Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Political Hoedown: Recent Activity

is still very much alive, now more than ever in election year.

Here are some recent stories for your interest:

SOUP: where I engage in a little economic allegory. Also the "Big Bird" flap (hi-ohh!)


Debate #1:
And in this corner-! Debate Review  
Quick Debate #2 Thoughts for Mitt
Democratic Party Neglect of Black America

The who DID build it?: Thoughts on the "You didn't build that" brushfire

Entitlement Reform: Starting the Conversation

ACA Okay...?: On ObamaCare and the Supreme Court

How About Just Furious?: On the "Fast and Furious" DoJ Scandal

Read on, faithful few!

Shelf Hopping: The Year in Books (blog)


Starting late...situation normal.

SHELF HOPPING: THE YEAR IN BOOKS - go there for the start of my book-blogging for 2012! What do you mean it's OCTOBER? Obviously you don't run on "Erik" time.

Over the course of the next year [read: three months and change] you'll get the astonishing privilegeof reading little reviews of and thoughts on the books that fly off of our myriad shelves to my waiting, eager hands.

No e-readers here, as I've made far too much of a financial commitment to paper to switch before the Rapture.

So what sort of nonsense and ballyhoo will I read this year? I don't know, maybe something by that irascible firebrand,  [insert controversial - and probably political - author here], the dystopian kid future thing with the killing and the angst, or perhaps that one book, you know, with the slapping and the moans that made you feel dirty to just see a woman reading on the train*?

Who can honestly tell? The future...is unwritten!**

Giddy up! Allons-y! Et cetera!


-Erik

*No. A thousand times no.
**Technically, this future has already happened and we're just visiting its wake. Sorry.

Read on, faithful few!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Skele-Tor, Eternian Witchdoctor! (Art + Story)

Superhero Costume Coalition put out the call a few weeks ago to redesign Skeletor, He-Man's iconic archenemy. I'm not nearly the artist as the other contributors, but I decided to try my hand. I give you...


Skele-Tor, Eternian Witchdoctor!



Transported through time from the dim past, this tribal witchdoctor brings with him the primal dark, black magic so potent that it requires King Randor and his council to summon an ancient warrior spirit - via a magical sword - to wage bloody combat for Eternia's very survival!




I so enjoyed the concept, that I decided to write a prose piece on it....


"The Bone-Man"


The watch commander looked out over the purple Eternian twilight. Night had once more struck the land, though it hardly mattered. On of three moons already rode high, its surface full of the twinkling lights of industry. When the second crested the horizon, the bare darkness of early evening would fade to a dream.

There were no threats beyond the royal palace walls, or the city gates or the endless miles of agroplots. Orbital-1 had communicated no skirmishes for months; the mutants were quiet, their irregular empire concerned with a threat on the other side of the galaxy.

Terrestrial rebellions continued to crop up on the planet's far side, though, frustrating the King's new general. Though only a few dozen men or robots strong, truly a policing nuisance, it marred the image of Eternia as the Peaceful Realm, the Kingdom Beyond Strife. The Randorian Concord, forged over two centuries ago by the first of the King's line, held the nobles together in common bonds of defense, economy and prosperity.

What could there possibly be to rebel against in such a utopia?

Unstrapping his monocular, the commander swept through squares and neighborhoods and rooftops in the vicinity of the palace. Several score watch-guards patrolled the streets and more kept vigil on the wall with him. Lounged, really. He had not drawn his pistol in service once - ten years. The charge was still good, and his ceremonial short sword poked over his right shoulder.

But who could use a sword any more, or have need of it. With expanding wristguard electro-shields able to block the full body, it would take a heavy rifle volley to hit a half-way decent soldier.

"Aye there, scout, eyes up." He strolled over to his nearest runner and lightly rapped his chest. "What if I need you to dart inward to Chambers?"

Smiling, the scout stood straighter. "Should you want a report sent to the king on your recent losing streak at runes, I will happily trot off."

