Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Colbert takes on Trump's disastrous NATO conference

Conservative Republican President Donald Trump embarrassed us at the NATO conference. Shoving aside a leader. Lecturing partners on defense spending. Not fully embracing Article V. We need a laugh. Thank goodness for Stephen Colbert. Here's his funny take on the Lying Donald at NATO.

Trump embarrasses us at the NATO conference

I watched Sean "Spicey" Spicer's White House news briefing yesterday. And it started out with ten minutes about how wonderful President Trump's foreign trip was. The Daily Kos made fun of his summary as being something that would come from a North Korean dictator.

But I agree with The Morning Joe on MSNBC. Conservative Republican President Donald Trump embarrassed us at NATO. He did what Russia wanted. Trump drove a wedge between America and our NATO partners. Trump didn't expressly support Article V which guarantees mutual defense among NATO members. He lectured our partners that they didn't do enough. I mean if Poland doesn't raise their defense budget, is Trump saying we would not aid them if Poland is attacked by Russia? See MSNBC video below.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Russian Spy in the White House? Part Two

Intelligence expert Malcolm Nance is sounding the alarm about White House adviser and son-in-law to President Trump Jared Kushner's desire to set up a covert communication with the Kremlin. In appearances with MSNBC's Joy Reid, he points out that this was no mere back channel notes to a foreign government. It was an attempt to set up a covert communication with an adversary that would use Russian cryptographic measures to defeat American intelligence. In the two videos below, starting both at the three minute mark, Nance questions what information is Kusner trying to relay to the Russians and why must it be kept secret. "The Daily Presidential Briefing? The Nuclear Codes?" Yikes. In the second video, Reid muses the theory about Kushner obtaining financing from the Russians. And what do you think the Russians might get? Perhaps the termination of sanctions for Ukraine and hacking the Democrats.

Folks, America is in trouble. It requires Republicans to think America before Trump. How many lives will be lost with Trump in office? Trump has already leaked intelligence to the Russians in the Oval Office! Leaked the location of American submarines to the Philippine president. Impeach him before it's too late. Get this Manchurian Candidate and his son-in-law spy out of the White House.

MAY 27, 2017. A.M. Joy with Joy Reid.

New Idiots: John Kelly and H.R. McMaster

Loyalty to conservative Republican President Donald Trump has made two new idiots out of honorable men. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster defended White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner for attempting to set up a covert communication line to the Kremlin. Here's what the two gentlemen said via Politico:

“I don’t see a big deal. I think any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russia is a good thing.” DHS Secretary John Kelly From Fox News Sunday

"We have back-channel communications with any number of individual” countries, So generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner." National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. From Reuters.

WTF? I say again, WTF?!

First, let me remind these security officials and military men. Russia is not our friend. They are often our adversary. See Cold War. Yeah, the Cold War is over but Russia is not a real democracy. The Communists were replaced by oligarchs with Vladimir Putin as the authoritarian leader. Two, the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee with the intent to get Trump elected. Every American intelligence agency agrees with this. Three, Kushner did not just want a "back channel" with the Russians. He wanted a secure channel with the Kremlin that would keep out American intelligence and law enforcement. That's not innocent.

So sorry, Mr. Kelly. This covert channel is not a good thing. Kushner was not just picking up the phone and talking to the Russians. He wanted a channel using Russian decryption to keep out the United States. Can't think of any innocent reason for this. Just listen to intelligence expert Malcolm Nance in the MSNBC video below at the three minute mark. The things that Kushner could communicate to the Russians: American secrets, perhaps negotiate a deal with the Russian bank he had contact with. Maybe exchange the end of sanctions for loans. It boggles the imagination.

And with all due respect, General McMaster, your defense is just brainless. This was not just any country that Kushner wanted covert communications with. It was freaking Russia! Remember, our adversary. And again, it was to be done so American law enforcement and intelligence could not hear. the logical conclusion is that Kushner was afraid whatever was said had legal implications.

