Sunday, August 3, 2014

Last Call For The Racoon And The Tree

Saw Guardians of the Galaxy this afternoon, and brother, this movie certainly does not disappoint.

Based on the Marvel comics series, the movie opens in 1988 with young Peter Quill visiting his sick mother in the hospital and realizing he has to say goodbye, as her cancer is terminal and she doesn't have long.  After the inevitable happens, he runs out into the night only to have the hand of fate scoop him up and put him squarely on the path to destiny among the stars.

Cut to 2014, and grown-up (physically, but surely not emotionally) Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a space-hopping thief and con man whose latest score brings the promise of untold riches, not to mention a very big bounty on his head.  Galactic-level bad guy Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) wants the artifact Quill has stolen, and it becomes a mad dash for the cash when bounty hunters Rocket (voiced brilliantly by Bradley Cooper) and his partner Groot (Vin Diesel in full emotive Iron Giant mode) give chase, and Ronan sends his own trump card Gamora (a verdant Zoe Saldana) to grab the loot.

Only Quill isn't as stupid as he seems, and the four of them get rounded up by Nova Corps, the galactic equivalent of Interpol (headed by Glenn Close, no less!) and tossed in the nearest space prison, where they meet Drax the Destroyer (who knew WWE wrestler Dave Bautista could act?) The five of them escape from Ronan and his sidekick Nebula (Karen Gilliam) and the adventure truly begins as the real villain pulling Ronan's strings is the same person responsible for that pesky invasion of Earth in The Avengers: Thanos, the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin), who has his own plans for the artifact.  It's up to Quill and his new "partners" to stop him and save the galaxy.

I personally had a blast at this film.  Cooper and Bautista provide some laugh out loud moments, and Pratt's charm is evident as he smirks his way from one disastrous situation to the next.  The film is well-written and doesn't get bogged down, and like The Avengers you're definitely pulling for this team of ragtag destruction by the end of the film. The movie is well-written and doesn't get bogged down with too much exposition, and Marvel aficionados will see a lot to like here as we get our first real taste of Marvel's cosmic-level players.

I highly recommend this film.  But don't take my word for it, odds are you've probably seen it this weekend as the movie blew up with the highest August weekend opening ever.

Republicans Keep Talking Impeachment

Over the last month, the Obama political apparatus — a close aide to the president, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the “independent” voices at MSNBC — has been talking nonstop about an alleged Republican plan to impeach the president. John Boehner’s symbolic lawsuit against the White House has been dubbed “impeachment lite,” Sarah Palin’s pleas for attention have been creatively reinterpreted as G.O.P. marching orders, and an entire apocalyptic fund-raising campaign has been built around the specter of a House impeachment vote.

Anyone paying attention knows that no such impeachment plan is currently afoot. So taken on its own, the impeachment chatter would simply be an unseemly, un-presidential attempt to raise money and get out the 2014 vote.

But it isn’t happening in a vacuum, because even as his team plays the impeachment card with gusto, the president is contemplating — indeed, all but promising — an extraordinary abuse of office: the granting of temporary legal status, by executive fiat, to up to half the country’s population of illegal immigrants.

We're up to the point where we're not talking about impeaching the President for something he did, but for something he might do, and could, legally.

Rep. Steve King:

Host Chris Wallace asked King what he would do if Obama decides to delay deportations, and Rep. King answered, “None of us want to do the thing that’s left for us as an alternative, but if the president has decided that he is simply not going to enforce any immigration law, or at least not against anybody except the felons, which essentially he has done already this is a broader group of people. I think Congress has to sit down and have a serious look at the rest of this Constitution, and that includes that i-word that we don’t want to say, and I only say now on this program, because I want to encourage the president, please don’t put America into a constitutional crisis, please don’t do that. There’s too much at stake in this country to be deciding that you can take over the Constitution and write it at will.”

Wallace asked if he was saying that impeachment was on the table. King answered, “I think that we have to sit down and take a look at that. Where we would we draw the line otherwise? If that’s not enough to bring that about, then I don’t know what would be.”

So now we have Republicans openly threatening the President with impeachment if he acts.  But it's all a Democratic party ploy, right?   Steve King is blatant:  if you act on immigration, we will impeach.

But yes, it's all Democrats talking it up.

What The Frack Is Going On In Toledo

Remember, Republicans like those in Gov. John Kasich's party want to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency.  I can't see why that would be an issue at all.

A toxin discovered in a northwestern Ohio treatment plant left 500,000 people without drinkable tap water for a second day Sunday.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said the level of toxins in the water has decreased, but that more tests are needed to ensure that the city's water is safe to drink.

"This is not over yet," Collins said Sunday.

Residents of Toledo, its suburbs and small areas of southeastern Michigan began lining up for water Saturday after news of the contamination surfaced. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency for Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties and deployed the National Guard to get water and meals ready to eat, or MREs, to the area.

"What's more important than water? Water's about life," Kasich said. "We know it's difficult. We know it's frustrating."

In a news release, the city of Toledo said the toxins likely came from harmful algae blooms in nearby Lake Erie.

"These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health," the release said.

Samples of water were flown to the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency offices in Cincinnati and Columbus and a university in Michigan for testing, officials said.

Toxic algae in Lake Erie?  Can't imagine where that could have come from.   Maybe, I dunno, Kasich's fracking program?  Now thousands in Toledo can't drink the water, but let's trash the EPA and expand drilling in the Great Lakes.  Remember, Kasich said the Great Lakes would be protected.

What could go wrong?

Fancy Farm Fracas

If it's the first Saturday in August, it's time for the St. Jerome Catholic Church picnic, aka Fancy Farm, Kentucky's premier "eat a crapload of BBQ and heckle your political opponent" event.  This year's headliner bout was no exception, as Alison Grimes took on Sen. Mitch McConnell, exchanging some brutal blows.

"Thirty-five is my age - that's also Senator McConnell's approval rating," Grimes quipped.

Polling from earlier this year indicated McConnell's approval rating was in the low 30s.

And Grimes gave McConnell grief for serving in Washington for so long, saying he'd forgotten about the people of Kentucky.

"After three decades in Washington, you've just given up. You don't care about us any more. Thanks to you, D.C. stands for 'Doesn't Care," Grimes said.

But McConnell had something to say about how important his experience is while highlighting Grimes' inexperience, drawing parallels between Grimes, who's two years in as Kentucky's secretary of state, and the relative inexperience of President Barack Obama before taking office.

"He was only two years into his first big job when he started campaigning for the next one. Sound familiar?" McConnell said.

And of course, Rand Paul crashed the party.

"There once was a woman from Kentucky, who thought in politics she'd be lucky. So she flew to LA for a Hollywood bash. She came home in a flash, with buckets of cash," Paul said.

While the race has clear national implications and is one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, Grimes said she wants the focus to be on Kentuckians.

"This race is between me, you and the people of Kentucky," Grimes said to McConnell, seated just a short distance away.

Polls show the race is nearly tied just three months away from the election.

The big prognostication sites, 538, Upshot, Cook Political Report, etc continue to give Grimes almost no chance of winning this race.  Mitch is too entrenched in the state, too politically savvy, too rich to lose down the stretch and he'll pull away and win by 8-10 points.  I think Mitch will get the fight of his political life.

We'll see.
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