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Archive for the ‘After-Action Report’ Category

Wednesday night I got to share an experience with my oldest son which he will never forget. As my two regular readers will already know, both my sons are on the autism spectrum. The oldest one has Asperger’s Syndrome. Unlike his little brother, he is in regular classes, and if you were to encounter him in public or on the street, depending on the setting, it might take a few minutes for you to figure out that he doesn’t see the world the way you and I do. And like me, he is an Eric Church fan.

At The Key Arena

When we learned Chief was coming to Seattle this spring, my wife got on-line and we bought two tickets, so he and I could go and see one of our favorite singers in concert.

While I have been to many “big” concerts over the years, mostly at Michigan venues like Meadowbrook, the Pontiac Silverdome, The Palace at Auburn Hills, The Saginaw Civic Center, and Pine Knob, I have never been to any major Washington venue other than McCaw Hall.

We left in the early afternoon, so to avoid any traffic issues, and arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a spring afternoon at Seattle Center, and found a line forming already, with hard-core fans outside. I wish I could say that I was impressed with the venue’s handling of guests outside the building, I can’t. Conflicting information and instructions given by the venue’s workers made the wait frustrating and disappointing, especially for a young man who has a need to clearly understand what he is expected to do and participate in. However, once we finally got to the entry, the credit card/ticketless entry system seemed to work very well. The lines for souvenirs were long, but moved quickly, and soon my son had his first concert t-shirt with the image of his hero on the front and a list of concert venues on the back. We went to the concession stand to get a snack and some drinks and went to find our seats.

Let me say that for a concert, I don’t think there can be a bad seat in the Key Arena. We both spent a fair amount of time looking around and watching people file in, and looked at the stage at the south end of the arena.

The Brothers Osborne took the stage at 7:30 pm, and played a great show for about 45 minutes to a half-filled arena. I had heard them before, and knew they could play well, but judging from some of the reactions around us, several people were hearing them for the first time…and liking it. They played songs from their EP, including “Let’s Go There”, and “Rum”, and connected well with the audience when they spoke about knowing that you don’t have to be from the south to be country, before launching into a blistering rendition of “Down Home”. But my moment of great surprise and wonder came when they admitted to being great fans of The Band, then started playing an ambitious take on “The Shape I’m In.” While my son wasn’t familiar with the songs, he still enjoyed the performance, as did the concertgoers there to see it.

Eric Church

After the Brothers Osborne left the stage, the workers came to clear everything off, and soon a slide show started playing on the jumbotron above the stage as the arena filled over the next hour and fifteen minutes.

When the lights darkened and the opening strains of “The Outsiders” started, my son’s eyes got wide and he turned to give me a high-five as the crowd erupted. By now the woman next to me had figured out that my son isn’t “normal”, and that it was his first concert. At different points she tried to engage him, asking him what his favorite song was, high-fiving him when he appeared to be excited about a particular song, and urging him to wave his arms and cheer like everyone else in the arena, sometimes successfully and sometimes not.

Eric and the band played an excellent show on a stage meant to allow them to play to the front, the sides, and the back. His energy was undeniable, and he reminded the crowd of his many visits to Seattle. The drum kit came down from the ceiling and turned during the show, and lights lowered and raised from the ceiling and from the back of the stage throughout the show. Eric drew on his vast catalog of songs, getting some of the strongest crowd reactions to favorites like “Sinners Like Me” and “Pledge Allegience to the Hag”. As the top-fueled 2+ hour performance drew to a close, he and the band played a poignant version of “Springsteen”, and before he wrapped it up, he talked to the audience about the line “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory”, and how he wanted us all to form a memory of that special Wednesday night, before he invited the audience to sing along with him to the “Whoa-oh-oh-oh, Whoa-oh-oh-oh,Whoa-oh-oh-oh”.

Chief
I was glad for that. For that evening, my son was part of an arena full of family, united in their love of a performer’s music, and of the performance itself, which was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed, and he got to just belong, and enjoy the irony of not being an outsider. I saw his shoulders droop just a little as the band left the stage at the completion of the song, and then I saw them raise back up a bit when Chief walked back out alone, and stood in the spotlight as he played “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young”.  It was a good ending to a great concert.  And we got to enjoy a day of good conversations, before and after the concert, and one of the best performances he’ll ever see by a guy who sings songs that will be permanently embedded in the soundtrack of our lives, and those melodies will always be memories.

