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Obamacare Constitutional: Thoughts and Reactions

In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court today announced that in a 5-4 decision (with Justice Kennedy dissenting and Chief Justice Roberts writing the decision) that Obamacare, for the most part, is constitutional, including the individual mandate.

John Roberts declared,

“Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and the Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax.  This is sufficient to sustain it.”

“Simply put, Congress may tax and spend,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “This grant gives the federal government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate.”

“The federal government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid or otherwise control,” Roberts wrote.

In other words, the constitutionality of the mandate is derived from it being a tax, not from any rights under the commerce clause.  As a constitutional scholar friend of mine stated,
I’m going to use this analogy on TV, to explain the Court’s ruling, unless one of you convinces me not to (and the fact that 90% of the population can’t process analogies isn’t a good enough reason). The government can’t force you to have kids, or punish you for not having kids, but they can make taxes higher for people without kids than they are for people with kids.
In a stinging and surprising dissent, Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that the other justices wanted to wipe out the entire law. “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he wrote.
The justices did rule against another key part of the law, saying the law’s Medicaid expansion — which starts in 2014 — tranforms the program into something it wasn’t designed to be.

“The court today limits the financial pressure the secretary may apply to induce states to accept the terms of the Medicaid expansion,” the ruling states. “As a practical matter, that means states may now choose to reject the expansion; that is the whole point. But that does not mean all or even any will.”

So my thoughts on the legal aspects?:

1.  Although this is clearly a defeat for conservatives, who hoped to put the issue to the grave, the reality is that this court was never going to seriously overturn the entire bill.  I never believed that for a second.  So legislative action was required to turn back Obamacare before, and is still required.

2.  The commerce clause, the Obama Administration’s argument, was null and void.  There never was a good argument for the commerce clause to apply in an industry that is not interstate.  In fact, Obamacare specifically prohibits buying this product across state lines, and the commerce clause simply does not apply in those cases.  The Supreme Court almost completely rejected the argument. The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

3.  The power to tax is the power to destroy.  Chief Justice Roberts has reaffirmed this government right.  Simply put, they are treating Obamacare much like they treat Medicare and Social Security.

4.  The Medicare ruling is being dismissed, but this may be significant.  States now have the legal right to reject to enact this portion of the bill.  It may be the equivalent of a waiver.  What does this mean practically?  I don’t know if anyone knows.

So, my thoughts politically?

1. Short term, this is a big victory for the Obama Administration.  Their key legislative victory survives for another day.

2. Long term?  Long term this helps Mitt Romney.  I have been consistent on this.  I think overturning the mandate would have helped Romney marginally, by removing the issue all together.  However, now conservatives and especially Tea Party groups must unite behind Romney if they ever believe they can remove Obamacare. Once in place in 2014, it is highly unlikely that it will be repealed.  I would expect that Romney’s campaign coffers will grow substantially as well.

Furthermore, will this convince moderates, independents, and libertarians that it is essential for Romney to be the next President?  I think for some, the answer is ‘Yes’.

3.  Mitt Romney also has a new line of attack.  By defining the mandate as a tax, Obama no longer can claim not to have increased taxes on every living American.  The taxes in the ACA will raise $500 billion over the next decade, making it by far the largest tax increase in American history.  Furthermore, it is inherently a regressive tax, as it is basically imposed equally among the rich and the poor, though the poorest will receive subsidies.

This completely invalidates the left’s argument that Obama has been a low tax president.  If you include Obamacare taxes, our tax rates are the highest in decades.  Mitt Romney should pound this issue into the ground.

4.  The left’s credibility in lieu of the Supreme Court is a joke.  As late as two hours ago, many liberals were losing their minds, calling the Court ‘dishonorable’ and a ‘Banana Republic’.  Justice Roberts yesterday was a pariah…today a hero…at least to the media.

Another point.  CNN initially got the story wrong.  But, the most interesting development concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling when it was released was not the initial inaccurate media reports that the mandate was invalidated, but instead the reaction from the mandate’s supporters on Facebook: in about three minutes, the Court went from a bunch of pathetic political hacks to jurists of great intelligence and wisdom.

