Sunday, March 28, 2010

The New Health Care Bill Is ARMAGEDDON! - Really??

Well at least that's what leading Republicans are saying anyway. Yes I said, leading Republicans!

Not just the Lunatic Tea Party Fringe,
but mainstreamers like our
House Minority Leader John Boehner.

Who seriously declared, with a straight face no less,  that...

This New Health Care Bill
Will Ruin Our Country!"

(Note the serious look of concern on his face.  One can obviously tell he  really cares.)  

Then there's The Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele who attempts to explain to a skeptical Shepard Smith on Fox News that - "Yes, this Really is Armageddon!"  (Please note, when you're the chairman of the party, the one man who is actually authorized to speak on behalf of the Republican Party, and your right wing inflammatory rhetoric, becomes so bizarre that even Fox News has to challenge it.  Well then, you know you've gone too far.)  Click play and check out the video.  It's only about a minute long - it's worth it - it's fun!

All of this over a rather minor health care bill.  A bill whose key provisions won't even take effect until 2014.  Yet that didn't stop, the Wall Street Journal from publishing an Opinion Piece that declares it to be a disaster from "Day One". An opinion page that has apparently gone viral around the net. 

This is of course the same exact WSJ opinion page that just one year ago. In March of 2009 boasted screaming headlines like "Obama Liberalism Is Killing the Dow". Well, need I tell you that the Dow Jones industrial average has gone up about 65% since then.

It's actually up 70% if you go back to the lows in the last year of the Bush administration. Have the WSJ editorial writers, given the Obama administration any credit for that? No, of course not! But you can damn well bet when the Dow falls back down again (as it inevitably will). Obama, if he's still in office, will take the blame!

It's important to remember that this is not the Wall Street Journal of old. The staid and reliable, albeit business conservative publication, respected throughout the world and that most of us grew up with.

Ever since the paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch in 2007. Its opinion pages have become just another tool in his foreign-owned (he's Australian, you know), right-wing political propaganda machine. Which of course includes Fox News, numerous tabloid trash publications like the New York Post, and the many right-wing radio stations he either owns or partially owns throughout the English-Speaking World.

Now don't get me wrong, as I've blogged about in the past, this is not at all, the health care reform I was hoping for.  I am no big fan of this bill.  Although, I can't even imagine what the Republicans might be saying, if the Democrats would've had the votes and the courage to actually pass real health care reform. 

Heck, the initial features of this bill, don't even provide some of the basic coverage that John McCain himself was campaigning for during the 2008 presidential election.  The truth is, Republican President Richard Nixon back in the 1970s, proposed and failed to pass a far more progressive health care bill than this even pretends to be.   And yet no Republicans called it Armageddon, they just (most of them anyway) voted against it.

The real problems with this bill is not what it does.  But what it doesn't do.  It provides No Public Option. No Medicare Expansion or Buy-In.  No Tort Reform and No Prescription Drug Price Controls.  All of which were negotiated out by special interest groups.  And all of which are necessary,  if we ever hope to get health care costs under control.

While this bill does provide some immediate relief for young people (26 and under), the truth is, this new health care bill does absolutely nothing for me and my current situation. The only benefits in this legislation that might be of some potential help to me won't kick in until 2014. And I turn 65 that year and will be eligible for Medicare anyway.

Besides, who knows what changes this bill might undergo between now and then. None of this, after all is written in stone and is obviously subject to the whims of future members of Congress.

What I do know is that this bill, with all of its flaws (most of which were created by special interest oppositions) is at the very least - a start.  And  it's hardly  "The Armageddon"  that Republicans and Big Business are making it out to be.  This type of Inflammatory Speech, Republican Hype and Sensationalism is  just Pure Political Theater.  Designed and Created to try and get out the Republican vote in 2010.

Just Thinking

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http://www.AgnosticThinking.BlogSpot.Com/  Dedicated just to Agnostic/Atheism, Rational Thinking, Gay Subculture And Related Topics.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hostile and Violent Backlash Shows the Right (White) Wing's True Colors!