"Insubordination. Insubordination!" Both men laughed. It was true, but rank held little effect for soldiers without war or enemy. "I'll send you to the Fist if you keep that up-"

A shrieking stole the words from his mouth and all eyes on the wall turned to the inner courtyard and the blazing light erupting from between the paving stones. The air shimmered with intense heat and the ground began to melt outward, sinking to a white-hot pit.

"Call the marshall of the fireguard and notify him." The scout ran across the wall to a distant tower. "You three, come with me." The watch commander hustled over to a staircase and the four quickly made it as close as possible. The heat was incredible.

With an almightly bang, the light surged one last time and spiral of blue flame spun in the air a the center of the maelstrom. And then it stopped. Smoke obscured the put, but the glowing stones cooled as if smothered by ice water.

The commander approached, fumbling his pistol out and cursing the embarrasment. He slipped a little, the burned stones crumbling to ash under his boots.

One of his soldiers spoke up. "Sir, I think I see something in the midst of the smoke."

"Carefully, lads. It could be a mutant trick. Some burrowing robot or worse, a bomb."

Distant voices - the fireguard, no doubt - rose behind them. Each step was filled with dread. Quiet so long, the mutant may be making another try for the King's head. Some thought it was only his presence, and the legacy he instilled, the kept the younger nobility from seeking greater privilege and status over the commoners.

A great wind picked up the smoke and scattered it into the night. The courtyard cleared and at the center of a ten-foot-wide pit, there curled a half-naked man. He clutched a tube or club in one hand. His skin was pale, dirtied by ash, but unburnt.

"Gannus, summon the gate tower medic and notify the Watch-captains to tighten patrols. And you, Orlan?, to the Kingwatch. Let them know of this oddity." The young men ran off on their errands.

"Who is he, Commander?" It was not his old bunkmate Tir speaking, but a bewildered subordinate. A lesser, looking for guidance.

The commander knelt down and rolled the man onto his back. There were strange markings about his face and torso, paint or tattoos. A necklace of bird feathers hung limply, and was that an eye pierced and dangled from around his neck? It was as big as a fist. He had no shirt, pants, boots or gloves, just a thick fur belt and a flaps - with more stiched-in eyes at the bottom - of leather concealing his person. Bunched feathers wrapped his shins and....

"Bones...," the commander said. "There are bones littered all about him. He looks like a-a caveman witchdoctor."

Tir grunted. "Or a carnival dancer." He opened his mouth to say more...but then had no mouth or head. It vanished in a burst of fire, leaving his corpse to fall headless, smoking trailing.

"But the Vanished Gods!" The commander stumbled back from the bone-man, the witchdoctor, and activated his shield. A metal bracket sprang out from his gauntlet and expanded to a two-foot diameter circle of yellowish, crackling energy.

"Stay down, murderer!" He pointed his pistol from behind the shield. The bone-man's eyes were fixed on him - had they been open this whole time? - and thickly-tattooed lips began moving in murmur and chant.

Sparks danced along the bone-man's arm to the club in his hand. No, not a club - a massive legbone with ram's skull tied at the end. The skull's eyes took in the sparks. The bone-man rose and with a gesture sent a gout of light into the shield, overloading it.

No fool, the commander loosed a dozen shots from his pistol as he retreated toward a mass of astonished onlookers. Not one laser bolt hit. They pitted the ground around the bone-man's feet, kicking up puffs of ash.

The bone-man was please with this, and he waved the skull-club around, twirling the ash into grey column tall as his shoulder. With his free hand, the man from the pit grasped the ash and threw it like a spear at the watch commander.

What could he expect, this soldier of high science and technology. He flew to home at night in a car powered by fused atoms. Food came from hydropod farms on the third moon. In his hand was a gun that fired focused light with devestating effect.

The ash spear hit- and disintegrated around him, covering him in a layer of burned stone. Nothing happened, he thought, it was an illusion.

But then his skin started to itch and his clothes grew hot. Groaning, his thin plates of armor began to expand as if heated....

The watch commander burst into flame and ran towards the gate, screaming and screaming. He must've been dead already, the energy to move powered by residual fear so powerful it could animate a corpse.

The body collapsed and the remaining watch-guards and fireguard stood as stone, eyes moving between their dead comrades and the figure standing amidst the ruined courtyard.