Thank you, Chief.

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The Judge

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is a Chicago trial lawyer at the top of his game. Prosecutors hate him, and the guilty who can pay his fees love him, because he helps them go free.  He has money, and the trappings of success, but a cynicism that cannot be disguised.  You realize very early on that he is a damaged person, and I found myself wanting to know why.

As the movie opens, he’s about to do it again, when he answers his cell phone as the Judge comes to the bench and calls the court to order. He asks the Judge for a continuance, as he has just learned that his mother passed away.

As he prepares to go back home, we learn that while he is talented and obviously wealthy, his marriage to the trophy wife with “the ass of a high school volleyball player” is on the rocks because she is sleeping with an old boyfriend, and while he blithely discusses their inevitable divorce, he tells her that he will be getting custody of their daughter.

Home, as it turns out, is Indiana, and as we begin to learn, he is less than welcome there. His father, Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) is the local judge, and dispenses justice as only a small town judge can, as we see when Hank visits the court on his arrival in town. Their grief is shared by Hank’s older brother, Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio), and their retarded little brother, Dale (Jeremy Strong). There is no love lost between the Judge and his middle son, yet Judge Palmer manages to muster a modicum of civility when addressing the son who left, and didn’t speak to him for years. Having witnessed the Judge’s performance in the courtroom, however, Hank suspects that his father is drinking. On the evening after the funeral, the Judge leaves after thanking Hank for coming to the funeral, claiming he needs to buy eggs. The Palmer boys, however, go to the local watering hole, and stay to close it down. The next morning, Hank happens to discover that there is significant damage to the front of the Judge’s car, and the local Sheriffs want to question him regarding the death of a man he had sentenced to prison years earlier who had coincidentally been run down on the previous night.

As the story unfolds, so does Hank’s history. Downey is the right person to play the character, not because he does brash and confident well, but because he has such a deft touch playing the brash and confident ace attorney who is brought back to confront a past that he has spent decades running from. His little brother’s film hobby ends up causing him to confront both the good parts of his past, which include happier days when the Palmer boys were still boys, images of fishing with the Judge, and his older brother throwing the winning pitch at the state high school championships, and the car accident which ruined forever his big league dreams because Hank was high while driving. But it is a stray image captured by his little brother’s movie camera which provides the clue to a secret that his father has kept from everyone, and which would exculpate him from the first degree murder charge that his father was making it nearly impossible for Hank to defend against.

It clearly is a trying time for Hank, whether it was hosting his daughter, who was meeting her Grandpa for the first time, running into an old girlfriend, and trying to remain on an even keel when presented with the opportunities that the encounter offered, or dealing with the most difficult client he has ever had, with the weight of his brothers’ expectations being as heavy as can be, along with his own realization that, perhaps for the first time in his career, he actually is feeling the responsibility of having his client’s life in his hands.

Anyone who has lived more than a handful of years can tell you that family can be hard…probably because you don’t get to pick them. I enjoyed this movie because it didn’t sugar coat the difficult events between the members of the family, or how they struggled to remain family in spite of them. D’Onofrio’s older brother seems resigned to a life much different from the one he’d expected. He seems to be at peace with Hank’s role in making him the town’s tire shop owner rather than big league pitcher that he was on track to be, and while he does harbor some resentment when it becomes clear that he is going to have to take in his little brother  soon, he still appears to be duty bound to do so.  In a very revealing scene toward the end, Hank’s ex girlfriend sums up why it is that she still loves him, and in a way, it’s why I could watch the movie, and like him too. The screenplay doesn’t leave him any outs. He has to confront his past, and make peace with it, and along the way, he makes peace with the Judge, too, as an anecdote in an unguarded moment explains all the hopes and dreams he’d had for his middle son, and a gut-wrenching testimony on the witness stand in his own trial explained why he had become so distant from the son he loved at one time. Duvall doesn’t disappoint, as he plays a man of duty and conviction who in the twilight of his career, and the twilight of his life becomes reconciled with his prodigal son, while that son learns that while redemption doesn’t make everything alright, it does free you to move forward without the weight of the past forcing you to run away, or dictating your next action.

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europa-report-poster (1)
***SPOILER ALERT***

I admit it. I’m a sucker for movies that DON’T preach at you. I’m always intrigued when a filmmaker presents a story, but allows me to draw my own conclusions, if only because I might end up examining why I came to the conclusions I did. Europa Report is one of those films.