Local Police In Washington DC and The FBI are investigating  numerous threats directed at House Democrats following passage of the health care bill.  At least 10 Prominent Democrats have received serious Death Threats. 

The Kansas City Star reports that the Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita was vandalized over the weekend; assailants allegedly hurled a brick inscribed with both racist and anti-Obama rhetoric through a plate-glass window.

Numerous other reports of rock or brick throwing and other vandalism has come in from Democratic headquarters throughout the nation.  A former Militia Leader and Alabama based Blogger Mike Vanderboegh took responsibility as he bragged  about the attacks on his blog site.  He even calls for more attacks saying "To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break Their Windows. Break Them NOW."

Even though he personally collects a Social Security Disability Check every month.  Mr. Vanderboegh claims he doesn't want the government involved in his life.

Democratic Reps. Louise Slaughter and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona also had their offices vandalized.

Longtime Georgia Congressman and Veterans Civil Rights Leader, John Lewis (who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.)  received numerous racial epithets from protesters and demonstrators.  They spit at him, as they repeatedly called him "A Fucking Nigger". 

Openly Gay Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, received similar attacks from protesters who called him "A Fucking Faggot". 

Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan received a fax with a drawing of a "Noose and Gallows",  labeled "Bart (SS) Stupak."   The fax starts by saying, Achtung!  Stupid Stupak,  while showing the Nazi symbol for the "SS"

Beneath the Hangman's Noose and Gallows.  It sates "All Baby Killers Come to Unseemly Ends"

"We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun site over our district. People do that they've got to realize there's consequences to that action."

The Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina also received a fax at his office depicting a "Noose".  As did several other African-American Representatives.

All of this, in addition to numerous Hateful and Vicious voice-mails being left on the phones of Democratic Congressmen.  Messages like "I Hope You Bleed" and "Get Cancer and Die".

Further Fueling the Flames of Fiery Rhetoric is our old and dear friend Sarah Palin who has put Rifle Gun Sights on Democrats she's targeting for 2010.

As she advises her Facebook readers to be ready for a fight  and “Don’t Retreat, Instead-Reload!”

Not to mention, other quotes like "Be Armed and Ready",  or  "We'll Beat Them with Ballots Not Bullets.  But If the Ballots Fail Will Have the Bullets Ready".

Plus All the Right-Wing Bloggers and Some Radio and TV Talkshow Hosts, Who Are Actually Calling for a New Revolution!  Reminding their followers that it only took 3% of the Colonists to fight back the British in 1776.  "Be Armed and Ready", they urge "We Did It Then -We Can Do It Again".   - The Fact that what they're advocating is tantamount to Treason seems to be lost on them.  And besides, aren't these the same people that used to be so fond of saying  "Love It or Leave It"?  

The truth is, all of this animosity has nothing to do with the recently passed health care reforms .  This new bill after all, is very moderate at best.  Far less progressive than that which was proposed by Richard Nixon in the 1970's.  Or many other Republican proposals throughout the 20th century. 

All of this right wing hostility and anger actually represents the angst some people feel about having a Black Man in the White House. 

I know most people don't want to admit that.  But I honestly believe that is mostly what's happening here.  And it saddens me greatly.

Just Thinking

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Texas School Book Massacre!

Last week, the Texas Board of Education, with a seven vote margin, ratified a series of controversial new, right-wing fundamentalist christian textbook standards. Standards that would not only change History and Science, but could pollute the minds of young students nationwide.

Since Texas purchases the same books for the entire state (unlike most school districts, which make the decision locally) Texans, therefore have the largest schoolbook market in the country. Which tends to have a great influence on how textbooks are written and produced across the United States.

Among other things, these new Texas standards would force students to study the Creationist Philosophy of Pro-Life, Christian Fundamentalists, like Phyllis Schafly, but would delete the Enlightened Thinking of founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

That's right. Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence) Would Be Out! But Phyllis Schafly and Conservative Christian Philosophers like Thomas Aquinas Would Be In! -Well That Sounds Fair and Balanced.

