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The Real Lesson From Tucson

While the political left has spent much of the past week using the tragedy in Tucson to attempt to damage their political rivals, and as the media focuses on Sarah Palin, the real question and message of the events of the past week are being missed.

Jared Lee Loughner is a disturbed young man.  That much is quite obvious.  Whether he is legally insane will be left up to the courts.  But there is no question, now looking upon his life, that the warning signs were there.

We see this repeated, over and over again.  Whether it be Columbine, the Virginia Tech Massacre, or Tucson, these people in danger of committing these atrocities are not as hidden as one might think.

Loughner was known to local police officials.  School Administrators knew about his instability.  Even the military, which rejected him, suspected something was not right.  And that does not even include Loughner’s friends and family, who must of known much more than any public official could have.

And each of these entities failed to do anything; or maybe more important, were unable to.

Take Pima Community College, where Loughner studied.  They had met with county police five times about his disturbances in class.  Only after the fifth occurrence was he expelled.

Ben McGahee, Loughner’s Algebra teacher, knew the kid was unstable.  “They just said, ‘Well, he hasn’t taken any action to hurt anyone. He hasn’t provoked anybody. He hasn’t brought any weapons to class.'”

Loughner “scares me a bit,” wrote one of the students in an e-mail quoted by the Post. “Until he does something bad, you can’t do anything about him,” she wrote in a later message. “Needless to say, I sit by the door.”

And yet, no one could do anything.

In hindsight, the events of last Saturday were like an oncoming train with Congresswoman Giffords and others sitting innocently on the tracks.  Everyone that had the occasion to spend time with Loughner knew he was unstable…and could do nothing.

I believe in reasonable gun control.  But, is there any gun control law proposed or opposed that would have stopped this tragedy?  Possibly limiting accessability to high volume cartridges would have saved lives, but would not have saved Rep. Giffords; the first bullet wounded her.  But sure, you can discuss that.  The only law that may have helped is instant federal background checks; and in this case, even those would have failed.  Loughner was not a convict, and was not on any mental instability list…and therefore, would have passed all background checks in the United States.

I am in favor of background checks, but there is a more fundamental issue at hand. Background checks are useless unless the database has information to base decisions on.  In this case, Loughner was never reported to the database.

Those who confronted Loughner never made the next logical step, and force him to seek mental health help.  Many, like the school and colleges associated with Loughner, were very likely scared of retribution, especially from lawsuits.  They suggested mental care, but could do nothing more.  It was easier to send him on his way than force his hand and make him seek some psychiatric help.  As for the military, where Loughner was denied entry, it is uncertain whether they are even legally allowed to forward such material to the appropriate authorities.  And as for the police, that is even more dubious.  Why after so many incidents, did they not try to force him into the mental health system?

We need to be more open about these questions, and allow institutions to use more free will in determining when individuals need to seek mental health care.  In turn, we need to protect those same people from lawsuits.  There is nothing damaging in making an individual sit with a psychiatric health professional for a few hours, and determine whether the patient is stable, and worse, is a risk to others.

Until we come to face the reality that we do not intercede when necessary in these cases, we will continue to have incidents like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson.


Why the F-22 Raptor Matters

There has been much debate over the future of America’s next generation fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has taken an enormous gamble.  He has wagered that the F-22 is too expensive, and is unnecessary; and only spending on the next generation fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, makes military and financial sense.

I have long challenged this notion.  In fact, I called it gross negligence in a piece almost 2 years ago.  I have long believed that production of the F-22 should continue until full deployment of the F-35 was in effect.  Now, I think recent information goes to prove that I and others were absolutely right.

What evidence, do you ask?  Well, this:

Above is China’s new J-20 prototype stealth fighter plane.  This has been rumored to be in development for years.  But nobody in the intelligence community expected a working model at this point.

But here it is, flying.

The Chinese prepared the J-20 for flight before the meeting with Gates last week.   The C.I.A. and military intelligence did not expect a flying model for another decade.  A ten year discrepancy shows the utter failure in our intelligence services to know what is going on in Red China.

The F-35 was meant as a cost-effective replacement to the F-22.  And clearly, long term, that is what it will be.  When deployed, it will be the most highly technical airplane in the world, and likely will maintain air dominance well into the next century.


