focus on his base, rather than trying to be a centrist.

However, the mood of the public is difficult at best to ascertain at times, and Obama at least has been trying to be a centrist. He could campaign that he has indeed tried to be a centrist and a consensus builder, and that his opposition has not even tried to negotiate. It’s a question of guts and how badly he wants to hurt them. He may even ignore this avenue in the view of taking the moral high ground. The democrats have the arguementative firepower to win, they just need the backbone.

Ultimately, it’s going to be open speculation until February next year. So for now, we sit back, laugh, and enjoy the GOP civil war. Obama can beat even John Huntsman potentially at the moment, but none can say what the country will look like in 8 months or so. The public is notoriously fickle. After all, they elected Bush twice.

Good Night, and Good Luck.

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