Students would further be indoctrinated with the thinking of the Tea Party Movement, the National Rifle Association, the Contract with America people, the Christian Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the widely discredited economic theories of the Libertarian, German-Austrian Economist Frederic von Hayek. All of this without benefit of any dissenting or opposing points of view.

Now, perhaps it doesn't bother you that we would be raising a generation of morons. School kids that believe in the inerrancy of Bible Fairy Tales. That the Earth is the Center of the Universe and our Sun revolves around us. That man walked with the dinosaurs because the world is only 5,000 years old.

Maybe you don't care that this could lead to the birth of a New Christian Theocracy where there would be No Freedom of Religion or Thought. No Bill of Rights, Constitution or Declaration of Independence, just the in-errant philosophy of Bible texts to guide us.

But I suspect, if you really think about it, you do care. And if you do, then it's time - To Mess With Texas!

Just Thinking

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Has the Tea Party Movement Infiltrated the US Supreme Court?

As Nina Totenberg reported on NPR's morning edition yesterday, Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, (much like Sarah Palin)  is aligning herself with the Tea Party movement and has formed a new organization Liberty Central to promote its ideals. Although she has often worked for conservative politicians and organizations, Thomas' new role is raising questions about potential conflicts of interest for her husband.

(Charles Dharapak/AP photo shows Justice Clarence Thomas with his wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, in 2007. Under Supreme Court rules, Thomas would decide for himself when a conflict of interest arose in regard to his wife's political group.)

 Virgina Thomas, known as Ginni, has long worked on behalf of political conservatives. She was a top aide to Republican House Leader Dick Armey, and in 2000, while Bush v. Gore was before the U.S. Supreme Court, she was working at the conservative Heritage Foundation, helping to recruit staff for a possible Bush administration. Now she is president and CEO of a political startup called  Liberty Central , which advertises itself as linked to the Tea Party movement and its values. As Thomas put it at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, "I have come to know and love the Tea Party Patriots. It has been a privilege to become a bit of an ambassador of sorts for the National Board.

"Her organization, she said, will correct the record and tell the truth that the mainstream media does not. "The hard-left agenda just isn't going down well," she said. Thomas added that "hope and change" — a catchphrase of President Obama's campaign — has now been seen as "a big, old power grab."

Legal ethics experts agree that there is nothing in the Code of Judicial Conduct that prevents the spouse of a judge or justice from taking public political positions.

New York University law professor Stephen Gillers, author of a leading text on legal ethics, says judges are supposed to ensure that they do not sit on cases in which their spouses have a financial interest.

But, he said, "Ideological issues, as opposed to monetary ones, are not a subject of concern." A judge's spouse, he said, "can have a full political life, and take positions on political issues and legal issues, even ones that come before his or her spouse."

That does not mean that Thomas' role in her new organization is problem-free. She has said she will accept contributions from a variety of sources, including corporations, under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.

Gillers says "the crunch point" will come if Thomas' organization "gets substantial contributions from companies or trade associations that have interests in matters that are pending at the Supreme Court, or headed for the Supreme Court."

Speaking hypothetically, he said that if "it turned out that a justice voted for a particular company, and a week later it's discovered that that company — or the trade association of which it was a member — made a substantial contribution to the justice's spouse's charity or political organization, the public is going to be rightfully suspicious."

Liberty Central lists itself as nonpartisan, but its Web page has a distinctly conservative cast. On the site, Thomas lists herself as a "fan" of Rush Limbaugh and says she is "intrigued" by Glenn Beck. She said at the Conservative Political Action Conference that her group would be active in the November elections, but she did not specify how.

Should her activities raise any questions about a conflict of interest for her husband, he is the person who would decide whether to recuse himself from a case.

Federal judges in the lower courts can be removed from a case over a conflict — but in the Supreme Court, the individual justices make the decision for themselves, and it is not subject to review by anyone else.

"I did not give up my First Amendment rights when my husband became a justice of the Supreme Court," Thomas says. "My involvement with has been vetted by the Supreme Court ethics office and Liberty Central's own board of directors. There have been many other judges who have spouses that are politically active."