The problem is a simple one:  the Chinese are not playing by our rules.  Initially the F-35 was supposed to be deployed last year.   That deployment, according to some reports, has been pushed back until 2015, with full deployment not expected until 2026.

What we have is a possible gap in American air superiority.  With production of the F-22 winding down, there is the possibility that China narrows the gap by 202o.  China still has a long way to go, and many question how far they have come.  However, it doesn’t take much to change the balance of power.  Remember, we are unlikely to face China in an all out war…nobody wants that.  But nobody would be surprised if small skirmishes occur in places like Taiwan or North Korea, would they?  All China needs to do is to shift the balance of air power slightly in their favor, and that would allow them to use their powerful land based systems to further project their military power.

Without air superiority, U.S. naval ships are easy targets.  China has also beefed up their land-to-sea missiles, and now proclaim to have a missile that can destroy a U.S. aircraft carrier.  The Defense Departmnet implicitly admitted this as a fact, as they have slowly moved their aircraft carriers farther away form the Chinese mainland.

Maintenance of the F-22A Raptor fleet would have given the U.S. air superiority well into the 2030s, as the F-35 comes into full force.  However, Gates decision has now halted that overlap.  And China, playing by their own rules, has narrowed the gap significantly.

Only time will tell if that decision costs America.


Being Liberal Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

After a tragic weekend that saw the deaths of six innocents, and the likely maiming of a member of Congress, the left’s first response…is to blame the political right.

Paul Krugman started it out.  Within minutes of the tragedy, he had a blog post up, and had written a full editorial by the end of the day.  He immediately blamed the right for the atrocity…without any proof whatsoever.   In his deranged liberal mind, this simply had to be the cause of those right wing evil forces.

Then later Saturday, Keith Olbermann continued a similar tirade on MSNBC, which again, was ridiculous en face.   But of course, we now accept nothing but the worst from that fool.

There is no evidence for any of these accusations.  It is not like the shooter is a card-carrying member of the Republican Party, Tea Party, or any other known conservative group.  To the left, the knee jerk reaction is ‘simply logical’.

There is nothing logical about the actions of the left.

I can put a list a mile long of liberal pundits whose outright ignorance is staggering.  They continue, to this day, to try to blame the shooting, in some manner or another, on conservatives.  The sheriff in the case blame Rush Limbaugh yesterday.  Several Democrats blamed the Tea Party.  And there is no evidence that the shooter ever had interest in either.

The liberal thought process:  there is violence, the right opposes us; therefore it must be the fault of the political right.

Clearly, these people need to take some more philosophy classes, and understand the term ‘causation’.

This is not to say that the political right should not be self-reflective as well.  Clearly, rhetoric on both sides can be clamped down, while still having the political debate we feel is necessary to move the country forward.

But let us be clear:  the vast majority of the blame game has been played by the left.  Their absolute blindness to their own vitriolic attacks is staggering.  This was a crime of hate, and one could argue, a crime of terror.  To blame Sarah Palin, for example, is basically calling her a terrorist.  That is not vitriolic?  How about the fact that the shooter seemed to have become engrossed with Rep. Giffords in 2007…at least one whole year before Palin was known to the majority of Americans as a national figure?  How did Palin perform that magic act?

Liberals simply believe that everything they do is for the greater good.  When you believe that, it is almost like a religious mandate.  Their ability to self-reflect, especially after the tragedy of last weekend, is basically nil.  Even several days afterward, when the shooter appears to be more a mentally disturbed individual than one of any political flavor whatsoever, we get new accuasations of the Right causing this. That is simply a tool of idiots.  No one else with brain would reach such a conclusion, with the facts at hand.

To their credit, some liberals have tried to take a more measured tone.  Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, and even the women on The View have tried to shy away from the blame game.  Jon Stewart also chimed in, stating, “We live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn’t blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine,” Stewart said on “The Daily Show” Monday night.  Pretty sad when a comedian is the most rationale voice on your side of the aisle, no?

The unfortunate reality is that those who caution against blaming blindly seem to be in a small minority that want to hold back and reserve judgement.  Most of our political left simply wants to attack.