Gentlemen, you are idiots.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales review

After watching the bloated third Pirates of the Caribbean film , I thought I would not have the stomach for more. But hey, I'm like a lot of moviegoers. Okay, let's see the next Jack Sparrow adventure. And Disney knows this. That's why they keep pumping these movies out. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Pirates) is the fifth of the Pirates series. The movie is like a whale. It starts out in life as a baby full of promise, growing into a majestic beast but then dies and is washed ashore as a bloated, decaying mess.

There are times when you write a screenplay, you may be asked to sum up the plot in one sentence. Let's see if I can do it for Pirates. Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Will Turner, is searching for the Trident of Poseidon which will break the curse that has imprisoned his father as the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. There, I did it. If only things were so simple.

Of course, there's more to this movie than a one sentence plot summary. Henry must seek the help of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) Why? Well, he's the star of the series. Savvy? The two run into a proto-feminist Carina Smythe (Kaya Scodelario) who's charged with being a witch when she's really an astronomer. Why don't we throw in Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) because he was so much fun in the first three movies. Of course, this being a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, there's got to be some kind of fantasy thing happening. That comes with Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who is after Sparrow for his eternal curse as a ghost pirate. You see Salazar runs around the American southwest with his pageboy haircut, killing people with a silenced shotgun. Um... sorry that's the plot to No Country for Old Men He does represent death in both. I'll bet that Bardem would like to stop being typecast as a villain.

With all those plot threads, there's some basic problems. First, I appreciate strong female characters and also some liberal metaphor. Carina is a scientist in an unscientific age. The men are dumb. Okay, so far so good. But where this metaphor goes awry is that she's seeking something that is out of fantasy and will deal with things that are not scientific. Hard to say science trumps that. Now Kaya Scodelario's performance as the heroine is smart, charming and she lights up the screen with her natural beauty. However, she can't carry this movie with all the crazy stuff happening around her. That brings us to Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I get it that Sparrow likes to drink. But he's pretty much drunk during the entire movie. It made it hard to understand what Sparrow was saying because Depp was slurring his lines. Savvy? No.

I don't know if directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) story boarded this movie. Because it doesn't show up during action set pieces. Outside of the early bank robbery piece, all of the action is a jumbled mess of fast cuts. It's hard to figure what is happening. Add to hat is that this movie is badly lit. Yeah, I get it. There are night scenes and underwater scenes. Guys, this is a movie not a documentary. Those dark scenes make the action hard to see. There are a few redeeming factors. Some of the jokes work with their sexual innuendo. And okay, it's good to see Captain Jack. He's like your loopy, drunk uncle.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is one bloated mess of a movie. It needs to be shorter as the movie just keeps going on and on. There must also more swashbuckling and that means physical sword fights. There was way too much CGI. I recommend that you don't run out and spend a lot of money to see this time waster. I would wait to rent it. Finally, there is an end credit scene hinting at a sixth movie. Yep, I've got a pirate curse. I'll probably see that one too. They'll probably call it Pirates of the Caribbean: The Search for Box Office Gold. The grade is B Minus.

The Russian Spy in the White House?

The Washington Post is reporting that Jared Kushner, White House adviser and son-in-law, to President Trump wanted to set up a secure and secret communications channel between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. This occurred in December of 2016 after Trump won the election. Washington Post.

What does it mean? Without knowing the reasons why Kushner would want a secret way to talk to the Russians, we can only surmise. You can bet it's not about exchanging a top secret borscht recipe. What we can deduct is that the Trump Campaign and the Russians wanted to avoid surveillance by the United States government.


1. Maybe Trump is so paranoid of the Obama administration that he thinks that he is spying on him. Okay, but why the secret channel with just Russia?

2. Reset the relation with Russia. But why the secrecy from America? I mean you don't want to negotiate in public. Still, there's no reason to avoid American intelligence unless you plan on doing something illegal. That leads us to the darker reasons.

3. The Russians are blackmailing Trump. Look, we know for a fact that Trump really likes Putin. Why? Does Trump owe money to Russian oligarchs who are in turn loyal to Putin? Is there really a "pee" tape? The Kremlin using such a channel could then direct its desires on Trump. Ukraine sanctions? Gone.

4. Collusion between the Russians and the Trump Administration. Maybe the Russians and the Trump campaign colluded to defeat Hillary Clinton. So now, maybe the Trump administration and the Russians can work together. Quid pro quo. Ukraine sanctions? Done for hacking of future political enemies.