The story is presented in a disjointed, voyeuristic way, as it is told as much through the cameras mounted throughout the spaceship and on the astronauts themselves, as it is through the more “strightforward” scenes filmed from a perspective within the action.

It starts at a point where the ship has already been en route to Europa long enough that Earth is no longer visible to the astronauts aboard. Through the mounted cameras, we see the crew going on about their daily routines, as something unexpected occurs, which cuts off the ship’s communication feed to Earth.

The film jumps forward a few days, and the conversations and actions we see make it clear that one of the crew is dead, communications are still out, and the crew is discussing whether to continue with the mission. We are also able to see that the crew is also concerned about the well-being of a male member of the crew who appears to be the oldest one among them.

Through flashbacks on Earth, we learn that the trip is a privately funded venture which was started after unmanned probes gathered data indicating water under the ice of Europa, along with thermal pockets which caused speculation about the possibility of life in the vast ocean there. Because of this, the company which made this discovery decided to send a manned expedition to learn more, and they assembled an international crew thought to comprise the best of the best. We also learn that the CEO continued in her belief that the mission was proceeding, even after they had lost contact with the ship.

Through the flashbacks from the ship, we meet the crew, and get a glimmer of their motivations for strapping themselves to a bomb, and hurtling themselves through the cold darkness to a meeting with the unknown, how they lost a crew member, and his act of heroism, and the subsequent toll it took on the survivors as they continued the mission.

When they finally reach Europa, their plans for the surface mission are again scrambled by events that they couldn’t anticipate, making it necessary for one of the crew to go outside to try to gather some of the data that they came so far to get. Staying almost to the end of her standard EVA time, she finally finds a unicellular life form which she likens to algae. When she sees something witnessed by the remaining flight engineer alone the day before, she naturally went to investigate. Because the cameras in the suits look at the astronaut’s faces and not at what the astronaut sees, we, and her crewmates know that she enountered…something…before she wound up under the ice, and communications were abruptly severed.

From this point, unforeseen events continue to snowball, until it is revealed that the astronauts never left Europa, but did manage to repair their communications array and transmit everything that happened from the point they lost contact with Earth, to their own last moments, ending with the CEO speaking about the crew’s sacrifice, and the final image transmitted, proving that there was indeed life on Europa, and that we weren’t alone in the universe. As I watched this, and listened, I couldn’t help but to regard this with the perspective of a professional. The CEO didn’t have the luxury of government immunity, and it was clear that while some of the things that went horribly wrong could not have been planned for, that wouldn’t stop some people from claiming otherwise, and that given how some of them had died, it seemed to me that she was trying to put a smiley face on what had been a terrible first contact situation.

I can’t say that Europa Report is a movie that I would watch again, but I did appreciate how the filmmakers got out of the way, and let the story tell itself. I liked the fact that the makers chose to eschew the typical bull-in-a-chinashop subtlety usually employed in such movies, allowing the viewer to enjoy their own anxieties and and resignations as the expedition came to a very different end than the ones its sponsors had planned.

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The Unforgiven

It is difficult to understand why some things end up having an influence on us, but they do. This album is just such an influence on me.

I still remember the summer of 1988. I was strolling through my local Tape World, looking for something interesting, when I came upon this album on cassette. I almost hate to admit that I picked this album up because of the impression that the cover made on me, but I’d be lying if I said otherwise. What made this even more shocking was the fact that the image seemed so incongruous with my musical preferences at the time. The really odd thing is that I really loved this album, right from the first listen.

I don’t know if I could have described this album at that time. Age and mileage might bring me to the place where I would probably describe it as “Cowboys and Indians Rock, with a punk attitude”. Like the others in the handful of albums I had in heavy rotation in my car, I came to memorize every word and every note. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

But then, time wore on. CDs replaced cassettes in cars I owned, and while I still have this cassette in the garage somewhere, I haven’t been able to listen to it in years. I was surfing the web one evening a few months ago, and came to the band’s website, where I found and mp3 of a recent track they recorded a year or so ago, and the announcement that the album would be re-released in December with the single version of “I Hear The Call” and the new track, “The Long Run Out” added. I couldn’t order it fast enough, especially when Amazon was offering delivery on the same day as the release if you ordered Prime. There was a problem with my order, but it was resolved, and my copy arrived today. I could hardly wait for my ride home, and the chance to hear it at 11 through my car’s sound system.