On the other hand, you do not see such insults hurled at the court from the Right.  This morning after the ruling, do you hear conservatives calling the court ‘jackals’ or ‘without honor’?  No.  The majority of conservatives disagree with the ruling, but move forward.  Liberals are the one without honor in this issue.


My final thoughts?  Ultimately, politically this may matter a lot, as it will likely improve Romney’s arguments of Obama being a tax and spend liberal who will continue to grow government regardless of its long term effects on our financial outlook.  It will also however harden Tea Party support around Romney, and likely unite the conservative base once and for all.

Legally and practically, I have to say I prefer winning this battle in Congress rather than in the Supreme Court.  The public is on our side in this issue, by a 2:1 margin.  If we can’t win that argument for more individual rights and freedoms, we don’t deserve to be a political movement.  Furthermore, I have long argued the worst thing about the abortion issue was that is was not done by legislative action, but by Court fiat.  The same goes here.  The public will accept legislative change much easier than it will accept five unelected jurors determining how their lives are led.

So basically, nothing has changed.  The fight goes on.  And the ultimate battle in that fight is to elect Mitt Romney President of the United States.

P.S. – please ignore any typographical errors…I wrote this in haste. 


Brave: Movie Review

Brave is the long anticipated next Pixar contribution to film lore…and it lives up to its hype.  It is maybe the most aesthetically amazing of the Pixar movies, and looks all the more glorious in 3D.

Pixar has built a gorgeous world to bring numerous amazing characters to the screen.  Led by the lead, Princess Merida, the film gives us characters we are unlikely to forget.

Merida is a tomboy in the truest sense, which does not fit with her mother, Queen Elinor, and her concept of the perfect daughter and princess.  This of course gets in the way of setting up the ideal husband for the princess.  However, growing up in a Scottish world, especially with the raucous father in the likes of King Fergus, it was unlikely Elinor would have ever gotten her wish.

Merida is not unlike most girls these days, pushing the boundaries of what society often defines them as, at the same time hoping to fall in love with the ideal mate.  Merida simply wants freedom to make choices, but she lives in a world that limits them at every turn.  This may sound like a ‘feminist’ line, but it is more of a growing of age tale than a political commentary.

Furthermore, I loved the relationship Merida has with both of her parents, each unique in its own way.  And there are lessons to be learned, like in every good Disney/Pixar film.  I would say the real lesson in this movie is that every person has to take responsibility for their actions.

The plot is full of twist and turns, to say the least, and I doubt that many people can predict every curve the writers will throw at you.  Some people have criticized this, but frankly, what would you want?  The same “princess runs around and finds Prince Charming” tale?

What I also love about this movie?  It doesn’t hold back in animated violence. Merida is a warrior at  heart (people compare her character to Katniss of Hunger Games fame), but all the key warriors in this movie are ultimately children.  There are scenes where I think young children may get frightened, so pay attention to that.

Ultimately however, Pixar does what Pixar does best:  provide a beautiful background to tell a classic coming of age story in a completely unique way, while telling a story that entrances both children and adults.  Pixar has done it again:  they have created an instant classic.  A must see for the summer of 2012.


Obama Opponents: We Are All Racists Now…

I remember, when Barack Obama became a truly serious candidate for the Democratic nomination late in 2007, how awe inspiring it was.  I knew very little about Obama, other than his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention.  But his oratory was uplifting and moving, and I honestly felt spurred by his statements.  He spoke of a more civil, a more united future together as Americans.  He spoke of post-partisanship.  A post-racial society.

How things have changed.

Today, Barack Obama leads a movement and party that has so debased itself, it hard to recognize it.  Sure, Democrats were always loud and obnoxious when it came to conservatives.  I had long come to accept that.  Being called ‘mean spirited’, ‘hateful’, or being accused of wanting to kill women and starve children was routine.

But then, in 2008, a new regular charge erupted from the mouths of liberals:  the charge of racism.