The bone-man started to laugh at them. He whooped and swung his skull-club about him and stomped hard on the ash and bones at his feet, again and again until the skittered of their own accord and rose up in the air to form an archway.

Cackling now the bone-man paused long enough to spit through the arch of bone and ash. The air buckled inside and rippled with blue-fire. He stepped into it-

And was gone. The bones fell to the ground. The ash drifted. The courtyard was quiet.

The watch commander had been right. There were no threats beyond the agroplots or city gates, or beyond the high walls of the royal palace. But there had been, long ago.

And one was back.



*
*
*
*
*

Here are some other early versions and abandoned concepts (The Skel, a street tough; Byron "The Amazing Skeletor" Keldor, a stage magician):


  





Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lost Se6 Ep 5 - Sundown

[There was no Ep4 review-let; the needs of the baby outweigh the needs of the show.]


It's all about Sayid, and the darkness within.


Click to follow, but here there be spoilers galore!

***

I think we might finally start getting some answers soon, though I still feel like there are too many questions for LOST.

I hate seeing Sayid go the way he did. I like it when he tries to be a good man. I don’t like seeing his bad side. Maybe he genuinely went crazy; maybe there is a cure - for him and Claire.

But it was his story that made me wonder if the plane-didn’t-crash scenario is the version of their lives that FLocke will cause, or can. They aren’t any happier, or better people. Most in fact, become worse people. I guess that’s where the old saying “be careful what you wish for” is really proven true.

What was Kate doing there at the end? Was she just following everyone else? Or was she, along with most of the crowd, hypnotized? Her name and Claire’s were not among those in the cave.... I wonder what this means. Is it because only men can be candidates? Does it have something to do with the fact that women can’t conceive and survive giving birth while on the island?

I’m going to miss the show when it’s gone, but I can’t wait to get all the answers about what's going on!


-Mandy


Lost Se6 Ep 3 - The Substitute

Lost Se6 Ep 2 - What Kate Does

Lost Se6 Ep 1 - LA X (The Final Season Begins!)

 

 

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost Se6 Ep 3 - The Substitute

This week it's all about Locke: Alterna-Locke, FLocke, crab-food Locke...

Click to follow, but here there be spoilers galore!

***

This week’s episode was way better than last week’s, so maybe we’re back on track. And we had a big question answered this week: the numbers.

Anyone notice how Kate’s name was not on the list of candidates? I do wonder why. Maybe because in present island time and future and past flashes she’s never done a thing that didn’t help her in some way. At the moment I can’t recall a single unselfish act. But she is the female lead and there is something we like about her all the same.

Locke’s character is the only one whose life off the island is better than on it. He has the beloved girlfriend back, starts a new job and has the contact information of the best spinal surgeon in the area.

Anyone else wondering what happened with Ben when Locke met him teaching? Why was he there, and seemingly Locke’s friend? Despite all this, Locke still isn’t happy, though maybe after the talk with Helen, he will be. I wonder, if he had a choice, which path he would choose.

I have to wonder what Sawyer committed himself to when he told FLocke he wanted to go home. Or why he decided to follow Flock, 'cause if I had seen Richard Alpert as scared as he was running from him, I would have followed Alpert. Curiosity killed the cat, and that may be what this season of LOST has in mind for Sawyer. I really hope not, but I think someone in the love triangle has to die, and I think it'll be Sawyer.

Speaking of the love trio, I was a "Skater" fan until this season. Now I think Sawyer has become a better man and changed in such a way that he’s no longer right for Kate. I am drifting over to the "Jater" side.

Any ideas who the kid is? And why FLocke seemed to forget him the moment he met back up with Sawyer? Are there 2 FLockes? Why are we still getting questions in the last season, shouldn’t we be getting answers?

I still liked this episode, but come on - answer without causing more questions!

-Mandy


Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lost Se6 Ep 2 - What Kate Does

Kate is the main focus here, as we split between alterna-LA and the Island, with Claire and Sawyer important secondaries. And what's up with the resurrection?

Click to follow, but here there be spoilers galore!