The sad reality is that it is now up to President Obama to give the liberal left any credibility in the face of this disaster.  He has also implied that the political discourse led to this tragedy, but not as openly as others.  Only he can save the face of the Left in this country, because so far, since Saturday, they have behaved more like a group of taddletale children than a governing political movement.

There is one upside to all this, politically speaking:  the public isn’t buying into it.   A CBS poll shows 6 out of 10 Americans do not believe political rhetoric caused this shooting.  That even includes a majority of Democrats, who you would think would be predisposed to the left wing rhetoric.  Once again, my faith in the public outshines my faith in our political leaders.

But one can be sure of one thing:  no matter how factually wrong people like Krugman, Olbermann, or the other ridiculous talking heads on the left are, you will never hear them apologize for being vitriolic, unfair, or downright evil.  Because, simply put, in their world being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.


Gov. John Kasich and Ohio’s Future

John Kasich has been floating around Ohio politics seemingly forever.  He was first elected to the State Senate in 1978 at the age of 26.  He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, and re-elected 8 times.  During his time in the House, he was integral to the Republican takeover in 1994.  Kasich played key roles in the Budget committee as well as for Welfare Reform in then 1990s.  When he left Congress, Kasich entered the private sector, working for the now defunct Lehman Brothers.  That was probably his darkest history, although Kasich was not considered a high level Lehman employee; he made approximately $500,000 a year in the investment bank wing, which is considered small change in Wall Street circles.  Kasich also spent time as a host on Fox News.

Kasich is likely the right man at the right time for Ohio.  He is known to buck conventional wisdom, and is not afraid to make cuts even when they are politically damaging.  In all likelihood, it will take that kind of fortitude to close Ohio’s potential $8-10 billion deficit hole for 2011.

His first battle, like many Governors nowadays, will likely center on public employee unions.  Pensions and structural long term obligations must be confronted if the long term financial security of the state is to be maintained.  Of course, this will inevitably put Kasich up against some of the strongest political forces in the state, some of which are technically on his own side.

If you want someone to focus on social issues, Kasich is not your man.  He is focused on one thing:  the economy.  His only goal is to make sure that anyone that wants a job in Ohio has access to one.  He will promote pro-business policies, and likely will look at tax restructuring to promote growth in the state.  Kasich will surely roll back many of former Gov. Ted Strickland’s policies that were thought to be restrictive on job growth, and destructive to small business formation in the state.

Kasich has huge battles ahead, from both sides of the aisle.  But if he follows his own advice, and takes only his own conscience as his guide, Ohio will be better off for it.


Cruel Reality Strikes Home…Evil Exists

By now, most of you know the tragic events of Saturday.  A deranged young man, with wild political leanings, approached Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Dem., AZ) at a meet-and-greet congressional event being held at a Safeway grocery store outside of Tuscon, AZ.  Six people in all were killed, including a 9 year old child (later identified as the granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green), Federal Judge John Roll (a Bush appointment), as well as one of Giffords aides.  Giffords herself lies in the ICU of University Medical Center of Tuscon, following brain surgery.

The entire tragedy instantly captured the attention of the nation.  Few events in our society do that.  But here is a young woman, in her third term of Congress, simply doing her duty, and meeting her constituents on the issues that effect them.

And one insane man can change all that.

Mainstream media instantly tried to make this a political issue, what with the extreme tensions that arose in Arizona last year because of their immigration laws, health care, as well as Giffords heated 2010 midterm re-election.  Unfortunately, the shooter did not fit perfectly into their narrative.  None of these issues seem to have inspired this guy.  He was not a Tea Partier, not a member of any clear conservative or liberal group.   He seems to be a relatively deranged young man, who has leanings from being against hispanic immigration to antisemitic commentary to stating that his favorite books included The Communist Manifesto to Mein Kampf.

Then, you have the intelligensia claiming we have no proof this was political, but it must be!!! What idiocy.  This is exactly the type of vitriol they decry…and then they commit the same crime themselves.  Whether it be the talking heads of CNN or MSNBC, or idiots like Paul Krugman, for them to state that they know anything for sure is a rush to justice.  Will these same pundits decry the talk of people like Nancy Pelosi, if the guy turns out to be a liberal?  I doubt it.