The more logical and unfortunately darker reasons were underscored last night on MSNBC's program All In with Chris Hayes. Intelligence expert Malcolm Nance highlighted the espionage angle.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hilarious. Trump's NATO push as a nature documentary

Funny or Die hits a home run on this nature parody using the video of President Trump shoving another NATO leader aside so he can get his picture taken. Check it out. Riotous.

Republican Joe Scarborough blasts fellow Republicans for lying about cuts to Medicaid

Today, on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough blasted President Trump's OMB Director Mulvaney for the lie that they "don't cut Medicaid." (Video below) Scarborough cites the Wall Street Journal that says Trump wants to cut 850 billion from Medicaid. Folks, that's not a liberal paper. I agree with Scarborough. If you want to cut Medicaid, and force costs to the sick as part of your health insurance plan, don't lie about it. The thing I disagree with Scarborough about is that Trump is a Democrat. Nope. His policies are conservative Republican. By the way, I agree with Senator Bernie Sanders. (D-Vt.) We need a single payer health insurance plan.

Stephen Colbert has some new funny lyrics for The 59th Street Bridge Song

Here's Stephen Colbert with new lyrics created for Paul Simon's "The 59th Street Bridge Song." ("Feelin' Groovy") He performs it with the man himself, Paul Simon. The new lyrics reflect our modern, angst ridden times. Hey, if we're going to die, might as well go happy. Funny stuff from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hilarious. Stephn Colbert on Trump's foreign trip

Stephen Colbert was a riot last night on The Late Show. First, the show starts out with fictional postcards from Trump. Then there was his hilarious monologue. Here they are. Enjoy.

Farewell, Sir Roger Moore

Actor and humanitarian Roger Moore passed away today. He will be always remembered as one of the actors who played James Bond. While I found his Bond performances to be on the whimsical side with a tongue in cheek, I always thought of him to be graceful, charming, classy and of course, very English. Starting with Moore's third outing as Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), his Bond movies to me were cinematic comfort food. Farewell, Roger Moore. You may have left this planet but will always be in our hearts. Here's his performance in the opening of For Your Eyes Only. (1981)

Trump doesn't deny that firing Comey was related to Russian investigation

Last week's news bombshell was that President Trump told the Russians he fired James Comey as director of the FBI because Trump felt he was "a real nut job" and ... he "felt great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." New York Times, May 19, 2017 The White House does not "dispute the quote." MSNBC Morning Joe. May 22, 2017. (video below at the twenty second mark) This admission comes after two prior admissions by Trump or his administration that Trump fired Comey over the Russia investigation. One occurred in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt (May 11, 2017) and another with White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders (May 11, 2017). MSNBC's Morning Joe has video of all the instances. (Holt interview starts at the 28 second mark and followed up by Sander's statement; video below)

So what does this mean? I'm sure conservative Republicans are going to argue about the semantics or as former President Clinton argued about the meaning of the word "is." I can just hear them say that Trump wanted a fair but expedient investigation. The more logical explanation is that Trump felt "great pressure" from the FBI investigation and he wanted to stop it by obstructing it through the dismissal of FBI director Comey. But, objectively, what we can get from this is that Trump fired Comey because of the FBI investigation. The question is whether it's obstruction.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Alien: Covenant review

Damon Lindelof (Lost) is off the hook. You see he wrote Prometheus (2012), the prequel to Alien: Covenant (Covenant) and was a major force behind Lost's seasons five and six. And his reputation for both was to leave a bunch of questions in the drama open. For Prometheus, he basically let the movie end on a cliff hanger as heroine Shaw (Naoomi Rapace) climbs into a ship with her robot friend, David (Michael Fassbender) going off to where the creators of the alien monsters live. Okay, some of Prometheus' mysteries also belong to director Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien (1979), Prometheus and Covenant. Well, in Covenant, some of the questions raised are answered. Still, mad at Lost, seasons five and six. Damn you Damon!

Alien: Covenant begins with a flashback. We see Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) of the Weyland Corporation bring to life his robot, David. (Michael Fassbender) There's a brief discussion about creativity, and mortality. It's an important scene as it sets up a theme in the movie.