Sure, conservatives were called racists before.  And sometimes, the charge was deserved.  But Barack Obama’s ascendancy made the claim routine and common place, targeting almost anyone that opposed Obama.  And it became the fall back position for any liberal that could not make a substantial argument otherwise.

In reality, the epithet was used against Democrats first; just ask Bill Clinton, who was famously called ‘the first African American President’ by Maya Angelou, but then in 2008 was called out for being bigoted against Obama.

The first time someone called me a racist, I was truly offended, and emotionally upset.  As a minority who was born and raised in this country, I have never really harbored prejudice to anyone.  I remember being thirteen years old, and not understanding what an ‘African American’ was. I had Black friends…but the term ‘African American’ to me literally meant someone from Africa…in the same way I was an Indian American.  I simply grew up in a household where the concept of bigotry did not exist.  And I grew up in a society where although I understood peripherally that racism existed, I did not suffer from its effects.  I was raised in a multicultural suburb of Detroit, went to college at the University of Michigan, went to medical school, completed my residency, and started practicing medicine…and never once, although I was always a conservative, had anyone with any knowledge of me even hint that I had a prejudicial bone in my body.

And then in 2008, everything changed.  The term ‘racist’ became as commonplace as virtually any other descriptor in political dialogue.

Now, four years later, you hear the claim of racism daily, if you are involved in as many political debates as I am.  Some claims of bigotry are outright, while others are hinted at.  In either case, you know what the person hurling the claim is saying:  you are a bigot, you are racially biased, you are evil. 

Just think about the last week.  On Friday, a reporter yelled out a question to President Obama during a statement.  What is inappropriate?  I would say it was definitely inappropriate.  Was it racist?  That simply is nonsense.  Reporters have been doing inappropriate and stupid things for as long as I have been alive, some worse than the reporter in question here.

And that is almost the least prominent of the racism charges.  Prominent Democrats and liberals lay the charge of racism almost daily.  Whether it be from the likes of the Congressional Black Caucus or DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the charge is like throwing a figurative bomb into a crowded room. And who can even keep up with the myriad of other celebrities who make claims of racism on the right, as if it is a badge of courage on their part?  And let us not forget the likes of President Obama himself, and Attorney General Eric Holder, who fall back to the race card when an extremely difficult moment of criticism comes there way.

Similar charges of racism come routinely from hosts on MSNBC, from Bill Maher, from prominent Democrats.  It is a daily occurrence.  A few hours after President Obama declared executive privilege on information Congress has been trying to obtain for 8 months, Chris Matthews played the race card, for a simple reason:  he has no intellectual defense, so the only weapon they have is the hammer of racism.

And you never hear Barack Obama decrying those statements; his cries for civility are limited to his opponents only.  I guess we should never have expected anything more, when you consider his past history, now in the full light of day.  Obama’s post-racial, post-partisan society was simply rhetoric molded to the needs of his political career, not a long standing belief.

For me, the epithet has largely become meaningless now.  My friends and I, of all races and backgrounds, laugh when someone calls us racist.  And that, sadly, is the worst part of this routine use of this charge.  There is true racism in society, areas where people are truly damaged by racial prejudice and bigotry, and instead, political hacks use the claim to make incremental charges against the opposition political party that had no racial intentions whatsoever.

So in doing so, liberals, or anyone for that matter, that make casual charges of racism have damaged our society. The charge used to mean something shameful, something embarrassing. For someone like me, who now feels nothing from being called a racist…that is damage that will take this society a long time to recover from…and will make the elimination of true racism all that much harder to come by.





Mitt Romney Rally, Newark, Ohio

Shaking hands with Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, on his bus tour of the midwest, today stopped in Newark, OH for an enthusiastic welcome by the central Ohio city.  In sweltering heat and humidity, a loud crowd that I personally estimated at 5,000 (media reports put the number at 3,000), Romney promised “a fair shot” for everyday Ohioans.

“I’m convinced that the American people are going to be surprised at just how great this economy is going to be,” Romney said.

Shaking hands with Rob Portman and his wife, Jane.

Romney, his wife, Ann, and two of their five sons, Craig and Matt, were accompanied to Newark by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who is on the short-list to be Romney’s running mate. Portman, in introductory remarks, continued to capitalize on Obama’s recent statement that the private sector “ is doing just fine,” a comment the president quickly walked back.