No mainstream conservative or liberal would accept such an outrage, and for anyone to claim otherwise is to fall into the trap that these kind of events always create…they themselves are involved with the kind of rhetoric that is unfair, unjust, and frankly, unhelpful.

There is only a couple real lessons to be learned here.  First, if the shooter truly had a criminal or mental health record, how did he obtain a gun?  Or, if like the Virginia Tech shootings several years ago, if he didn’t have a mental health record, why was that so?  What was missed?  He had several run-ins with police, though apparently was never convicted of a crime.  He was also reportedly expelled from his community college recently, and was refused entrance into the military.  If either had evidence of his instability, is there a way to use that information to have prevented him from obtaining a weapon?

The other lesson is one of security.  I went to a party with Gov-elect John Kasich on Saturday evening, and there appeared to be more security at this event than other events I have been to.  All politicians now must be on alert.  The question is, how does a democracy survive if its representatives are a stone’s throw away for their constituents?  I am sure Congress will come up with a balance, but it will be difficult.

In the end, one can only hope that common sense prevails.  I know, maybe that is hoping too much.  All we can do in a free society is hope, and pray that those killed and injured go forward with God’s blessings.


Democrats Want A Fight Over Health Care…Again

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein,

Congressional Democrats, in response to the Republican push in the House of Representatives to have a vote on repealing Obamacare, are making another ‘last stand’ to convince the American public that clearly they were too stupid to understand how good this bill was for America, and the last two years they were clearly to simple to understand the benefits of the program

The DNC is pushing talking points that supposedly will convince the doubting public.  Here are the talking points, as reported by the Washington Post:

* Republicans in Congress want to unravel the law that holds insurance companies in check.

* The insurance company lobbyists are working overtime with Republicans to return to the days when insurance companies were free to do whatever they want, including raising premiums and imposing higher costs on families and businesses to protect their CEO bonuses and corporate profits.

* Republicans will allow insurance companies to once again DENY coverage to children with existing conditions, CANCEL coverage when people get sick, and LIMIT the amount of care you can get — even if you need it.

* When the insurance companies are free to pursue their profits without any accountability, people have fewer choices, fewer options, and little recourse.

* And, by rolling back the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are adding a TRILLION dollars to the deficit.

Now, does any of that seem familiar?  It should.  It is virtually identical to the talking points pushed by the White House in the earlier part of 2010 to sell Obamacare to the American public.

Let us take a step back for a second.  Since the summer of 2009, Democrats have continued to tell us that they will ‘go on the offensive’, and make the public truly appreciate health care as Obama has devised it.  Over and over again, liberal forces have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to convince you and I that we have been poorly misinformed, and that Obamacare is a panacea to the future of health care in this country.

What have been the results of these efforts?  The public is vastly against the program.  At last count, 60% of Americans support repeal, with peak opposition since the passage of the bill at 63%.   Although the public is divided on whether the government should even ensure that all citizens have healthcare (47% favor such a guarantee in a recent Gallup poll, versus 50% against), 61% still support private insurance over any public option.

Additionally, a few of the health care laws provisions have gone into effect.  Many of these provisions have been disaster.  Rules to guarantee coverage for children with pre-existing conditions has forced many insurers to simply refuse to insure children at all under individual plans.  Rules that allow parents to cover children until 26 years of age have resulted in higher premiums for the majority of families trying to cover those kids.  And a program to give access to uninsured that went into effect in late summer was supposed to have approximately hundreds of thousands of participants by now had less than 1% the number predicted.

In the meanwhile, Republicans took over the House of Representatives; John Boehner ousted Nancy Pelosi as Speaker; Republicans narrowed the margin in the Senate; Republicans now hold the majority of Governorships; and that doesn’t even mention that a Virginia federal judge ruled the individual mandate under Obamacare unconstitutional.

Liberals truly are delusional.

Every time the issue of health care is brought into the public arena, it is a net positive for conservatives, and a net negative for liberals.  The longer they try to convince us that we are truly too stupid to understand the benefits of Obamacare, the better for the Right in this country.

So I say, let them have their fight…and we shall continue to enjoy the spoils of victory.


End of the Pelosi Era

The 2010 midterm elections were largely about the job that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Democrats have been doing in running the country the last two years, with huge majorities not seen in decades.  The voters gave an absolute ‘thumbs down’ on the House.  Unfortunately, Obama and Reid remain to fight another day.

