Saturday, May 28, 2005

Finally


An area of topical discussion where I am the king.

As Lucas has said time and again (even this time), the movies are taking from timeless stories, and the story of the dictator seizing power and destroying freedom has many precusors. You can look at it as Tower of Babel or Icarus and Daedelous -- Man's greatest foe is himself.

For the record, Vader had nothing to do with targeting or destroying Alderaan. The most he does is immobilize Leia during that sequence, where Tarkin (who Leia accuses of holding Vader's leash) does all the dastardliness.

Back to the leash: there are a couple of other examples that show that Tarkin in general controlled Vader in "A New Hope". What was the nature of their relationship? One can only assume that Tarkin was teaching Vader to be an able administrator.

I am not making this up.

By the end of the series, Vader's skills as a project manager are complete. He is brought onto a project that is over schedule and budget. One can only assume he spent several nights going over their books and cleaning up their accounting system. I don't know why Lucas took out those parts but left in the extended Ewok mourning scene. Go fig.

The Emperor started all kinds of projects, but never seemed to stay on top of them. If the Death Star's constuction had been better managed, clearly no vulnerability would have been discovered by a rag-tag band of rebels. Also, the Emperor's ability to see the future was thrown into doubt by that chain of events.

Vader's rise, taking control over the Emperor's wasteful project management clearly resulted in savings and increased productivity. Before dying, he passed his Gantt charts and spreadsheets to his son.

And that, my friend, is what Star Wars is really about. That, and stupid Republicans. More on that later.
Bwa-ha-ha-ha! It's not overtly political about any one group unless you want to see it that way. You can take "Only Sith believe in absolutes" as applying to the fringe-Left disdain for guns or love of free speech or politicall correctness. Or you could look at it as a kick-ass conclusion to what had been a flagging epic.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Alderaan Revisted


Seriously, I say this as a huge fan the original Episodes, but the recent politicization of the films has made me start to question my adoration of the character. He greased Alderaan to make a point - there was simply no reason for him to do it - he knew the princess was lying and he could have made his point any number of ways, but he instead decides to wipe out a few million people.

So maybe he isn't the tragic figure that we want him to be. Yes, there's redemption in the end, but at the cost of (thousands? tens of thousands?) of more lives - many of whom are on his side. A hell of a time for him to get redemption. What if the note from Hitler turns up in some Russian archive - "Gee, sorry about the last six years, Eva and I are doing the honorable thing and calling it quits."

I'm thinking that the ghosts of twenty million wouldn't be satisfied with that. But at the end of Jedi we're led to believe that Anakin's final act - destroying the Emporer redeems him in the eyes of the Jedi. Deathbed absolution aside, I doubt this will make the scattered survivors of Alderaan feel any better.

As for the politicization of the ROTS - which I still haven't seen - I understand that there's this whole "only a Sith believes in absolutes" line that has the blogosphere jumping. I have to ask, is Howard Dean a Sith Lord?

Why didn't anyone in 1977 make the tie in between The Force and Jim Jones? Why weren't there parallels made between the rescue of the princess and the Mayaguez Incident? Don't the actions of Tarkin remind you an awful lot of Zbigniew Brzezinski? (Don't bother googling them, the parallels are absurd and made up at random in the writers mind)

They didn't because it was a freaking film. And folks recognized then, as we do now, that Lucas couldn't write dialogue to save his life. Which is interesting considering that he can tell one hell of a story.

Unfortunately, everything since about 1994 has had to have it's parallel in modern politics. And yes, my side has a great deal to answer for where that is concerned.

Question for Discussion - could the entirely non-partisan movie Dave be made today? You have twenty minutes, please close your blue books and put your pencils down when you are finished. A proctor will come for your blue book.
A Judge ruled in favor of a corporation in a lawsuit? Heavens! Next thing you know, our pure of heart legislators will be marred by their oily grasp!

RotS's Message


Good guy, Anakin Skywalker, is turned to evil by being told that he must protect those he loves through any means necessary. He is told that the Jedi are traitors and he then slaughters man, woman, and child to wipe out the enemy.

If you're not with him, you're an enemy.

Only Sith deal in absolutes.

I would have loved to have heard Sen. Frist extoll and praise Owens for the way she ruled in favor of Ford instead of a child the company's car crippled, or at least speak highly of the way she dragged her feet on writing her decision until she could come up with some half-assed idea why large companies are less culpable than individuals.

But then I would have remembered than on Stephanopolus' show, Frist said that you can catch AIDs through contact with an infected person's sweat. I wouldn't shake hands with any of your clients if I was you, Brian.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Shoulda Stuck It Out


I'm pissed that my gang has squandered the opportunity to stick it to the other side. I'm deeply disappointed that we couldn't see an actual honest to goodness filibuster. I'm also hip deep in trial prep on three cases that are 'go' in June.