We then flash forward to the colony ship, Covenant. On board are 2000 souls and human embryos on their way to a planet that they plan to colonize. The humans are in cryogenic sleep for the journey. Hold on. This is the plot to Mass Effect: Andromeda. Luckily the movie does not have that video game's gltichy and crazy animation. Taking care of the crew as they sleep is another robot friend, Walter (Michael Fassbender) who is another version of the android David.

A neutrino burst hits the ship. The main computer, Mother wakes up the flight crew. Unfortunately, the ship's captain and husband of scientist Daniels Branson (Katherine Waterston) is killed. Executive officer Oram (Billy Crudup) is forced to take over. While repairing the ship, the crew discovers a human signal from a near world. Oram orders them to explore the planet of the signal's origin. This being an Alien movie, you can pretty much figure out that they don't find paradise with hulu dancing girls. Yeah, there be monsters. It's a horror movie okay?

The cast is all very good. But most of them are there just to be slaughtered. Michael Fassbender is always excellent. He improves any film he is in. I bought into his android who begins to question his existence. Billy Crudup shows a guilt ridden and uncertain captain. While the casting of Katherine Waterston as Daniels was pitch perfect. She's resourceful, smart and has the look of someone you would believe as a scientist on a mission to colonize strange new worlds.

Veteran writer John Logan (Star Trek: Nemesis) along with Dante Harper have penned a thought provoking screenplay from a story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green. Unlike Prometheus, the humans do very little stupid people things. Okay, I did scratch my head when the away team went on the planet without spacesuits. I mean there's a reason why we quarantine astronauts coming back from the moon. Or maybe one needs to read Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain. There could be nasty space viruses. And you guessed it. A couple of our meat bags er... crew members get it. Okay, I understand the movie has to infect the humans someway but maybe there could be a line about the biofilter will decontaminate them when they return.

Another thing. Will people please stop looking into the alien egg's orifice? Yeah, look in the opening with the pulsating raw chicken. At least, the characters should think about the Jack in the Box effect. Regardless of this minor stuff, the story does a pretty good job of portraying human emotions and motivations. Heck, even the film's sex scene could be explained in a deeper context to the themes.

This being a Ridley Scott movie, the visuals are gorgeous. And Scott mixes in more action than the original Alien movie. Though this movie does have more in common with Alien than Prometheus. In fact, there are musical nods such as the use of the original Alien theme by Jerry Goldsmith. But unlike the original movie's claustrophobic scares, much of the exciting action pieces takes place in open spaces. Thus, Scott creates a new and original setting for all of the carnage.

Yet, what really drives Covenant is the mystery. As much as there are answers given, more questions are raised. And there is those overall themes of existence and creation. This time I will assume more answers will be in the next Alien movie. See this movie knowing that this is a smart, horror film and part 2 of perhaps a trilogy. Hey, there might be a whole bunch more. Just remember in the movie theater, everybody can hear you scream. The grade is A.

This trailer has a cut scene. It's Daniels' speech.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel: Donald Trump vs. The Rock

Here's Jimmy Kimmel's piece about The Rock's interest in running for President. In the piece, he imagines the election to be a wrestling match between The Rock and Trump aka "Lying Donald."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Life imitates art?: Dr. Strangelove's Russian ambassador spying

There's been some question about the wisdom of conservative Republican President Donald Trump having the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak visit him in the White House. I mean the May 10 meeting had no American press and only a Russian photographer to witness it. Believe it or not, the point being maybe the Russians could have bugged the Oval Office. Washington Post.

This all reminds me of Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove. (1964) It was a classic comedy about the Cold War erupting into a hot war. Anyway, there's a scene where the Russian ambassador has been invited to the War Room, a secure area where the President can conduct a nuclear war. Check out the scene below and the hilarious line from the President when the ambassador is caught trying to shoot pictures with a spy camera. So do we have life imitating art? Let's hope not.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump leaks top secret information to the Russians!

On May 10, conservative Republican President Donald Trump leaked top secret information to the Russians in the Oval Office. (Washington Post article) I'm not kidding. Today, Trump doesn't deny it but merely tweets that he can and he did it for humanitarian reasons. CNN.