But no matter what else happened, very few people will miss Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

Only for the liberal splinter of the American populace was Pelosi a good Speaker.  She must be given credit:  the was able to strong arm  her caucus into passing a ridiculous liberal agenda that will damage the country for years to come.  Whether it be the Stimulus, Obamacare, or a multitude of other bad policy initiatives, Pelosi was able to get her way for the past two years, often over even the objections of Obama and Reid.

Pelosi was also quite inept on many issues.  None stood out more than her relationship with the CIA.  In May 2009, Pelosi was accused of knowing about the specifics of the CIA interrogation plan from the very beginning.  Records would later verify that this was, in fact, the case.  But Pelosi, who had staked her reputation on fighting virtually all of the Bush-era anti-terrorism policies, instead tried to blame every but herself.  In a press conference on May 2009 is one of the great ‘deer in the headlight’ video events ever by a politician.

Pelosi had a stark inability to work with anyone who disagreed with her.  In that, she was a perfect example of someone who was a good majority/minority leader, because she could keep her caucus together, while at the same time an extremely poor Speaker.  The great Speakers of the House were those that could unite the body to some common purpose.  Even compared to divisive names like Newt Gingrich, Pelosi’s ability to ostracize the minority stood out.

It showed in her national appeal.  Pelosi has a national approval of 9%…NINE PERCENT.  There are probably mass murderers with similar approval ratings.  The midterm elections were as much about disfavor of Obama’s policies as it was about dislike of Nancy Pelosi.  She became the poster child of bad liberal government.

After what has to be one of the longest goodbye speeches in the long history of the House of Representatives, Pelosi finally turned the gavel over to Speaker of the House John Boehner.  It is Beohner’s job not to unite the conservatives, and push through much needed policies to fix the damage that Pelosi and her minions created over the past four years.

Goodbye Ms. Pelosi…the country is better off without you in the Speaker’s chair.


2011 Predictions

Well, after reviewing my predictions for the past year, I am considering buying a lot more lottery tickets.  I was pretty spot on.

That said, the law of averages pretty much guarantees that I will be completely erroneous in this coming year’s predictions.

Well, anyway, here we go…

1.  Economy

The economy will have an up-and-down year.  Most economists predict GDP growth at around 3%.  I think it will hover at around 2.5%.  Both predictions are far lower than the Obama Administration’s predictions of 4% growth by 2011, predicted at the time of the passage of the stimulus in 2009.

Other economic predictions:

  • Unemployment will not significantly drop.  I would be surprised to see it fall under 8.5% for the end of the year.
  • Business will continue to have good profits.  They are cut to the bone, with no fat dragging them down (fat being, unfortunately, excess employees).
  • The stock market will have another solid year, up 7-10%.  The financial markets will have another roller coaster year, with borderline defaults of banks and, possibly, government entities continuing.  The domestic markets will actually outperform foreign markets.  And stocks will outperform bonds and commodities.
  • Oil will surge past $100 a barrel, and gasoline will pass the $4 mark by midyear.  This will create a political crisis for the Obama Administration.
  • Gold and silver prices will rise until mid year, when the bubble finally bursts.
  • GDP will grow at 3%…a decent rate, but not enough to create significant jobs to reduce unemployment.
  • Close to a hundred localities will default on debt, and a few states will need to be bailed out to avoid the same fate.