***



I was so into the end of the episode and Claire going all Rousseau on us, that I kinda didn’t pay attention to the fact that when Jin sees Claire that was the last scene of the show. I blinked and missed the Bad Robot. It was only when the next show started that I realized Lost was over.

I have to say that for the last season, I feel like the episodes should be jam packed with answering our questions, but this one didn’t do a whole lot. I don’t feel like we really got anywhere until Claire shows up at the end. Frankly I was a bit disappointed with this episode.

Right now, Sayid does not appear to be Jacob, though I am not completely convinced. The people of the Temple (the other Others) seem to think he will have what I call a “case of the crazies,” like Rousseau’s people. Or the Temple people call infected.

If you have a child on the island, does the “crazies” not affect you the same way? Both Rousseau and Claire just went native, if you will. And paranoid. But after what Claire went through, I don’t blame her for being paranoid. And she seemed to only vaguely recognize Jin. I can’t wait to hear her story. Do you think next week will touch on Claire at all?

Kate in her plane-not-crashing scenario does perhaps the first non-selfish thing in her life. I find these flashes interesting, and I like the parallel lives of the characters.

I wonder if it all meets at the end with a big bang. Or will the characters get to choose which lives they would rather live? Are Jack and Sawyer the next Jacob and FLocke (fake Locke, for lack of anything else to call him)? I’m getting ahead of myself with these questions, but this episode didn’t move a whole lot until the end, when we see Claire.



-Mandy

Episode 1: LA X (Parts 1 & 2)

Read on, faithful few!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Political Hoedown still exists!

Now that I have a little more free time and/or the inclination to get into the political debate again, I've started posting at the Political Hoedown again.

A few recent musings, covering the Mass. Senate upset, Obama's politicking, his State of the Union, deficit spending and wordplay:

NPR or Administration: Who's flashing their bias?

Monopoly Money

SOTU for you!

Presidentin'

Interpreting Mass.


-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lost Se6 Ep 1 - LA X (The Final Season Begins!)

Providing LOST commentary, we have my (Erik's) own wife, Mandy.


Click to follow, but here there be spoilers galore!

***

The beginning of the end. The biggest night in television so far this year. The reason Obama moved his State of the Union speech (he’s gotta be a LOST fan).

So Sayed…alive, dead, alive dead, who knows? My guess is Sayed is dead; the person who woke up there at the end is Jacob, possessing Sayed’s body. The Others who drowned him, were just as surprised to see him alive as his friends were. Obviously other people they have drowned (i.e. Ben) wake up in the given time frame, or they are truly dead.

Moving on, why does Jacob only seem to appear to Hurly while on the island? Is it because Hurly’s the purest of the survivors? The one most likely to believe, or the most gullible? He was able to see the cabin Jacob was in when no one else could. Jacob appears to him the most. Why? I love Hurly, but why him? Hurly said “I’m the luckiest guy alive” in the what-if-the-plane-didn’t-crash scenario. I can’t help but think this means something relating to Hurly being so special.

What does Locke/man in black mean when he says “I just want to go home?” Erik immediately assumed it meant he was the devil. I am not so sure, though many could argue for that. You have the Bible names throughout the series…John, Jacob, James, Daniel…the list goes on.

And when we are introduced to this man he is in all black, Jacob is in white. Of course we assume he’s the bad guy! But the devil on a time traveling island that seems like a twisted Garden of Eden? I don’t know; that’s too easy of a solution.

Let’s discuss the what-happens-when-the-plane-doesn’t-crash part. Most of them take a turn for the worse, so it’s looking. Do you think they’ll know this by then end of the series as what would have happened? Is this happening parallel to them being on the island? Are they living two futures at once? Are those that died (Boone, Charlie) alive in the alternate future?

And what the heck was Desmond doing on the plane?! Somewhere along the way, someone (Daniel maybe?) said he was a key. Seeing Desmond there threw me for a loop.

And lastly, Juliet. Could we have expected any other ending for someone with the name Juliet?

-Mandy

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Olivia Hart Held, b 9/12/2009 6lb 11oz, 19.5"




(Yeah, the pics are late, but there will be more and you will ooo and ahhh because she is adorable and perfect.)