A couple of things here. Yes, the President can declassify top secret information. And he can give it to the Russians. But that may not be in America's interests. First, the Russians are not our allies and many times they are our adversaries. Calling on the ghost of Ronald Reagan please. Second, as the news reports state, there was no permission by the source of the intelligence to disclose it to the Russians. The problem here is that the source may not disclose further information to the United States. That would endanger American lives.

But what is this bromance that Trump has with Vladimir Putin's Russia? Here's a great video on the topic. Watch at the 40 second mark. Trump Jr. states in 2008 that Russians make up a disproportionate section of Trump assets. The video also reiterates the gutting of the pro-Ukraine plank of the Republican platform. Something that most Americans wouldn't be concerned about but Putin would be. The video is a little older so left out is former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his payment from Russia Today. IF you recall, Flynn resigned for lying about his contacts with the Russians.

Come on conservative Republicans. As Trump would say, "America first." What would Reagan do? Impeach Trump before he kills us.

Thanks Newsy for this video about Trump-Russian connection.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Stephen Colbert offers a deal to Trump

In a Time magazine interview, President Donald Trump went after comedian Stephen Colbert claiming that Colbert's rise in the ratings is because Colbert goes after him. Um... to paraphrase Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), a satirist makes a living by going after the absurd. And yeah, I agree, Mr. Trump. Colbert has taken his laser sharp wit and destroyed you. He's tore up conservative Republicans before and has gotten an Emmy and Peabody Award to show for it.

Anyway, Colbert takes on Trump's assertions and makes an offer to Trump if he wants him to stop. It's in the video below. Funny stuff. And Lying Donald. Demagogue Donald. Take Colbert's offer and save our country.

SNl Cold Open : The NBC Interview with Trump

You can't write this stuff. Conservative Republican President Donald Trump says the craziest things. Saturday Night Live just uses some of his quotes, facts and ideas for this Cold Open fake interview. Hilarious stuff in light of having a deranged man in the White House. Enjoy this video.

SNL: Farewell to Spicey

Saturday Night Live just did this skit imagining what a White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's firing by conservative Republican President Donald Trump would be like. The joke about him hiding in the bushes or among the bushes is actually true.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Trevor Noah on the Comey firing plus Chuck Grassley should be a movie villain

We need an African look at the Comey firing by President Trump. Here's Trevor Noah of the Daily Show with his take. Love the end of the video.

Plus, after watching conservative Republican Charles Grassley (R-Ia) use his time on Monday to not question former Director of Intelligence James Clapper and former Attorney General Sally Yates about Russian interference but talk about leaks to the press, it's become clear that he would be the perfect villain for the movie of the whole Trump presidency. And that movie obviously would be a disaster film. Grassley later commented on concerns on the Comey firing by telling America to "Suck it up and move on." It's at the 7:25 mark of the video. Grassley and almost all of the Republicans are more interested in protecting Trump than worrying about America. Grassley is hateful, angry and political.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hero or criminal? Leaking to the press

Last Monday, we heard former attorney Sally Yates testify that she warned the White House about General Michael Flynn lying about his contacts with the Russians. Obviously, Flynn could have been blackmailed by the Russians.
And remember at the time Yates informed the White House, Flynn was National Security Adviser. It took eighteen days before conservative Republican president Donald Trump fired Flynn. And that came right after the Washington Post reported that Flynn was compromised. Lawrence O' Donnell on his show The Last Word makes the point that if the Post article didn't come out, it's likely that Flynn would still be National Security Adviser. Just remember also that Flynn was privy to some of the biggest secrets to the United States. O' Donnell makers the point at 5:58 of the video below. Somebody leaked to the press and the truth came out.

Now with the firing by Trump of James Comey as FBI Director, we can surmise that more leaks will come out. This will likely occur if the truth is that Trump ditched Comey because he was ramping up the investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. With it looking like the Republicans will do nothing, our democracy is in danger.