2.  Politics

  • Republicans will keep their promise to make wholesale changes to Obamacare.  They won’t be successful in repealing the whole thing; that cannot happen as long as Obama is President.  Whether Democrats are smart enough to take advantage of it is another matter.
  • Republicans will call for broad spending cuts, and may join Obama on long term deficit reduction measures regarding Social Security and Medicare.  However, the Republicans will be attacked for wanting the elderly and children to starve.
  • There will be a huge fight over raising the debt ceiling, but Republicans will be forced to ultimately pass it.
  • Obama, as arrogant as ever and possibly more so after his recent successes, will fall back into his belief that he is the greatest politician of his generation.   He will make no significant changes to the leadership of the West Wing or Cabinet, and continue on his current path.  Sure, he will compromise with Republicans on certain issues.  But he will also fight Republicans tooth and nail on certain provisions, but unlike Bill Clinton, will overplay his hand at some point.
  • Several Democrats, realizing that 2012 is going to be a replay of the disaster of 2010 for Congress, will decide to retire.
  • The focus  next year will shift from DC to the states, as gridlock hampers Obama. With huge budget problems in the states, Republican and Democrat governors, many newly elected, will have to do some painful cost cutting and budgetary measures to survive.  This will be most pronounced with MI Gov. Rick Snyder, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, IL Gov. Pat Quinn, and CA Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • Obama’s popularity will stay unchanged, in the low 40s.  Republican popularity will slowly rise, as will Congressional approval ratings.
  • Obama will not be seriously challenged for the Democratic nomination in 2012.  Liberals will whine and complain, but will fall into line.
  • Republicans will slowly narrow their list for 2012 Presidential candidates.  Sarah Palin will delay her decision, but will ultimately choose not to run.  No leading candidates will emerge, with a scrum in early 2012 for the nomination.  At least one dark horse candidate, however, will remain among the top tier, with a chance to win in 2012.  I predict that Mike Pence and John Thune will be viable candidates going into the 2012 nomination process.

3.  Sports

  • Auburn will crush Oregon for the BCS National Championship.
  • The University of Michigan will fire Rich Rodriquez, and hire Jim Harbaugh as coach.  Michigan will go 7-5 in the 2011 season.
  • New England Patriots will dominate, and win the  Super Bowl.
  • Kansas Jayhawks will with the NCAA Basketball Championship.
  • Boston Celtics will win the NBA Championship.  Miami and the L.A. Lakers will falter in the playoffs.
  • Detroit Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup.
  • Tiger Woods will have another mediocre year.
  • Philadelphia Phillies, behind their awesome new pitching staff, will win the World Series.

4.  Entertainment

  • The Social Network will win the Oscar for Best Movie.

START Treaty: Epic Fail

Last month’s ratification of the START Treaty was considered a victory for the Obama Administration.

They might not view is as such a victory in the weeks ahead.

Much of the Republican opposition to the bill centered on the ability of the U.S. military to continue their missile defense program, which is in the later stages of implementation.  This has been a critical cornerstone of Republican foreign policy since President Reagan.  To ensure that the policy would continue, President Obama signed a Presidential order that stated the START treaty in now way interfered with missile defense, even though the preamble of the treaty itself mentioned it.  The White House stated that the preamble, for whatever reason, was not legally binding.

The Russians may view it differently.

The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, is actively pursuing language in its ratification of the treaty that would bind the US to rolling back their missile defense program:

[Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs says] “We will deal with these interpretations. The first thing is that our American colleagues do not recognize the legal force of the treaty’s preamble. The preamble sets a link between strategic offensive arms and defensive arms. The second thing is an attempt to interpret certain provisions of the treaty unilaterally.

This is our reaction on the US steps, which are not justified because you cannot selectively validate or invalidate certain provisions of the treaty. We are quite consistent here. We said that the entire treaty, the preamble and the articles have the same judicial force. This is logical and this is right.”

The irony?  Kosachev is right.  How can you arbitrarily take a line out of the treaty, preamble or not. and ignore it?  You can’t.  This is Obama trying to have his cake and eat it to.  He placated to the Russians on the missile deal, and now cannot convince the Senate that such a giveaway is worthwhile.

If the Duma changes the wording of the treaty, in any way, then the ratification must go back the U.S. Senate…in which case, a simple letter from the President will not be enough to allow for passage, assuming the Duma is now clearly tying missile defense to START, something that  has never occurred previously.

This is again the ignorance and incompetence of the Obama Foreign Policy team showing.  They rushed the vote, thinking the Duma would rubber stamp anything that came their way.  Time will tell if Putin will put his foot down, and force the Duma to pass the treaty as/is.  But Putin has little to lose by letting this fester.  And thus, Obama and the Democrats rush to pass this may come back to haunt them.

Most damaging longterm however is not the treaty itself.  It is Obama’s credibility.   The next time the President gives his promise or word, one need simply to point to his opinion on the preamble of the START treaty.  It will be a long time before anyone, Democrats or Republicans, will go out on a limb on the word of this President.