Approximately 50 or so Obama supporters were in attendance, and were as loud and obnoxious as possible, but were drowned out by the pro-Republican crowd.

I personally shook Romney’s hand…and made sure to tell him, “Its the economy, Mitt; don’t forget!”  Romney, who was about to walk away, came back to me and said, “You’ve got that right.”  That personally gives me hope that Romney is going to avoid the Obama team’s strategy of distraction.



“I Can See A Recovery From My Backyard!”

President Barack Obama, in a remarkably tone deaf press conference on Friday, stated the following:

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.

The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.

This is a shocking level of self delusion for a man that ostensibly is the leader of our large economy.  Even the White House, insular as it is, realized that within hours of the statement.  They sent the President back out, to lick his wounds.  “Listen, it is absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine,” he said. “That’s the reason I had a press conference.”  As if a press conference would solve all of our ills…

Let us get some facts clear.  First, Obama states that he has been at the helm as 4.3 million jobs were created over the last 27 months; over 800,000 just this year alone.  That is true.  Forget the fact that they are cherry picking the ’27 month’ date.  There is another problem.  According to most economists, you need to create 125,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with increases in the population.  Therefore, since Obama became President more than 3 years ago, the population has increased by 5 million people.  So we are not even keeping our proverbial heads above water.  Even this year, the job production has barely kept ahead of population changes.

Therefore, this economy is, at best (taking Obama’s numbers at face value) barely staying afloat.  There is virtually no recovery occurring.  For a recovery to occur, you must start hiring the people who lost jobs in the last recession; that is not yet occurring.  The recovery is stalled. 23 million people are currently unemployed or underemployed…and at best, Obama’s recovery rehired about 50,000 of those long term unemployed this year. That is not ‘fine'; it is not real progress.

On Obama’s second point:  the private sector is lagging in any comparative analysis of prior recoveries.  They are not hiring, because of myriad of factors (uncertainty in tax policy and regulations, uncertainty in the world market, etc).  Furthermore, although they did have a good 4th quarter of 2011, corporate profits are currently decreasing.    Corporate profits in the first quarter of 2012 ($11.4 billion) decreased in comparison with the rise in the fourth quarter of 2011 ($16.8 billion), according to the government.  Hint to the President:  decreasing profits is not fine.

And, oh…as for that comparison of public sector vs. private sector.  This is not to say public sector jobs haven’t disappeared…they certainly have.  More than 142,500 public sector jobs were cut last year, according to recruitment consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That averages to around 12,000 job losses a month.  The public sector cuts have continued this year, albeit at a slower rate.

Furthermore, those job cuts have almost exclusively come at the state and local level, where they cannot borrow money to keep people employed.  So is Obama suggesting another large stimulus, to funnel money to the states?  I am sure the public would love that.  And that actually misses the point.  Many states and localities are forced to fire people because pension obligations are through the roof.  When Governors like Scott Walker make reforms to keep people employed while reforming pensions, they are attacked by liberals the likes of Obama.

And let us say we fired no one from the public sector over the past 2 years.  What would the overall unemployment rate be?  It would be approximately 8.0%.  Not the roaring recovery Obama hints at.

Furthermore, one fact about public vs. private sector jobs.  The unemployment rate in May for government workers overall was 4.2 percent — about half of what it was nationally, according to the Labor Department.  Compare that to 8.3% unemployment generally in the public.  Or, the unemployment rate in the construction sector, which was 14.2 percent in May. Private sector job employment, although improving, is improving at such a rate that no recovery is possible.  Recoveries are built on booming private sector employment, and that is simply not occurring.

So as usual, Obama is stating facts, but then distorting its relevance to the overall picture.  Ultimately, the economy is not recovering, and blaming it on public sector job cuts is not mathematically reasonable or plausible.

During this entire episode, all I could think of was the supposed Sarah Palin gaffe about being able to ‘see Russia from our backyard’.  Well, Obama sees an economic recovery from his backyard, that no one else with any rational thinking can see anywhere on the horizon.