I was not disappointed.

It was like riding home with old friends. Only it sounded better than it did. If these tracks weren’t digitally recorded, then they are among the best analog recordings I have ever heard. Age has changed my perspective on some of the songs, most notably, “With My Boots On” was very different this time, since the last time I heard it, my father was still alive, but overall, I was smiling and enjoying all of the imagery that the lyrics paint.

But what I didn’t know was the back story. It would have made the best episode of “Behind the Music” ever. Apparently, the band brought a very different sound to LA in the mid 1980s than the glam metal that was dominating the sound of the city’s clubs and record labels, and before long, they were being managed by Motley Crue’s manager, had a top notch lawyer, promotion, and they set off a bidding war among the town’s record labels. They were everywhere, playing gigs with various music legends, and living the life of rock and roll excess. And then, they imploded. One album. And one reunion show. And it was done.

But I will always have the memories. You can’t go home again. But you can visit 17 years old, and remember what it was like to have more attitude than wisdom. And that’s a good thing.

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Godzilla_(2014)_posterWhen I was a kid, I used to LOVE Godzilla movies.  Sure I knew it was a guy in a monster suit stomping around on a set, crushing fake buildings and smashing another fake monster to hell and gone, but I still had fun watching them.  But as I got older, they lost their charm.  And then, really awful updates, like the waste of time that starred Matthew Broderick.  Still, boys will be boys, so I wasn’t surprised when the first time my son saw a Godzilla movie, he was hooked.  He started to borrow them from the library.  He would watch them On Demand.  And he would talk about them.  And talk about them.  And talk about them.

So last summer, when he suggested we go see the latest big screen outing of the gigantic lizard at the cheap show, my wife suggested that such a screening fell under my Dadly duty, and that I needed to take one for the team.  So we went.  And much to my surprise, I enjoyed it.

Last night, I watched the Blu-Ray version of this movie again, and again, I enjoyed it.

This movie will never win an Academy Award.  But at the same time, there is no reason to limit oneself only to movies that could.  The medium, at its core, is the exercise of telling a story.  The ones that do this well find a way to invest the audience in the story and in the characters.  That is why certain “franchises” are so successful.  And the latest telling of Godzilla does this in a way that managed to engage both a 14 year old and his 42 year old father.  The former with the unfolding of a mystery surrounding the discovery of evidence of something huge having recently left an underground cavern in the Philippines and the later with the sudden and startling “accident” at a nuclear plant in Japan that forever altered an American family working there, and separated the surviving members of that family with sorrow, regret, and inconsolable loss, which fueled an obsession which was to continue for 15 years.

I don’t think “horror” is the right word to describe the human’s eye views that the viewer is treated to with the unfolding tale of unthinkable monsters set loose upon the modern world.  But you do get to experience, however vicariously, the sense of terror and helplessness of the people in the movie dealing with the negation of technology, and the loss of control that comes with having most of the trappings of modern life rendered inert and useless, as gigantic beings thrash about and destroy the cities these newly primitive people live in.  You share in their wonder as the military very visibly attempts to prepare for the coming of such beasts, as nature itself heralds their arrival.  And I think that is the genius of this movie.  For two hours, it immerses you in the human experience of a world where humans are insignificant to titanic creatures that walk the Earth.  It is a world in which our dominance is swept aside as if it never existed, and suddenly, we don’t even rate as prey for the new masters of the planet.  This is a restoration of the wonders experienced as a child viewing a man in a monster suit, smashing and destroying a model city in to rubble around him, not by looking down, as we did when I was a child, but by looking up, and using the perspective to create a very real, and more tactile sense of terror.

GODZILLA

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What I learned from Barry the Usurper’s speech:

1. Progressivism sees the ultimate aim of government as the removal or mitigation of consequences for those it has deliberately enslaved with gilded shackles.

2. Logic has no place in the actions of government. You MUST believe that deportation is physically impossible, but verification of tax status and criminal background checks for the very same people can be accomplished with the wave of a wand.

3. “New tones” and “civility” only apply to discourse directed toward the monarch and his prerogatives; he will be as insulting, as condescending, and as reckless with the truth as he likes. He may impugn the character of his opponents, and assassinate any character he choses without acknowledging that he never had a right to claim the moral high ground that he has. And if you expect something different, that’s your problem, not his.