So the question is when is a leaker a hero or criminal? The press's job in our American democracy is to bring out the truth. Speak truth to power. If a leaker sees corruption and the powers that be, either a conservative Republican President or a complicit Republican congress do nothing, then wouldn't it be morally correct to leak the truth to the press? Those that have the knowledge of corruption have the truth but it's certainly a difficult decision to make. O'Donnell is correct. The Watergate scandal broke because of somebody leaking information to primarily the Washington Post. That brought President Nixon to justice.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Huffington Post explains the Infinity Stones

You thought The Huffington Post is a liberal and Pulitzer Prize winning news website. You would be right. But it also can analyze how all the Marvel movies are related. Cool. In this video piece, The Huffington Post explains that the Marvel superhero movies are connected by The Infinity Stones. Check it out. here's the link.

Bravo Jimmy Kimmel

After making a compelling argument for universal healthcare because of his son's heart condition, Jimmy Kimmel returned to late night. He shows grace and humor as he discusses his son's condition, the people who criticized him and his continued support for universal healthcare when he performs his monologue and interviews Republican Senator Bill Cassidy. (R-La.) And while Sen. Cassidy is sympathetic, I don't think Trumpcare will work as it will gut prohibitions against charging more for pre-existing conditions and Medicaid. Regardless, bravo and thanks to Jimmy Kimmel for taking the banner for healthcare for all.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. review

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. starts out with our merry band known as the Guardians of the Galaxy attempting to get some batteries from a monster for the gold skinned race known as The Sovereign. They're led by Ayesha played by the lovely Elizabeth Debicki. (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) Is it too much to ask Warner Brothers to make a sequel to U.N.C.L.E.? I mean check out this poster for U.N.C.L.E.
And for the next Guardians movie could we lose the gold painted skin? I mean Ms. Debicki is gorgeous in her ivory tone. Oops, sorry that could be a spoiler. Maybe, Marvel could feature her in her own superhero movie. Was I supposed to be writing about the new Guardians movie? Were there any other actors in this movie?

Anyway, Star-Lord aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) succeed in securing the batteries. But Rocket decides to troll the arrogant Sovereign by stealing more batteries from them. This leads the Sovereign to chase the Guardians in space. Fortunately, they are saved by a mysterious figure, Ego. (Kurt Russell) He has a big surprise for Quill in the Darth Vader vein. "Luke er... Peter, I am your father." Hey that last part is in the trailer so don't whine about a spoiler.

The main actors are all great. A special nod to Bradley Cooper as Rocket. I can't think of Rocket as a CGI character but a sentient rodent er... raccoon. Of course, Elizabeth Debicki is absolutely fabulous. I'm sorry was I talking again about Ms. Debicki?

Director and writer James Gunn turns the Guardians comic book into a movie comedy. That may annoy fans of the comics, but frankly I don't know if the books were serious. Volume 2 is a science fiction comedy with a little drama thrown in. Arthur C. Clarke, this ain't. Gunn's movie throws jokes at you with lightening speed. And for the most part it works. But not all is laughter, there are touching moments about family. The only small problem with the film is that it is a little bloated with some action scenes that go on too long.

One caveat for you young folks. Like the first Guardians, this movie heaps a generous dose of seventies -early eighties nostalgia at you. Let me explain a gag that had me laughing hard in the theater while most people didn't get the joke. The Sovereign remotely guide their fighter ships like people playing video games in an arcade. Um.... in the early eighties, we used to go to the arcades to play video games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, etc. Anyway, the Sovereign fighter ships make eighties video game sounds Get it? Okay, I guess you have to be old.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 is one funny science fiction comedy. And it has Elizabeth Debicki. The grade is A Minus.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Defending Stephen Colbert

The FCC is investigating satirist Stephen Colbert for a joke he made last Monday on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. The joke that conservatives are getting upset about? In a rant where Colbert defends CBS News' John Dickerson after Trump insulted him, Colbert goes all insult comic on Trump. He calls Trump a "c...kholster" for Russian President Putin. It starts at the 10:00 minute mark of Colbert's monologue.

A couple of things here. I saw this on TV. And first, CBS bleeped out the word "c... k." Second, this satire is protected by the First Amendment. Let me explain it to you conservatives. Trump has expressed an affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin. So he makes a joke about a sexual act between Trump and Putin. It's not homophobic either. Colbert says nothing bad bad about homosexuality.