Prometheus: Movie Review

Prometheus has been one of the most anticipated movies of the year, ever since announced.  Ostensibly a prequel of the Alien movies, the Ridley Scott movies tells a tale largely located in the Alien universe…if not a direct predecessor of the Sci-fi classic.

However, this is a much different movie.  It is more a true science fiction flick than horror cinema.  There are numerous small references to events, characters, or plot points that are relevant to the Alien movies, but nothing all together significant. Of course, the biggest of those is the horseshoe alien craft on the planet, and its ‘space jockey’, which are involved in one of the critical and iconic scenes in the original movie.

The first hour or so is background, explaining how this crew is searching for the source of humanities origins, and how the search begins.  It gives a background to the characters, including the Weyland corporation, who plays a pivotal role in this movie and the former Alien Quadrology.

The visuals are obviously fantastic.  3D is somewhat overkill, but is well done and gives the movie a grand scale that it might otherwise be lacking.

The cast is well known and is fantastic.  Michael Fassbender specifically deserves a call out, and after several fantastic movies, he is a superstar in the making.  Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace also are fantastic in their roles.

As for a recommendation?  On its own, Prometheus is an engaging and fascinating film, that explores the depth of individuals facing a force they cannot imagine, while at the same time testing humanity as a whole.  And isn’t that often what good science fiction is about?

However, if you are looking for an Alien prequel, that fills in plot points that the original movies left open, you are going to be largely disappointed. This is a film that exists vaguely in that universe, but wholly stands on its own.  And on at least one occasion, maybe several, this film appears to contradict things in the original films.  But on its own, Prometheus is a must see for any Science Fiction geek like myself.


Memorial Day…Freedom is Not Free…2012


Memorial Day historically is for those members of the Armed Services who valiantly fought and died for their country.  Many have served and given their lives…but many others lives were taken away, regardless of their service.  I would like to remember our military, as well as all the others, who have given their lives for this country, in one manner or another.

Always remember: FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.





Obama Himself Made Bain Irrelevant

Barack Obama this week stated, quite clearly, that he though Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital is a key piece to the entire election.

“This is not a distraction,” Obama said.  “This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

“My opponent, Gov. Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience,” Obama said before the assembled world press.  “He’s not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts.  He’s saying, I’m a business guy and I know how to fix it, and this is his business.  And when you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits.  Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

This, to me, is one of the more laughable statements made by this President, which with his series of ridiculous comments over the past few years, is quite an achievement.

For better or worse, Obama is arguing that EXPERIENCE is a major issue in the 2012 election.  Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of this statement?

Barack Obama was one of the least experienced and least vetted Presidential candidates in American history.  I think most historians would tell you that he was by far the least experienced, never holding an executive office, never once being in charge of anything, nor had he ever fully completed a full term on the national political stage.  He spent approximately 180 days as the junior Senator from Illinois, never authoring or passing any significant legislation, and proclaimed he was ready for the Oval Office.

And now, experience is an issue?

Let us be clear: Obama is still a man whose past is shrouded.  Do we know much about how he got into college?  His grades, for example?  What exactly did he do for a living between law school and entering politics?  We know the outlines of the events, but not much about the specifics of those events themselves.

The Bain attack centers around the failure of a paper company that Bain bought in 1992, sold four years later (when Romney was no longer at Bain), and then went out of business four years after Bain Capital was no longer involved.  This is relevant..how?

Bain Capital claims that revenues grew in 80% of the more than 350 companies in which it has invested.  They claim thousands of jobs exist because of their restructuring.  To point to one failure, in the myriad of successes, is simply ignorance  or distortion on a tremendous level.

If we are to make experience an issue, we should do so.  Let us closely examine all of Obama’s past history.  This includes college transcripts, time spent with Rev. Wright, etc.  But there is a simple reality here:  the American public does not care.  They made that judgement in 2008 when they elected an inexperienced fresh face over several qualified, much more experienced opponents.  This year appears to be more of the same:  the public has largely discounted Bain Capital as a major issue.  The Obama attacks are not working.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton made the argument, over and over again, that experience was the key ingredient needed for a successful Presidency. She spent millions on the argument, including the famous ‘3 a.m. phone call’ ad.  Obama’s response: “I have shown the judgment to lead.”  Who won that race, may I ask?