4. Breaking the law should never be rewarded, unless the Monarch deems it proper to do so.

5. Redefining terms and words in order to rhetorically spin dross into gold is acceptable linguistic alchemy.

6. Claiming cover based on the actions of predecessors whom you have reviled and disrespected at every turn isn’t despicable and toxically ironic when the Monarch does it.

7. If Congress doesn’t pass a law that the Monarch wants, the Monarch can refuse to enforce the law that exists…and such a trick is capable of repetition.

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Jonah-HexBefore I get started, I have to confess that before I watched this movie, I was prepared to hate it.  The reviews that I was aware of were brutal and punishing, and knowing the treatment that many DC characters had gotten on the big screen, it wasn’t difficult to believe that once again, the Hollywood treatment had messed up yet another in the comic company’s vast pantheon of heroes. I forgot that critics make their bones not by fair reviews, but by bruising ones.  Jonah Hex isn’t The Dark Knight, but it isn’t Green Lantern, either. First, let me say that I was surprised at who was in this movie.  I recall that when it came out, much was made of the inclusion of Megan Fox in the cast.  I’ve never been impressed with her acting skills, or the unscripted words to tumble from her lips, but neither one of those things is why she is cast in movies, and she appears to have been cast in this film for precisely the same reason.  John Malkovich plays the villain, a Confederate general who decided in the late days of the war that civilians were legitimate targets, and who killed Hex’s family in front of him after Hex disobeyed Malkovich’s order to blow up a hospital, and killed Malkovich’s son, who was also his best friend, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, after he drew on him.   Other familiar faces in the cast include Will Arnett, Michael Fasbender, and Adian Quinn. The movie opens with Hex, played by Josh Brolin, explaining how he found himself to be better at waging war than he had expected, until he’d made a decision to abide by his conscience, and what that decision had cost him.  That decision also left him with one foot still stuck in the afterlife, and the ability to talk to the dead…a skill that comes in handy in his post-war career as shadowy bounty hunter with a price on his own head.  We soon learn why his own head carries a price, as his aimless existence once again becomes focused when he learns from agents of the US government that the man who took everything from him, played by Malkovich, wasn’t dead after all, and with the aid of a doomsday weapon never built by the Federal government, means to finish the war with the destruction of Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. The film proceeds to from confrontation to confrontation until Hex finally gets it right, and rids himself, and the world, of his old commanding officer, earning himself a pardon, and an interesting job offer, from the President, played by Aidan Quinn.  I enjoyed Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Hex, a disfigured man shaped by the brutality of war and the loss of his family, who seems at peace with the unusual ability to talk to the dead, and his quick and sometimes humorous responses to the dead, and to the living who are about to join them.  I am aware that this film is sometimes compared to the truly awful big screen adaptation of Wild, Wild West, which I can only assume is because of the doomsday weapon Malkovich intends to use against Washington D.C.   I understand the comparison, but it isn’t a fair one.   The acting is better, the script is more coherent, and Jonah Hex is paced much better than Wild, Wild West. In closing, this is not an edifying film.  You will not become a better person because you watched this movie.  It is not uplifting, although the ending makes clear that Hex understands that he has been given a second chance.  It won’t change your life, and you won’t rave to your friends about how great it is.  But it is a fun movie to watch while eating popcorn, and not taking it, or yourself, too seriously.

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Occasionally, I set out watching a movie with the expectation that it is going to be awful, and then discover that it really was entertaining.  This was one such film.

I can hear some of you now…”But Blackiswhite, it’s about vampires and the Civil War!  That’s ridiculous!”

And my head is nodding yes, but let me remind you of something.  The title is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Suspension of disbelief is just part of the package when you sit down to watch it, don’t you think?

Honestly, despite the fact that the script had very few “A-ha” moments, and you marvel at the main character’s inability to see something that was right before him all along, the story managed to stay engaging, due in large part to the portrayal of Lincoln by Benjamin Walker as a talented, yet not overly bright rail-splitter turned vampire hunter who louses up his first opportunity to dispatch the vampire who killed his mother years earlier, and is saved, then tutored by Henry Sturges (played by an amused Dominic Cooper) in the ways of killing the nightstalkers without ending up an entrée.  We then see Mr. Lincoln blaze a bloody trail through twilight Springfield, Illinois, until he captures the attention of “Adam”, so-called because he is the “oldest of us”, brilliantly played by Rufus Sewell, who stole the movie in an exchange with the young Mr. Lincoln while he had him at a disadvantage.  I won’t reveal too much, but the money quote was part of that exchange, in which Adam looks down on a struggling Abe, and gives him a taste of his own perception of human nature, built on an immortal’s experience.