So I'll turn this over to the Protein Wisdom blog:
Democratic Senators should have been forced to shut down the Senate in order to block the President’s nominees. Robert Byrd should have been forced to stand before the cameras and block the vote of an African-American woman, the daughter of sharecroppers, a single mother who worked her way through school. Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton should have been forced to block the vote of a well-respected female jurist from Texas who garnered 84% support in her state and received a highly qualified rating from the ABA. Chuck Shumer should have been forced to point out that William Pryor, the man who went against principle to obey a federal ruling against Alabama judge Roy Moore, is an “extremist” or a “radical” who is unable to separate his desire to follow his own beliefs from his duty to uphold the law.

Mega Freaking Dittoes, Jeff.

Back to the intricacies of the DOC's Use of Force Policies.
I was hoping that the message to ROTS was that evil must be confronted and destroyed or else it will result in the extermination of all the people living on Alderaan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Begin the Familial Smackdown!


Just got an email from my sister regarding my post on the Nukular Option. Subject line? "You Idiot..." (she was sweet about it though).

Nowhere is it mentioned that I was making fun of a leader of the free world who has his undergrad from Yale, his MBA from Harvard, and yet is the only person in his family who cannot correctly pronounce the word "nuclear".

Nor does she mention anything about a woman whose brother stepped through the blogging process with her, like, 3 different times and yet still cannot get in...

The Nukyular Option



Yeah, Dems (and other freedom-loving people) hate these nominees, but more than that, we were worried about the complete consolidation of power into one massive interest (which wasn't shared by the majority of the people, by the way).

All in all, I'm happy with the outcome. Bush has his lowest ratings. Dems have retained the right to protect me from the usherance of another Dark Age. Frist and McCain have lost the support of their religious bases. Good day for me.

If someone asked me to do 200 favors for them, and I agreed to all of these favors but 10, how could I be called an asshole? 200 of the President's nominees are sitting on benches. 10 are egregious. 5%. Now, the Senate has said it will go with all but 2. 1%. How is this bad? I think it's bad because these nominees were clearly hacks for industry and activist judges, twisting the law to suit whatever views they needed (cf. Priscilla Owen and Enron or Ford). I think that if we'd seend this many of Clinton's judges appointed, life would have been better, but what do I know?

Give 'em hell, Harry (Reid)!

Casablanca wasn't about colonialism? Also, please to check my posting from Forbes...

My First Posting from Forbes?


The region, according to the researchers, handles the task of detecting hidden meaning, a crucial component of sarcasm. If that part of the brain is out of commission, the irony doesn't come through, the scientists report in the May issue of Neuropsychology. [Source]


Of course they did. I'm so glad that this money was well spent.
Begin the race to accuse each other of having some kind of damage to the sarcasm center!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Chickenshits


Senators Avert Showdown Over Filibusters

WASHINGTON - Averting a showdown, centrists from both parties reached agreement Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation votes on many of
President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable Senate filibuster rules
.

The venerable Senate Filibuster Rules that only seem to be important when the GOP is running the world.
"In a Senate that is increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

I'm sorry is there an upside to this?
"The Senate is back in business," echoed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of 14 senators who signed the two-page memorandum of agreement, which cited "mutual trust and confidence."

Being back in business would be precisely what we were worried about in the first place. At least when Byrd is waxing poetic for hours on end about his years in the Klan, we were assured that nothing else noxious would be passed.
Under the terms, Democrats would agree to oppose any attempt to filibuster — and thus block final votes — on the confirmation of Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor. There is "no commitment to vote for or against" the filibuster against two other conservative nominees, Henry Saad and William Myers.

Oh, goodie. So the fix is in, and they don't even bother to make it privately anymore.
As for future nominees, the agreement said they should "only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances," with each Democrat senator holding the discretion to decide when those conditions had been met.

Many of my sex offender clients also try to define their own realities, too. It never works for them, either.
"In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement," Republicans said they would oppose any attempt to make changes in the application of filibuster rules.

I can only imagine that the spectre of President Hillary had a great deal to do with this. "Who wouldn't think Ward Churchill would make a fine Supreme Court Justice? Racist Neo-cons bought and paid for by big tobacco and the World Zionist Conspiracy, that's who."
Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada welcomed the agreement — although he hastened to say he remains opposed to some of the nominees who will now likely take seats on the appeals court.

So you've represented your constituents how by agreeing to do this? Or are you just shoring up your 'party hack base'?
"We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical right of the Republican party an undeniable message....the abuse of power will not be tolerated."

Until the Dems in charge, if our Sun hasn't gone nova from old age by then.
"A movie about the danger in allowing one power to consolidate power over a government"?? That's the message?? What's the message to Casablanca, then? Try to ensure a stable representative government in your colonial holdings?