I could cut the hypocrisy with a knife here. Trump has decried political correctness. Used a "F" bomb in a speech to the public. Bragged about grabbing a woman's genitalia. So, conservatives, where are Colbert's free speech rights?

Trump says Australia's universal healthcare is better than America's

LOL. President Donald Trump praised Australia's single payer healthcare as a plan that is "better healthcare than we do." Hey, Lying Donald, Australia's healthcare is government sponsored, i.e. it's basically a Medicare for all. The cruel plan you and the Conservative Republicans passed which guts pre-existing guarantees of insurance and Medicaid is nothing like Australia's. You see no one has to worry about paying for healthcare in Australia since the government pays for it. You sir are an idiot. (By the way, Trump later tweeted that Australia does have better healthcare on Friday. Business Insider.)

The irony was not lost on former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. (I-Vt.) He was a guest on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. Watch him burst out into laughter when he heard Trump praise Australia's auniversal healthcare plan. (From The Independent, below.) I agree with Sanders. Okay, Lying Donald. Get Congress to pass a single payer universal healthcare plan. Medicare for all. I mean you do say that Australia has a better plan.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

One of the best opening credits of a movie

Opening tomorrow on May 5, 2017 is the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). The movie is Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. I'm guessing the Volume 2 is a homage to those cassette tapes of old that are a second edition to a person's own recording of his favorite pop tunes of the seventies and eighties.

I remember the first Guardians. It had one of the best opening credit scenes of any film. In the movie we see Star-lord (Chris Pratt) start to dance to the hip song by Redbone called "Come and Get Your Love." I almost started to get up and dance. It's such a cool and happy tune. And Pratt's dancing may not make you forget Gene Kelly but it's joyous. It will put a smile on your face. Check it out. Come back and enjoy the bonus below. I've embedded Redbone performing their song.

Why conservative Republicans oppose government assisted health care

Right now in the House of Representatives, conservative Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) and gut pre-existing condition protections for health insurance. But why are conservative Republicans so against anything that looks like socialized medicine? Why is the conservative Freedom Caucus so interested in making the replacement for Obamacare more cruel by gutting pre-existing conditions?

It all stems from the conservative Republican god, Ronald Reagan. Some of it also stems from author Ayn Rand, a favorite of conservatives like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. (R-Wis.) Anyway in 1961, Reagan cut an LP (vinyl record) preaching the evils of socialized medicine. (Video below.) In essence he argued that socialized medicine would curtail freedom. He used a slippery slope. Reagan argues that once government tells doctors where they can practice, the number of patients they have, etc., that the loss of freedom would lead to the government telling other people what their profession would be and perhaps what school a person can attend. (At 6:50.)

A couple of things to discuss in President Reagan's speech. First, let me commend him on this speech. His delivery is excellent and there is sincerity and passion in his speech. This is a good example of why Reagan was called "The Great Communicator." Second, Obamacare does not mandate where doctors have to practice or how many patients they can have. Additionally since Obamacare has been around, the government does not tell people what jobs they must have or where they need to go to school. So none of Reagan's fears have come to fruition.

If there is a fear that socialized medicine does cause a loss of freedoms, we need to look only at a couple of western democracies. Canada and the United Kingdom have forms of socialized medicine. Neither has forced people to lose personal liberties. I could go on. Denmark, France, Norway and Sweden etc.

Everybody will get sick sometime, even conservative Republicans. Healthcare is something that government has an obligation to do for the people, the same way it must provide for the national defense. If people cannot afford to pay for healthcare, they will die. Furthermore, we need to get private insurance companies out of the health insurance business. They are not interested in paying for medical bills. We need to get a single payer healthcare plan.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Even conservative Republicans can have pre-existing conditions

Conservative Republicans are trying to defend their replacement for Obamacare which would allow states to gut coverage for pre-existing conditions. Right now, Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions. Republican congressman Mo Brooks (Al.) who supports the conservative replacement for Obamacare put it this way:

“It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy, And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

New York Magazine, Cong. Brooks to Jake Tapper of CNN

Let me translate Brooks' comment. Under the GOP plan, insurance companies could charge more in premiums and costs to people who have a pre-existing condition. Brooks implies that these high risk people are less "innocent" than a healthy person and should pay more.