“May I share with you one of the revelations of my five thousand years?  We are all slaves to something.  I, to eternity, you to your convictions, others to the color of their skin. “

It went on, but this struck me as an honest nugget of truth about the human condition, presented in a manner far more subtle than I have come to expect from Hollywood.

The movie, and Abe’s life progressed after this, giving a very sinister undertone to the Civil War, and an alternate take on the bloodshed of Gettysburg, and the steps taken by Lincoln and his friends to address this new threat that brought him out of his retirement from vampire hunting, and into a genuine climax, and the necessary denouement which is so often lacking in many modern films.

In closing, don’t expect Oscar-caliber performances, although Rufus Sewell played the arch-villain with an undeniable flair that also managed to not be heavy-handed.  Frankly, his performance alone made the film worth watching, but a fun script and interesting dialogue helped the film considerably.  It’ll never make my top 20, but I wasn’t cursing the fact that I wouldn’t get the rental fee and the hour and forty-five minutes back either.  I call that a win.

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Apparently, the sequester hasn’t affected the Census Bureau, because they CONTINUE to call my home.

Last night, to their bad fortune, they did so when I was actually here.
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I got another call from the Census Bureau last night.

It didn’t even register with the flunky attempting to intimidate me into giving them a host of information that is none of their business that telling me “Congress passed a law giving us the authority to collect data for them.” wouldn’t even be the slightest bit convincing to an attorney who has read the relevant sections of 13 USC and can’t find ANY authority for the scope of the questions they were asking, and she got very upset when I told her that they need to quit calling my home, as it is starting to border on harrassment.

Fed Flunky: Sir, if you do not answer the questions, I’ll have to make you as a “refusal”.

Me: You can mark me as a refusal, but that would not be true. The law says I can be fined if I willfully refuse to fill out any portion of the survey. I filled out the first page, and then wrote “None of your damn business” on the remaning 35 pages. Therefore I didn’t fail to fill out any portion of the survey, only the parts that are none of your business. Besides, I’d be seventeen different kinds of idiot to give you that information considering the federal government’s recent treack record with confidential data.

Fed Flunky: Sir, THAT’S not what the law means.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware I was speaking to another attorney. It must suck having to work a Friday evening for minimum wage.

Fed Flunky: If you have a law degree, you can defend yourself at the hearing.

Me: Is that supposed to scare me?

*click*

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If we can pay for this kind of idiotic pursuit of American citizens, and NOT enforce current immigration law, and not allow the government to perform the functions that it is SUPPOSED to be doing, like training for military units, then this government’s legitimacy should be loudly and frequently questioned.  Daily.

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It is hard to believe Republican men think they know so much when they are SO freaking stupid!! They had better pray to the God they say they are channeling that the female members of their families are not raped, or become pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy. How is it wrong to abort a fetus, and then let an unwanted child be raised by 1 or 2 parents that beat the crap of it for 3-6 years before the child dies. Now tell me those children do not feel more pain than an aborted fetus!!

—A friend of an old school classmate on Facebook

One of the reasons I LIKE Facebook is the opportunity to be exposed to so much faulty thinking. It underscores a bleak and undeniable answer to the question “How the hell did this country get so #^$%@* Up?” If I were a researcher seeking insight into the nearly criminal failings of the modern American educational system, I could have no greater source material to draw on than the postings made on that website.

Abortion has been, and remains, one of the great head scratchers of our time. We live in a culture that has been transformed by nearly 50 years racial remediation, starting with Affirmative Action, and the lowered standards for some people that came with it, which over time morphed into the dubious notion of “diversity”, in which society has been forced to adopt a bankrupt ideology that essentially says that “All cultures are equal, therefore the only one that will be measured against any objective standard, after application of a “privilege” penalty, is the majority one.”