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, September 21, 2009

RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space - Encore Showing



Just wanted to mention that because of the overwhelming success of the RiffTrax Live event that took place on August 20th, Mike Nelson and Co. have decided to do an encore presentation on October 8th (click for participating theaters and tickets).

What is RiffTrax, you may ask?  Allow me to shamelessly cut-and-paste from their website:

Q:  What is RiffTrax?
A:  RiffTrax are comedic MP3 tracks that you play in-sync with your favorite movies. Written and performed by the stars of the award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax brings the unique humor of "Satellite of Love" partners Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to Hollywood's hit movies.

I was fortunate enough to have my local theater participating in the live event, which had Mike, Kevin and Bill riffing on the short film Flying Stewardesses before taking on one of the ultimate bad movies, Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.

It was a lot of fun, and the encore show is actually a few dollars cheaper than the initial showing!  I highly recommend it to anyone with fond memories of MST3K or anyone who just wants to spend a couple of hours laughing their butts off.

-Adam

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Because someone's got to post something, and I guess it's me.

Well, it appears that with Erik entering Day 5 of fatherhood I'll have to hold the fort around here. It also means my first post since, what? May?

Seems that as of the epic Horatio Caine spoof we've dropped the Hooper and Buck pseudonyms. (Don't ask me why we even had them in the first place. It seemed like a fun idea at the time.)

I hope to have another "What I've been reading" post up by the weekend, which may evolve into a "Summer '09 in books, movies, and television" sort of thing. But until then, enjoy some amusing links.

If you click on over to Andy Awesome's page, you'll find a series of pieces in which he takes a pop culture theme or icon and captures its essence in four simple circles of art. Here's one to show you what I mean:


Texts From Last Night is in the vein of FMyLife. People anonomously forward embarassing or amusing texts they've received for the whole world to see. Here's a recent one:

(818): I hate to tell you this, but your sister reeks of whore.

So, you know, it's fun for the entire family.

And lastly, after reviewing nearly every X-Men and X-Men-related comic that came out in the 1990s, Not Blog X has begun re-reading and reviewing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series published by Archie Comics from 1988-1995. I read most of these back when they came out, so it's been a really fun nostalgia trip for me.

Enjoy the links, and hopefully Erik will be back soon with an update from the trenches.

-Adam

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ye like me kerrrr-chief?


[Click to mucho grande!]


I forgot the REAL strip at home, says I. Me bag do me as empty as your head.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, August 28, 2009

She lied! They're made for mayhem!!!


[Click pic to huge-ify.]





-Erik

The following are purely to boost site traffic. Enjoy!

Avatar, by James Cameron
Michael Jackson! He's not living....

Megan Fox makes James Cochran reach for the blue pillow!


Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I shudder to imagine the impact of a pro/con list.


[Click to upwardly-size.]



What's on your checklist today?

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Because they're funny, that's why!


[Click to gargantuanize.]



You smirked. Admit it. Sophmoric as these jokes are, you always laugh.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CSI: Disputed Rights

[Click to embiggen.]




Yes, this was done in about five minutes with a G1, MS Paint, PicSay and Google.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"One Night on Endor"


[Click to enlarge.]



-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"He has a ______ personality."


[Click to enlarge.]





-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TPH: Getting Fixed

Cross-posted at The Exchange & The Political Hoedown


Much is being made of Health Care/Insurance reform of late. Look on any major news site, op-ed page or political blog and you’ll run into several pieces posted just this week covering the breaking news! over Blue Dog Dems dealing or Obama pushing or Republicans pushing back, not to mention the pontificating on both sides of the aisle over what “reform” really means for health care in America, co-op vs. public option…and the shouting at Town Halls! It’s more than part of the news cycle – it’s a key argument about our future.

It’s the first major legislative battle Obama has had to fight, and for the Democratic Party, it’s a chance to reverse a fifteen-year-old loss. More than these, it is a new theatre of war in the battle for our civil liberties.

