Saturday, April 5, 2014

Last Call For The Roaring 20's

New wealth numbers show that for the first time since the Gilded Age of the late 1920's, the concentration of America's total wealth in the hands of the wealthiest one percent is now above one-fifth.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 11.42.56 AM

As you can see, in 1975 that number was about 7%.  It's 21% now, meaning the share of wealth gained by the super-rich has tripled in the last 40 years or so.  Half of that total increase (from 14% to 21%) came since 2001, just 12 years.

And this will only get worse.  The rich get richer, and the poor must suffer because only the rich are worthy or even moral.

The Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. With A Shield

Readers know I'm a sucker for a Marvel Studios film, so this weekend's premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier definitely found me in line for a show.

Chris Evans reprises his role as WWII era super soldier Steve Rogers from 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and 2012's monster hit The Avengers) and as with the other "Phase 2" post Avengers Marvel films (2013's Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World) our hero is having trouble adjusting to his new role as not only America's protector, but as the leader of the planet's last line of defense.

Cap is still working for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. along with his fellow Avenger Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and his new friend from the VA, aerial ace Sam Wilson, (Anthony Mackie) but he's having trouble accepting the world in 2014 and its differences from when he was frozen stopping Red Skull and HYDRA's nuclear plot back in 1944.  Just about everyone he knows from then is gone (or is pushing 90) and he's having adjustment issues to say the very least.  Black Widow sees him as a good friend if not brother and is helping him out, but Cap misses his girlfriend from 70 years ago, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and he still visits her, when she remembers who he is.

Back in the 40's, Cap knew who the bad guys were and it was pretty clear that America was the champion of freedom.  These days, not so much as World Security Council Secretary Alexander Pierce (played brilliantly by Robert Redford) must struggle to keep Earth safe at any cost against mounting evidence that the agency itself may have been compromised by traitors. (If you've been keeping up with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show on ABC, Agent Coulson and his crew connect the aftermath of Thor: The Dark World to this movie's events rather niftily.)

And things get even more complicated when the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) shows up, complete with bionic arm and a past that forces Cap to make some hard and complex decisions about who the good guys are, if there are still any.  As with the rest of the "Phase 2" Marvel movies, this is a much darker film with pretty intense action scenes.  We know Cap is a good guy, but we're really not sure about anybody else, and that line between hero and good soldier following necessary orders gets a shield flung through it on more than one occasion.

In the end, I thought the first Captain America film was under-appreciated and very well done, and this film follows in its footsteps and then some, it's as good as Iron Man 3 if not better.  As always, stick around for the end credit scenes and look for Marvel comic creator Stan Lee in a cameo.

Up next, Guardians of the Galaxy in August...

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

As Steve M points out, charity is no longer a Christian virtue.  It's enabling the unworthy sinner.  Rep. Paul Ryan made that clear today that there will be no GOP replacement for Obamcare should it be repealed.

"If you look at these kinds of reforms, where they've been tried before -- say the state of Kentucky, for example -- you basically make it impossible to underwrite insurance," Ryan said, according to an advance transcript. "You dramatically crank up the cost. And you make it hard for people to get affordable health care."

You can have good healthcare, or you can have affordable healthcare.  You don't get both in the Ryan budget.  Tea Party Express head Howard Kaloogian:

I think it's clear that God has a position on many of the things we deem political today, from life to theft to the doctrine of covetousness, which by the way seems to be the promotion of the left. You know, they talk about 'income inequality,' well what is that but covetousness? So how could somebody support that cause if they're biblical believing Christians?

 Your tax money is being given to those people.  And that will have to be stopped...

 In the end, Republicans care about rich people.  The rest of you are screwed.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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