Justice Thomas has declined to comment about his wife's new role, or when and if he might ever recuse himself because of it.

Just Thinking

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Agnostics Thinking...

Agnostic Thinking...

This is the title of my New Blog - Dedicated just to Agnostic/Atheism, Rational Thinking, Gay Subculture  And Related Topics.  You can access my new blog by clicking on the above link or going to the following blog address...   

I have moved over to that blog address all of the relevant posts from this blog  Just Thinking...  as well as some new posts I've recently created.  When appropriate, some posts will appear on both blogs.  But only the aforementioned topics will appear on the new blog.  This will hopefully appease my friends in the Atheist/Agnostic community who have been critical of the many political tangents and the variety of topics I tend to go on about here. 

This Blog, My Main and Original Blog Just Thinking  will continue and will always be available Here at this address  Please feel free to visit and comment on both.

Just Thinking

Please feel free to comment below, ( just click on the word comment if the panel is not open). Or you can e-mail me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Academy Award Afterthoughts!

First some thoughts about fashion.  Not that I care much about fashion and as I have already freely acknowledged in the past, I know even less.  But, at the request of my friend Billy and others, I will attempt to share with you some of my thoughts anyway.

Travolta in Blue Jeans!

I absolutely loved this story.  Apparently at the last minute, while getting dressed.  John Travolta discovered his tuxedo pants didn't fit (it seems he had gained some weight).  So no problem, he just decided to wear blue jeans instead.  It's a guy thing!  :)

As for everyone else, for the most part, I thought they all looked great.  There were of course a few exceptions.  Some exceptionally bad and some exceptionally good.

The Exceptionally Good and My three favorites...

                 Stylish and Classy                                               Sophisticated and Elegant
                    Meryl Streep                                                            Helen Mirren 


 And of Course My Girlfriend, The Beautiful And Talented
 Penélope Cruz

And Now for the Exceptionally Awful...

                                   Charlize Theron
                           Sporting like to "Bull's-Eye's"
                                  Roses for Breasts

Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Prom Queen at the Gymnasium

 Vera Farmiga - Just think, somebody must have told her she looked good in this.

Diane Kruger - Don't ask me why, but some people really liked this.
I thought she just looked silly.

Then their was, Oscar's Most Awkward Moment...

When journalist/film producer/apparent crackpot Elinor Burkett interrupted director Roger Ross Williams as he was accepting the award for Best Documentary Short for "Music By Prudence". The whole situation is very complicated and, well, very awkward. The whole sordid story, is a real, "He said, She said Saga".  One thing for sure though.  Eleanor came off like a real CU Next Tuesday!

Just Thinking

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Friday, March 5, 2010

My Oscar Predictions for 2010

As I list the nominees in each of the major categories,
 I will share with you My Prediction (who I think will win) and My Preference (who I think should win).

Best Actor:

The Nominees Are...

Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth in "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman in "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker".

My Prediction - Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
My Preference - Colin Firth in "A Single Man"

Best Supporting Actor:

The Nominees Are...

Matt Damon in "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer in "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci in "The Lovely Bones",
Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"

My Prediction - Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"
My Preference - Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"

Best Actress:

The Nominees Are...

Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren in "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan in "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious"
Meryl Streep in "Julie and Julia"

My Prediction - Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
My Preference - Meryl Streep in "Julie and Julia"

Best Supporting Actress:

The Nominees Are...

Penélope Cruz in "Nine"
Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique in "Precious"

My Prediction - Mo'Nique in "Precious"
My Preference - Penélope Cruz in "Nine"

Best Animated Feature:

The Nominees Are...

"Coraline" (Focus Features) Henry Selick
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" (20th Century Fox) Wes Anderson
"The Princess and the Frog" (Walt Disney) John Musker and Ron Clements
"The Secret of Kells" (GKIDS) Tomm Moore
"Up" (Walt Disney/Pixar)

Please Note: I never got to see the "Secret of Kells"
so my selections are made from the remaining four.

My Prediction - "Up" (Walt Disney/Pixar)
My Preference - "Up" (Walt Disney/Pixar)

Best Original Song:

The Nominees Are...

"Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog" by Randy Newman
"Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog" by Randy Newman
"Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36" by Reinhardt Wagner & Frank Thomas
"Take It All" from "Nine" by Maury Yeston
"The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart" by Ryan Bingham & T Bone Burnett

My Prediction - "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart"
My Preference - "Take It All" from "Nine" (even though Randy Newman songs were lots of fun).

Best Original Score:

The Nominees Are...

"Avatar" (20th Century Fox) James Horner
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" (20th Century Fox) Alexandre Desplat
"The Hurt Locker" (Summit) Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
"Sherlock Holmes" (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
"Up" (Walt Disney/Pixar) Michael Giacchino

My Prediction - "UP" (Walt Disney/Pixar) Michael Giacchino
My Preference - Either "Avatar" or "UP" would be fine with me. 

Best Original Screenplay:

The Nominees Are...

“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

My Prediction - “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
My Preference -  “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Nominees Are...

“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner 

My Prediction - “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman & S. Turner
My Preference - "A Single Man" Screenplay by Tom Ford & David Scearce (This film of course, wasn't even nominated in this category, although it was an excellent adaptation of a beautiful novel.)

Best Film Editing:

The Nominees Are...

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz
My Prediction - “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
My Preference - "Avatar", “Inglourious Basterds”, and "The Hurt Locker"  would all be excellent choices.

Best Visual Effects:

The Nominees Are...

"Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

My Prediction - "Avatar"
My Preference - "Avatar"
There is No Contest here, it's "Avatar" all the way, no doubt in my mind. In fact the same can and should be said for all of the Artistic and Special Effect Awards. The night belongs to "Avatar"!

Best Costumes:

The Nominees Are...

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

My Prediction - “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
My Preference -  “Nine” Colleen Atwood  (Although to be perfectly fair, I did not get to see all the nominated films in this category and truth to be told, fashion and custom designs are not really my thing.)

Now On to the 2 Big Prizes of the Night!

Best Director:

The Nominees Are...

"Avatar" (20th Century Fox) James Cameron
"The Hurt Locker" (Summit Entertainment) Kathryn Bigelow
"Inglourious Basterds" (The Weinstein Company) Quentin Tarantino
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" (Lionsgate) Lee Daniels
"Up in the Air" (Paramount, Cold Spring, & DW Studios) Jason Reitman

My Prediction - Kathryn Bigelow for the "Hurt Locker" (James is gonna be so disappointed)

My Preference - James Cameron for "Avatar"  (He really does deserve it.  Although if either wins I'll be happy.) 

Best Picture:

The Nominees Are (believe it or not there's 10 of them)...

“Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
“The Blind Side” Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove & Broderick Johnson
“District 9” Peter Jackson & Carolynne Cunningham
“An Education” Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier & Greg Shapiro
“Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender
“Precious: Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness & Gary Magness
“A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“Up” Jonas Rivera
“Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman
And the Oscar Goes to
i.e.  The Winner Is...

My Prediction -  "Avatar"

My Preference -  "Avatar" 

The truth is, I would be perfectly happy if any of my top four favorite films were to win this year.  That list included "Avatar", "A Serious Man", "The Hurt Loker" and "Inglourious Bastards".

Just Thinking

So what do you think?  Did I get it right? Did I miss any of your favorites?  Don't forget to check back after the awards and see how I did. Please feel free to comment below, ( just click on the word comment if the panel is not open). Or you can e-mail me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Top 13 Films of 2009

With the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, scheduled to air this coming Sunday night, March 7 on ABC.  I thought this might be a good time to share with you my favorite films of 2009.  Not the top 10, mind you, more like 13.  I just couldn't seem to stop at 10.  I needed at least 13, if not more.  And besides, for me anyway, 13 has always been kind of a lucky number.

You know, just because Moses sat down and wrote  "The Ten Commandments".  And then claimed to receive them from some "Guy in the Sky"  (that only he could eye)  doesn't mean that we always have to list things in groups of 10.