The Bush Administration is still fresh in our minds. How many readers have lamented that since 9/11 (or afterwards, when the Patriot Act was passed), our civil liberties have been trampled on/infringed upon/lost? It’s a common topic that talks of the individual freedoms we hold valuable in our country.

(Less directly, those voicing dissent were also realizing a harsh reality: that these “truths we hold to be self-evident” and divinely-granted exist only due to the government’s benevolent, diverse structure and state.)

The thinking is this: we have a measure of control (freedoms) over our personal lives (and by extension, choices) that cannot be impugned by any governmental body. The most common freedom referenced is that of Speech, tying into the freedom to disagree with the government and its members.

So were our freedoms infringed upon over the last seven and change years? And how does this factor into health care?!

Short answer: 1) no, and 2) health care reform as exists in draft form (ObamaCare) is a direct interference in our lives, a diluting of our personal liberties.

Not-as-short answer, we’ll talk first about Bush (yay, that hasn’t been done a lot!).

Aside from the flag-draped coffins arriving in cargo planes, the biggest uniquely “American” tragedy of the recent Bush years is the “loss” of civil liberties/personal freedoms. But let’s take a look further. Yes, the TSA interrupted our travel, causing frustration. We were also limited in the quantity of cosmetics we could bring on planes (still no guns). Regarding dissent – freedom of speech in general – if anything, Bush’s time in office saw a flowering of free speech. Having worked in a book store, I witnessed firsthand the number of anti-Administration books that were published – harsh tomes that didn’t hold their punches and outright derided, accused and insulted most of the top officials. Few were spared. One novel, by Nicholson Baker, had its main character fantasizing about killing Bush (though he was talked out of it).

In the theatres, we saw the scathing documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which took aim at the Administration’s run-up to and early execution of the War in Iraq (as well as the handling of 9/11 itself). “Critical” is an understatement. And how many times did we tune in to a left-leaning pundit, talk show host or guest lambasting Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld as evil, fascist, corrupt, or at the least questionable in their morality?

Is this provocative newsmaking? Strict journalism? No, much of what was published, printed, screened or screamed by the cable punditry was personal opinion, heavily biased and often filled with fervent desire to see those in power toppled like an Iraqi statue, i.e., brought low by impeachment. While this never happened, “administration change” was a stated policy goal of many armchair politicians.

So freedom of speech. Freedom to (angrily) travel. Abortion and gay-related issues existed at the end of term where they were at the beginning, from a national perspective. Your taxes went down (yes, for all of you; a new lower bracket was even created). Your incomes may also have gone down, or your home values or 401(k)’s; insurance premiums did rise. But those aren’t “freedoms,” but rather a part of living in a capitalist, largely market-driven society.

More importantly, during this time your freedom of choice wasn’t altered. Choice to drink or smoke, to have a hamburger, to drive an SUV.

To not be insured.

We require our drivers to get car insurance, mainly to pay for repairs when that other guy hits you while turning left out of a Taco Bell parking lot. It’s a safety net for those responsible in traffic accidents, so they don’t go broke when their ’89 Civic rear-ends a Bentley. There are multiple parties involved.

Health insurance is a different beast. It’s about you and your body. It’s a choice you make about protecting that body and your pocketbook in case of injury or serious illness. We don’t cover ourselves to pay for cold medicine; as John Stossel said recently, insurance isn’t welfare, but instead coverage for a potential catastrophic incident. It secures against the potential maladies that can’t be solved by a trip to CVS or Walgreens, those things that cost a lot to fix.

But we still – as of this writing, and since insurance was invented – have a choice whether or not to buy it.

Our employers might cover us. They certainly don’t need to provide insurance. Tying your health care to where you work has shackled many to careers they’d rather not have. But we expect it, don’t we? It’s taken for granted that if you work for a major corporation, “benefits” will be included – benefits being medical coverage, dental, vision, emergency room service, etc. When it’s not offered, many throw their hands up and moan. What am I going to do? they cry.

In the case you don’t have employer-provided coverage, you can buy insurance (as the company is doing for its employees) from a provider, paying semi-annually to maintain the safety net against grievous injury or sickness.