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  The more time and money the Obama campaign uses for Bain Capital attack ads, the better it is for Mitt Romney.  This campaign will have little to do with past history, and everything to do with judgement.

That is one thing Obama got right in 2008.  This time around, the ability to lead this country economically will be the decisive factor.  Right now, Barack Obama talks about Bain Capital, because all he has to offer the country is distraction and distortion.

For Mitt Romney, the lesson is clear:  it is the economy, stupid.  Bain Capital, and anything discussing anything other than the economy and jobs, is irrelevant.


Why David Brooks Is A Moron

This is why I think David Brooks is a moron.

He wrote a piece detailing why he things America and Europe are failing, and said this:

“Though the forms were different, the democracies in Europe and the United States were based on a similar carefully balanced view of human nature: People are naturally selfish and need watching. But democratic self-government is possible because we’re smart enough to design structures to police that selfishness.”

Um, no. Go read the Founder’s writings, and individual selfishness is not a common argument. They believed government was overpowering and oppressive, and the less centralized power, the less likely to infringe on individual rights.

Also liberals often point to the Madison quote, without READING THE REST OF THE QUOTE. It comes from Federalist no. 55, and it talks about how people use the ‘depravity of humans’ to argue for DESPOTISM. The quote is here in its entirety:

“As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.”

They did understand that governments and movements were depraved…but look at the Constitution, which completely focuses on RESTRAINING GOVERNMENT and MAXIMIZING INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.

I could go on and destroy Brooks’s argument about the European ruling classes…but why bother, when his fundamental theory is so unsound?

I do agree with one point: Brooks goes on to say that the balance between government and individuals is out of whack. Absolutely…government has grown out of control.


The Avengers: Movie Review

I know, week late…dollar short.  But since I was on vacation, this was the first blockbuster movie I missed on opening weekend in years.  You can fault my wife for that.


The Avengers was a benchpost for Marvel Comics.  It has long been held as one of their most prized comic collections, and bringing it to the big screen was a major endeavor.  Using virtual prequels in the likes of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, as well as to a lesser extent the Incredible Hulk, Marvel has taken a decade to set up this payoff.

And it was worth the effort and wait.

Written and directed by fanboy Joss Whedon, the Avengers does a nice job of uniting the characters that we have learned backstories about in the movies listed above, as well as transitioning other important characters into the mythology.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, as usual, brings the dry humor.  Chris Evans does a nice job as the straight laced Steve Rogers.  Samuel Jackson has Nick Fury nailed down for sure.  Chris Hemsworth’s Thor was brawny.  However, Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki in certain scenes was fantastic. Scarlett Johanson probably did a nice acting job, but she was so gorgeous is some scenes I kind of forgot she was talking.

If I was going to pan any of the actors, it would be Mark Ruffalo.  He wasn’t bad, per se…but compared to the brilliant Ed Norton, I just kept on wishing for more depth.  He was adequate however.  Other reviewers loved his mellow portrayal of Bruce Banner.  So maybe I am wrong on this, but that was my gut reaction.

The action sequences, which basically portray an alien invasion of Midtown Manhattan, are fabulous, and everything one expects from a high grade action film.  The comedy during the height of the battle is awesome, and comes from numerous characters (my favorite is a Hulk moment with Thor…which, trust me, will make you at least giggle).

In the end, this was the payoff geeks like me have wished for. The Avengers is going to print money this summer, as young teenage boys go back again and again to get their geek fix.  More importantly, it shows that a major comic book series with crossover characters can be successful, which gives hope for other tentpole franchises, most specifically D.C. comics Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.).

And the end credits [minor spoiler] point to Thanos being the key villain for Avengers 2, which is freakin’ awesome.

Kudos to Joss Whedon and Marvel Comics for pulling it off.  A must see to begin the Summer blockbuster season.

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