The result has not been to raise formerly discriminated against minorities into all strata of society by creating an equality of opportunity, but rather to harm all of society by imposing a tyrannical mediocrity by way of an ill-conceived and poorly executed scheme of equality of condition, executed with predictable effect by a kleptocratic government, which purposely fosters a culture of division by pursuing “identity politics”, and pandering to these various groups, all while making certain that the power and wealth of the political class itself benefits first and foremost from this strategy. This is why it is that members of Congress, who are only paid annual salaries between $100,000 and $200,000 annually can retire after careers in Washington as multi-millionaires, while diverting ever-increasing sums of taxpayer money each year to a “war” they have no intention of winning, the “War on Poverty”. In such a climate, success can ever only expect to be penalized, and excellence becomes the exception and not the rule.

In such a realm, where the now-divided segments of society are set upon each other, to fight amongst themselves for the scraps that a supposedly benevolent government deigns to toss to them, much like latter-day nobility tossing scraps from their banquet table to burlap-wearing peasants scrambling for a morsel of what their labor produced, one of the biggest hogs at that trough is “Planned Parenthood”, an organization that makes a great deal of taxpayer money ensuring that prospective parents never actually become parents.

The ironic reality of this cabal that ensures that “The blood money must flow” has its roots in the work of Margaret Sanger, a favorite darling of the left, and a racist eugenics supporter, who believed that “undesirables” and their breeding habits were certain to destroy the makeup of this country if they were allowed to proceed unchecked. Yet those who followed in her footsteps wrought a tortured legal history that mystically transmogrified a brutal act of murder into a “Constitutional right”, based on nothing more on a Supreme Court Justice’s assertion that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the unborn, because “Shut Up”, he said.

Once freed, the legal murder lobby was free to quietly and incrementally distance itself from its mantra of “Safe, rare, and legal”, first by convincing women that abortion is perfectly acceptable birth control, in which choice was more about avoiding the consequences of choice by changing their minds, and then more recently by ignoring and downplaying the utterly shocking and deplorable practices of Kermit Gosnel and other abortionists like him, who, for decades made a mockery of the dignity of human life by how he treated the children he he savagely murdered, inside or outside the womb, and with his callous disregard for the safety of his “patients”. This inexcusable behavior needs to be mentioned and an explanation demanded every single time these bloodthirsty harpies and their castrated beta males wail about any reasonable regulation that would impose minimum standards for safety with the tired and hypocritical “No more wire hangers! No more back alleys!”, because with standards such as they have now, the blood money lobby will be only too happy to bring botched abortions, unsanitary conditions, exsanguination, and sepsis to you! No more having to sneak around to get it! You’ve come a long away, baby! (This is an equally appropriate response to the claim that it is a “Women’s Health” issue…because women are always made healthier by unsterilized (or even washed) instruments, and facilities operated like disassembly lines that would be more easily comprehended in an abattoir instead of one of these charnel houses masquerading as a “women’s health facility”.

But in a very lucrative taxpayer-funded business where the only consistency (logical or otherwise) is that anyone who threatens this bloody sinecure which taints every single citizen in United States, and mocks the mission statement of this country, contained in our national charter, that being LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is immediately denounced as a heretic, someone who is against wymyn’s health, wants to oppress wymyn, or isn’t entitled to have an opinion due to a lack of ovaries. Of these disqualifications, the last is perhaps the stupidest. The idea that you can’t call a private right to murder what it is because you aren’t the one who would carry a child to term if such a “right” was properly denied is an extraordinary proposition. I can only hope that those who would advance this belief would feel the shame at their thought processes if they were told that they couldn’t denounce murders propagated against someone of the opposite sex, or a different skin color, or religion. And to cling to the practice on the basis of rape or incest is to facilitate the exception swallowing the rule, as well as condemning an innocent party to a penalty that will not be shared by the offender, and doing so without trial, or even the most basic due process that even the lowliest criminal could expect.

This public condemnation is advanced by a combination of aging hippies behaving badly, and conscienceless presstitutes who want to cast any whisper regarding race or the differences between them (while we’re expected to celebrate “diversity”, no less) as racist, so as to invoke the civil rights “struggle” as continuing today, much like “the revolution” is constantly invoked as a cure-all against any question raised against those who consider themselves the guardians and arbiters of such ideas and concepts, while ignoring the fact that the more than 8 million abortions done in this country since Roe made its second pass before the Revered Nine is proof of the only real civil rights issue that needs recognition today: Millions of unborn humans killed with taxpayer money in this country, under the falsest of pretenses and for the basest of motives…money. Blood money. The practice calls to mind a quote by Thomas Jefferson, in regard to another abomination perpetrated for too long in this country, and also for financial reasons.

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

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