But, again, you don’t have to; there is no requirement. If we’re not careful, however, there could be.

For lack of a better term, I’ll call what’s coming out of the Democratic Caucuses “ObamaCare,” and in its purest form it approaches a single-payer (that payer being the gov’t) system that many in America don’t understand, but also recoil from when it’s mentioned. As is being drafted currently, ObamaCare would include a requirement – punishable, if violated – for all employers to buy their employees health care and for all individuals to somehow have coverage, buying it if is not provided otherwise. A mandate.

So be healthy, or pay a fine. Or another way to look at it, Dear Leader says buy our healthcare.

It’s just a matter of time, if ObamaCare is passed, before the single-payer option is introduced in some pilot phase. We have a debate now between a government insurance program (the “public” option; run & owned by the gov’t and funded with your tax dollars) and the co-op (a member-owned group that uses their purchasing power to get lower costs collectively than alone).

(I’m more for the latter, predominantly because I think small businesses should have the option – should they choose – of collective bargaining that we think only unionistas are entitled.)

Public or co-op, under ObamaCare one way has to be in the bill to ensure “lower” cost insurance options, as we would all need to have something under pain of high fines. And here’s where the freedom of choice goes away.

We should not be forced by a governmental body to buy health insurance, something that affects solely the individual (if I punch you, and you need dental work, no health care plan of mine in the capitalist world would pay your bill). It’s our choice.

Many of those that are uninsured are post-college adults who either don’t have the job that supplies insurance or choose not to be covered, as they are young and healthy. Catastrophic risk is low for them, as relates to illness (we all can fall victim to accidents & injuries).

Why are we seeing a party that champions individual choice (we can cut to the quick with one word: abortion) refusing to allow the same regarding health care coverage?

This is a step toward a nanny state, and what do nannies do but take away the choices of the child.

If we are soon mandated to have health insurance, how long before fast food joints are fined for serving real beef burgers (too fatty!) instead of veggie burgers? Or bread producers (and their supporting farmers) ordered to make only gluten-free products, as some claim our bodies aren’t supposed to handle the stuff? Or regular pop – or pop in general, as diet might possibly in an alternate world lead to cancer! It’s all unhealthy, right? We shouldn’t consume these products, as they’d raise the potential for future maladies (and jack up costs)…right, Dear Leader?

What about the “legalize” movement, predominantly supported by the same left-leaning people who voted Obama into office? It’ll be a cold day before pot is legalized; in fact, it’s more likely that cigarettes face a 100% national tax – punishing smokers, isolating them, even more – on their way to an eventual banning.

And then there’s that can of beer you drink while watching a game. Prohibition was a failure, and it was the result of a religious-backed temperance movement that saw it pass. Well, “health care reform” advocates want your body to be insured and in tip-top shape; liquor doesn’t factor into that equation. Look for higher sales taxes, more restrictions on purchases by individuals and establishments, neighborhood bar & grill closures.

Because you have to be as healthy as the government says. There is no more room for personal choice when it comes to our bodies, right? That’s what I’m hearing with ObamaCare. Health care reform is no longer an issue of children being without insurance or the homeless being denied care. We’re not talking about lowering costs so the woman working two jobs can afford coverage to combat her returned cancer.

No, we’re skipping the true “need” aspect of health care (that being low, market-driven costs with state restrictions eliminated, co-op pools for small businesses, et al) for the ideological stance of a small group of policy makers too enamored with the concept of “universal coverage” to realize the dread cost to the end-consumer or the country as a whole.

The potential for failure to reform health care – to make it affordable for all – is high. No one likes to hear the tragic stories where if they had coverage Bobby would be alive, or little Susie’s heart valve defect would’ve been detected in utero, avoiding frantic emergency surgery, or Ted wouldn’t have gone bankrupt paying for his wife’s caner medication and treatment. Those stories will compound if nothing is done.

But the right action isn’t necessarily the one presented, and I’m not saying it’s 100% the Grumbling Opposition Party’s way either. What I do fervently believe is that we need to be mindful of the individual’s right to choose – and the related personal freedoms that could be endangered should we lose that right.