So anyway, here's my 13 Favorites.  And in a day or so,  I hope to post my "Oscar" picks and predictions for Sunday night.

# 1. AVATAR - Nominated for nine Oscars, James Cameron's extraordinary, groundbreaking epic film is truly a unique and visually spectacular movie-going experience. 

Rated PG -  This should definitely be on everybody's Must-See list. 

Preferably see the 3-D version.  While it's still in theaters.

# 2.  A SERIOUS MAN - Unquestionably one of the best films I've seen in years.  This is the Coen Brothers at their Brilliant Best.  A deliciously dark comedy that I've already seen three times, once in the theaters and twice on DVD. 

For those of you who still believe in the aforementioned  "Guy in the Sky" - You know, that "Guy" you can call on in times of need.  Let me ask you something?  How does it make you feel, when every time you call - you get a busy signal?  Such is the Jewish Angst in this movie.  But don't misunderstand, much like the Rye Bread.  You don't have to be Jewish to love it!

# 3. THE HURT LOCKER - There's something about war movies that usually turns me off.  But this is not your typical war film.  Yes it is a first-rate action-adventure drama,  filled with suspense and surprise.  But it's so much more than that.  It's actually an in-depth study of the complex personalities it takes to successfully succeed at warfare.  It's riveting and insightful, and perhaps one of the best films of this or any other year.  And like Avatar, also received 9 nominations.

# 4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS - Perhaps one of Quentin Tarantino's Best - if not most enjoyable films ever.  A word of caution here though.  Remember, this is Quentin Tarantino after-all, and this movie is rated  "R"  with good reason.  Lots of his trademark graphic violence here.  But at the same time, with his rewrite of history and the way he kills Nazis.  It almost makes it seem like good clean fun.  If only it could've or would've happened that way.


# 5. A SINGLE MAN - This is not to be confused with my # 2 pick, the dark comedy "A Serious Man".

This movie  "A Single Man"  is a serious Dark Drama.  It's an existential look at a day in the life of a seriously brooding college professor named George.  He is mourning the Untimely Death of his Gay Lover.  The year is 1964, so Gay is still  The Sin That Dare Not Speak Its Name.  Unable to cope any longer with the devastating loss, George spends the day, planning his own demise.  But as so often happens, things don't always work out as we plan.

# 6. AN EDUCATION - If you watch the trailers, you might get the impression, as I did, that this is just another silly Romantic Comedy.  Well, it's not.  It's actually a beautifully constructed and expertly written, Coming-of-Age Drama.
Once again,  it's the early '60s and the women's liberation movement has yet to flourish.  This time we're in Suburban London.  A bright and talented 16 year old girl is facing a Dilemma.  To go to Oxford as she and her family had always planned,  or become a "Student of Life" with an older man.  The choices she makes, and that her family seems to encourage, are reflective of a bygone era, hopefully never to be revisited again.

# 7. "UP" - Disney/Pixar does it again!  Who would've thought a story about a grumpy old man tying balloons to his house and flying away could be so engaging? 
Well, it is. In fact, it's a flawlessly told, heartbreakingly sad, meltingly tender love story.  Be prepared for a wondrous journey and an irrepressible sense of fun.  3-D and Pixar Imagination/Animation make for a truly unique and unforgettable movie-going experience.

# 8. UP IN THE AIR - Perfectly timed with our failing economy in mind.  This is an entertaining Dramedy, about a high-flying corporate "Hatchet-Man".  A man who finds himself on a flight of self-discovery and serious introspection.

This is another film that potentially could have been nothing more than a silly Rom-Com with a sweet and predictable ending.  They Opted for Reality Instead.  Good Choice! 

# 9. NINE - Number 9 is "Nine",  I bet you think I planned that.  Strangely enough, I honestly didn't. 

Being a hard-core Federico Fellini fan from back in the day, how could I possibly resist a Musical Version of his Autobiographical Masterpiece "8 1/2".  And That Cast!  what else can I say. 

Thank You, Rob Marshall for a Rare and Exceptional Treat.