But there are couple of real problems with Brooks' philosophy. One, not everyone with a pre-existing condition caused it through bad behavior. Some people just get cancer without things like smoking. That means even God fearing, clean living conservative Republicans can have a pre-existing condition. Second, it's just plain cruel. People with pre-existing conditions will see their premiums skyrocket. They will lose their health insurance because they can't afford it. And that's going to lead to more people dying.

Stop the cruelty. We need a single payer healthcare plan.

Stephen Colbert takes on Trump's infatuation with 100 days in office

Last Saturday, conservative President Donald Trump was celebrating his first 100 days in office at a campaign rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Then there was the strange interview with Face the Nation's John Dickerson. He insulted Dickerson by calling his news show called "Deface the Nation." Dickerson kept his cool and didn't fight back. Well, that was too much for satirist Stephen Colbert. Check out his great monologue where Colbert goes full "Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog" on Trump. Great stuff.

Seth Meyers takes on Trump's crazy interviews for the week

It's been a bizarre week for conservative President Donald Trump. In a group of interviews he has questioned why the Civil War happened, referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as a smart cookie and lamented that being President was harder than his old job. As for the last comment on the job of the presidency, I'll leave it to comedian Seth Myers for his great joke from his Closer Look piece aired last night on "Late Night with Seth Myers." Myers quipped, "You thought the presidency would be easier than being a game show host?" (At the 4:10 mark.) Check out his piece.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Shut up Donald Trump!

Sigh. This is getting tiresome. Conservative Republican President Donald Trump blames former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn on Obama. If you recall, Flynn was fired as National Security Adviser by Trump less than one months into the job for lying to Vice President Pence about contacts to Russia.

Let's go over the facts, Lying Donald. Former President Obama fired Gen. Flynn in 2014. Okay, his security clearance was renewed in January 2016. U.S. News and World Report. After he left the Obama administration, he received approximately $33, 000.00 from Russia Today, a propaganda TV network for Russia. According to the U.S. News report, he also received a whopping $530,000.00 from Turkish government interests. That led to his retroactive filing as a foreign agent for Turkey. Further, Flynn was one of the principal national security advisors if not the main advisor for the Trump campaign. But Joy Reid and Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC report that the Trump campaign vetted Flynn. Video below.

Folks, Harry Truman used to have a sign that read "The buck stops here." Flynn was no longer in the Obama administration and was fired by Obama. This Russia and Turkish stuff by Flynn comes as he was in the Trump campaign. Lying Donald, stop passing the buck. You sir, were responsible for Flynn. He was and is your guy. Donald Trump. SHUT UP.

Bengals bungle with second round pick

I've previously wrote that the Cincinnati Bengals gambled by picking wide receiver John Ross in the first round of the NFL draft because of his ACL injury. But then came the second round and the Bengals became the Bungles again. They used a high pick and selected Oklahoma running back, Joe Mixon.

In case you didn't know, Joe Mixon as an eighteen year old got into a fight with a young lady and decked her. It was such a vicious punch that the woman suffered a broken jaw. (Bengals Introductory Press Conference with Mixon. ESPN) What makes it worse, is the video of the incident has been on the internet.

Now the Bengals have a long history of drafting and or signing "bad hombres" as Trump would put it. Stanley Wilson. Chris Henry. And who can forget the epic meltdown in that 2016 playoff game with the Pittsburgh Steelers by Vontaze Burfict and Adam "Pacman" Jones? Bad behavior off the field translates to bad behavior on the field. But the Bengals have not learned the lesson.

So, what about the player? Joe Mixon is first round talent. He's arguably the best running back in the draft. He's got great vision and bursts through the hole. Excellent speed. Good hands. He will break tackles. See video below. Looking at both the negative and the positive, I would not have wasted the second round pick on him. Too risky. Pick this guy in the late rounds, perhaps even in the seventh. Let's face it, he had few callers. Reports indicated that only four teams were interested. CBS Sports.

The question for all of us is whether Mr. Mixon can stay on the straight and narrow. I would suggest that Joe Mixon show the world some humility. No matter how great he can be, he should devote his free time to charity. Show the Cincinnati community that he's a different man from his youth.