Our civil liberties come in many forms. A woman’s right to choose is not the only heath care choice we have the “right” to make. If we want to create a society that lets the person and not the government make the choice in the vast majority of cases, we cannot allow ourselves to turn a deaf ear when protest is raised on a topic we feel strongly about.

Take a few steps back. Slow down the process. Reform the health care system, but don’t devolve our rights in the process.

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tears of Oil


And you said no story with killer robots and mad scientists could be boring...



Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TPH Returns - "Fiscally Conservative, Socially Realistic"

The Political Hoedown returns, now with no foolhardy attempt at regularity.

*Is there room in the US for a moderate party? Can self-styled "progressive" or reform Republicans (think Teddy Roosevelt or *gasp* Barry Goldwater?!) and, in their own way, "Blue Dog" Democrats (who're fighting DNC leaders about the Health Care reform bill as currently drafted) find a common slogan to rally behind?

*Palin-tology: the future of our maverick-y sled dog.

*Today's polls mean little for next year's mid-term. No big expansion on that point; just don't trust them. …okay, I'll expand a little.


Read on @ The Political Hoedown!


-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A glimpse of the future

I thought this was too fun not to share, especially since I'm a child of Transformers and Hooper is a child of G.I. Joe.





I find David Lynch's Koosh Ball unnerving.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update the blog often? Not on my watch!

On Friday night, I went to see Terminator: Salvation. I really meant to post some manner of review before now, but things like weeding the vegetable garden and re-seeding the lawn got in the way. (Ah, the perils of being a new homeowner.)





I will say that I don't quite understand all the negative press the film has gotten, because I found it to be very enjoyable. My only major critique would be that it doesn't really do all that much to further the mythology; at the end of the film we're basically at the same place we started. But the performances were good and the effects were teriffic (Especially the sound work; can't wait to try this one out on the new surround sound.). I'll try to expand my thoughts by the end of the week.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not a fan of the gays, America?


What happened last night, compatriots? I'm not talking about the Sox winning or the exciting last minute of the Cavs game. Kris Allen winning American Idol: bwah?!

I'm not saying he isn't talented or a good singer. As a musician, he's probably better than Adam Lambert, the to-this-point odds on favorite. But he was so...whitebread college town bar singer. Adam knows he's a star.

Is it the boy-kissing, America? Certainly Adam would've been the most "fabulous" idol, and he makes no bones about that (!). His appearance is over-the-top fancy emo, and that voice! Bordering at times on the absurd, it always invigorates his song choices and shows why all season he'd been considered in a class on his own. It soars and swoons, that voice.

But it also sounded, some weeks, like he should've been in drag, aping Liza. Can I chalk that up as the reason for his loss?

I'm not convinced Tuesday's performance did it for Kris and did in Adam. Like Carrie Underwood, Adam had been nigh untouchable in the elimination rounds. He was a shoe-in, even over Danny Gokey, he of the sob story and the early fav. Then Kris sang Heartless, astoundingly well, and it seemed - to me - that people could now justify their votes for him. Favs dropped in his path, and he clinched it with his more marketable voice.

So that means people were waiting for greatness to justify why this guy the Red Eye said would go out before the top 10 had stuck around while better, or more favored, singers left. With Gokey gone, his fans - more similar to Kris' than Adam's - latched on to the only "traditional" thing left.

Alas, alack.

Though I may be called paranoid, I'm not convinced this underdog story occurred naturally. I've said it before, let's repeat the chorus: it's fixed. If election after election Chicago's Democratic Machine can massage the votes enough to get their people in, then of course we can legitimately call shenanigans on American Idol. The producers got a great story arc out of this - the dark-horse-who's-apple-pie-America - and the means to drum up post-show dollar votes for Adam (feel he was cheated? Buy his album and show ol Slidejaw Allen who really deserved the dandy crown).

It is a show, and therefore not important in the grand scheme, but I would've really liked an Adam victory. He rocked it with KISS and Queen (well...Brian May and Roger Taylor). That showmanship, that voice and atypical sense of personal acceptance made him the clear winner. A shame it wasn't made official.

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!