# 10. PRECIOUS - This is not a tearjerker as Oprah implied, when she advised "Bring a Tissue".  It is however, a beautifully written, powerful and heart-rendering story.  In fact, "Too Powerful for Tears"  is what the Time Magazine critic wrote. 

The realities portrayed here are indeed sad and depressing but I think the film is ultimately uplifting and inspiring.  Definitely a Must See!

# 11. STAR TREK - As a huge fan of the original 1964 television series.  I may be just a bit biased here, but I just couldn't resist a movie that would bring back those original characters.  And who would've guessed they'd do it so well.  This movie was excellent, had a real Gene Roddenberry feel to it.  In fact, I'm sure he would have been proud.

I honestly believe my dad would've loved it too.  Politics and Star Trek are just about the only real bonding experiences I ever had with my late father.

# 12. Julie & Julia - I seriously debated whether to include this film in my list or not.  There were times I found it sadly lacking and dare I say, even disappointing.  I'm convinced the film would've benefited from a little more Julia (Meryl Streep) and a little less Julie (Amy Adams). 

But in the end,  I just couldn't ignore the Sheer Brilliance of Meryl Streep's Astonishing Performance.

# 13. HANGOVER - Definitely not a Chick Flick.  This is one for the Guys. Although, I did hear Essie Mae laughing at times.  How could you not?  This Film Is Hysterical!  A Sheer Lowbrow Delight - No Golden Statuettes Being Given Here. 

Just good clean R-rated fun. 

It's  "Boys Gone Wild"  at a bachelor party in Vegas.  It's twisted, shallow and perverse, yet never sacrifices heart.

Well, there they are.  My 13 best films for 2009.  Conspicuous by their absence, you may have noticed there are two films that were actually nominated for best picture this year. "The Blind Side"  and  "District 9" which are not included on my list.  Well, the truth is, I wasn't all that fond of either.  They were okay, I suppose, but in my opinion neither belongs in the best picture category.
Oh I know THE BLIND SIDE was supposed to be the feel-good movie of the year and I too honestly did enjoy it.  It's just that there was something about it that struck me as being a bit disingenuous. 

Don't get me wrong.  I think Sandra Bullock was brilliant  (Academy Award Worthy, Maybe)  and everyone who should know, agrees her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy was spot on.  But remember, this was based on a true story, and I found myself being very skeptical of how that story was being told.  As it turns out, subsequent interviews with the real-life Michael Oher have shown my skepticism to be justified.

As far as DISTRICT 9 is concerned.  I was disappointed.  I genuinely love a well written, theoretically feasible, piece of science fiction.  I also enjoy a really good action adventure plot.  Unfortunately, "District 9" was none of those things.  The movie shifts from speculative science fiction to zombie bio-horror and then, less subtly, turns into an escape-action-chase movie full of explosions, gun-play and vehicular mayhem.  I'm sorry but I just wasn't impressed.  And to think, they left the door open for a sequel.
Just Thinking

Did I miss something ?  Did I fail to mention one of your favorites? Please let me know as you comment below, ( just click on the word comment if the panel is not open).  Or you can e-mail me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Liberals and Atheists Have Above Average IQs!

Don't You Love It!

When this story first broke Yesterday in all of the Major News Outlets.  Well, needless to say, I was Pleased as Punch! 

I was even more Delighted this Morning when I opened an e-mail from my Niece Irene, who lives in the Pacific Northwest.  She was sending me a CNN News link to this very story.  In it, she gleefully explained.  Eddie, I thought you might appreciate this.  - And You Bet I Do. 

My Niece is so Bright, Beautiful and Perceptive!  I just can't help but wonder where she gets it from? :)

In case you haven't seen it yet.  Here's the basic report...

Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ

(CNN) -- Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

Thank You for Sending Me This Irene - You Made My Day!

Of course this story should be no great surprise, since we have always known...

Most of the Great Minds in Math, Science and Philosophy, Have Been Liberals, Agnostics, Atheists, Non-Theists and Secular Humanists.

Just Thinking

Please feel free to comment below, ( just click on the word comment if the panel is not open) or you can e-mail me direct at and your comment will be posted.