Most Anticipated Movies of 2011

As always, you can see my most recent movie posts here, and my list of upcoming movies of interest here.

This is always a hit or miss list.   When you go back and look at the movies that I was really looking forward to a year ago, there were some excellent choices (Toy Story 3) and some complete and utter disasters (The Last Airbender)

But anticipation is 3/4 the fun…and so, in chronological order, here are my most anticipated movies of the year…

Battle:  Los Angeles, February 18, 2011

One part Independence Day; one part Black Hawk Down.  Geeks and alien lovers everywhere are going to get excited.

Thor, May 6, 2010

Of all the superheroes in the Marvel universe, this is the one I care about least.  I honestly have never had the urge to pick up a Thor comic, even as a child.  And Thor, as a character, always seemed…well…insane.  But the preview below looks at least interesting.   Kenneth Branaugh directs, so there is hope.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, May 20, 2010

No Kiera Knightley.  No Orlando Bloom.  But no one cares…Capt. Jack Sparrow is back!  Can Disney pull off a watchable movie, after the last two were mediocre?  If it gets back to its roots from the original, then this could be a lot of fun.


Hangover 2, May 27, 2010

Hangover is the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time….and is a cultural phenomenon.  Everyone I know has watched it multiple times.  Will the sequel will be anywhere as good?

Green Lantern, June 17, 2011

Green Lantern has been a cornerstone of comic books for decades.  And although it has grown out of favor in recent years, its following is still significant.  Within the past few years, the Lantern Universe has significantly grown, and brought new readers to the series.  Whether Ryan Reynolds can reignite the character is still a question.  But this is still going to be a guaranteed blockbuster, regardless.

Cars 2, June 24, 2011

Every Pixar movie automatically gets on this list…it is a rule.  My son has literally watched the original ‘Cars’ at least 50 times, if not 100.  I am forced, as a father of sons, to go see this movie, and then buy tons of merchandise to further enrich Disney.

Rise of the Apes, June 24, 2011

James Franco headlines this reboot of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ storyline.  This, of course, is the origin story of how the apes became smart enough to overthrow man.  Of course, opening on the same weekend as ‘Cars 2′ may not be the best strategy…

Transformers 3:  Dark of the Moon, July 1, 2011

This movie is going to make a bazillion dollars, have lots of bombs and booms and explosions, and no Megan Fox.  Michael Bay knows how to makes really loud and explosive movies with no plot.  That said, this is going to dominate Fourth of July weekend.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, July 15, 2010

The Harry Potter series come to a fiery end, as the Battle of Hogwarts commences.  Anyone who is a Potterhead is hoping for a Lord of the Rings Helm’s Deep sort of battle scene.  After a decade, 7 blockbuster books, and 8 movies that now hold the record for the biggest grossing franchise in movie history…this is a must see.

Captain American, July 22, 2010

Captain America was one of the first major comic book heroes.  Arising out of  World War II, he now seems anachronistic.  But the first pictures of the movie set appear to show a movie based in that era.  Ultimately, this, as well as Thor, will set up for The Avengers movie in 2012.

Cowboys & Aliens, July 29, 2011

Now that Jon Favreau has exited the Iron Man Series, he jumps to an alien movie set in the wild, wild west.  With a cast made up of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and the lovely Olivia Wilde, this should be interesting at least.

X-Men:  First Class, August 30, 2011

I love superhero movies…but this one worries me.  This could either be brilliant…or a disaster.  Here is crossing fingers…

Super 8, September 10, 2010

No one really knows what this movie is about.  The opening day is still shrouded in secrecy.  The trailer, posted below, is haunting.  So why the anticipation?  Mix J.J. Abrams, Stephen Spielberg, and possibly aliens?  Trust me, people will line up to pay for that.

Others To Keep a close eye on:  Red Riding Hood (3/11), Sucker Punch (3/25), Crazy/Stupid/Love (4/22), Horrible Bosses (7/29), Contagion (10/21), Sherlock Holmes II (12/16), The Adventures of TinTin (12/23).

Movies that may be interesting, or painful:  Zookeeper, Breaking Dawn, The Muppet Movie, Paul, The Thing, Fast Five, Kung Fu Panda 2

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