Movie success, failure and excuses

“Over $300 million for Memorial Day weekend has never happened before,” said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com. “This proves that when you have a great selection of films, audiences will line up at movie theaters in record numbers.”

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I hope the movie industry remembers that the next time they accuse pirates of ruining the industry. You can’t kill something that kills itself.

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Unemployment vs being unemployed

I found this on Facebook . . . . 

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America . 

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 7.8%. 

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work? 

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7% 

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed. 

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work. 

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7%. 

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 7.8%. 

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.8% or 14.7%? 

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work. 

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed. 

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!! 

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point? 

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair. 

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed. 

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work. 

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed. 

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment rolls that would count as less unemployment? 

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work? 

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how they get it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our govt. doesn’t want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.

COSTELLO: That would be tough on those running for re-election. 

ABBOTT: Absolutely!

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number? 

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct. 

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job? 

ABBOTT: Correct. 

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job? 

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work. 

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an Economist. 

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said! 

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Congress.

Mideast politics and Syria

There is this news article which shows the potential to create some truly byzantine alliances in the mideast . . . .

(Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the United States.

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So now Hezbollah has openly and actively entered the civil war in Syria and that creates an odd situation, they will be fighting Al-Qaeda members, effectively expanding the Shiite vs Sunni war to Syria since Al-Qaeda is Sunni and Iran (Shiite) supports Syria and Hezbollah. Does that mean that Al-Qaeda would start direct actions against Hezbollah? Both are ardent foes of Israel and Israel would benefit either way Israel benefits – Hezbollah knocks over Al-Qaeda or the other way around.

What would be really strange is if Israel made an alliance with Al-Qaeda against Hezbollah to overthrow Assad and for regime change. But I can’t see that as if would be trading the devil you know for the one you don’t. But never dismiss the principle of,
“the enemy of my enemy is my friend – and I can kill my new friend after the former enemy is dead”. And if Jordan was to ask Israel for help, Israel would be hard put to refuse.

For Russia the outcome is bad either way.

Assad stays in power and Russia keeps access to it’s only port on the Mediterranean, Tartus Syria. That pisses off Al-Qeada enough that they spend more active time stirring up the Caucasus region, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagastan – and most importantly – the town of Sochi, where the 2014 Russian Olympics will be held, which is deep inside an unstable area of Islamic revivalism. A lot of people are already afraid of terrorists attacks in Sochi during the Olympics and the Russians have played it down. 

Sochi isn’t that far from Dagastan where the Boston Marathon bombers came from, so you do the math.

But is Assad is overthrown, Russia loses it’s port on the Med

For the US the situation is either neutral or has an upside because one way or another Russia loses big time and Russia will be tied up in internal affairs for the next generation, long enough for Putin to lose any chance of office in Russia. And, hopefully, Al-Qaeda and the wrath of the Islamic world gets focused on Russia. Iran is neither Islamic, no matter what they say, nor Arab, they are Persian to the core and want to use Islamic ideology to restore the Persian Empire. They have always been and are now, a loose cannon no one controls.

China doesn’t have dogs in this fight except some political support. Al-Qaeda might try and stir up some trouble in China’s western provinces that border Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan but I doubt it since Al-Qaeda hasn’t done too well with a multi-front strategy so far. But at some point, the bedrock core of Chinese politics, self-interest, will weigh in and decide if supporting Syria is worth stirring up it’s own Islamic elements, notably the Uighars.

The US should stay out, along with England and France, and let the mess sort itself out and tie Russia up.

Justice Department obtained records of Fox News journalist

You gotta give the Obama administration credit, when a problem comes up, they double down and go after more people to blame for their own stupidity and dig in even deeper.

ERIC HOLDER’S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, already under fire for seizing AP phone records, also obtained records pertaining to Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent James Rosen’s efforts to report leaked material, even calling Rosen a criminal ‘co-conspirator’ — a charge the news organization called ‘chilling.’

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Congress is considering a media shield bill that has been revived in light of the AP records scandal. My question is why we need it, we already have one, so I thought, in the First Amendment and 200 years of established case law that shields reporters. Administartion regularly push the boundaries of the First Amendment so why would a shield law be any better? Aside from that, the Obama administration doesn’t even seem to care about the Bill of Rights.

When the Obama administration went after Fox News in the first place in 2008, all news agencies should of paid attention. Do something, report something, that doesn’t serve the interests of the administration, or, God forbid, make the administration look bad, they will come after you.

In the case of James Rosen, it is both. he’s a reporter for FoxNews and he did something the administration didn’t like. That should make all us ask just what is it Obama didn’t like? It’s not national security, that’s a chimera. With Barry, it’s something personal.

The IRS, reform, not eliminate

Consider:

There is a movement in several states to do away with the given state’s income tax and have only a sales tax. It has been found that states with this arrangement have more money to go around. Of course that could be because people that live in states with a large income tax are moving to the non-income tax states, like athletes and anyone that lives in California.

What if the US Government did the same thing, replaced the income tax with a national sales tax? What would the benefits be?

1) Obviously, right now, an all intruding government agency would be reduced to collecting the sales tax only and would quit prying into people’s lives.

2) It would eliminate a tool for intimidation. Obama wasn’t the first to use it for such and won’t be the last

3) The issue of tax exempt status would go away in most cases. Charities and the like that sell stuff would need consideration

4) Congress and the President would to focus on what America is about and what built government in the first place . . . . business, and make it a more hospitable place for business. 

5) Everyone that pays sales tax now would still pay sales tax, no more loopholes, no more evasion. If it’s sold and bought it’d have a sales tax, including stocks

6) Eliminate capital gains tax – that’d encourage capital flight TO the US instead of the overseas shell game companies hide revenue behind.

 

All in all it would simplify people’s lives, reduce government spending on a bloated agency and restore some measure of privacy.

 

But the down side? politicians would hate it – no more prying into your life, no more power of virtual life and death over people’s and companies. In a word, reduction of power. Which makes it a very good thing

Obamagate

Pretty soon all the scandals will get lumped together and called “Obamagate”

“Attorney General Eric Holder says he played no direct role in the Justice Department’s secret review of Associated Press phone records but called it part of an investigation into what he termed a grave national security leak.”

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Probably honest enough, but I doubt completely truthful because after all Holder is still a lawyer. So while he says he didn’t have a direct role, at the same time, and what is being omitted, is saying he had an indirect role. The big question is why wasn’t a warrant obtained? Probably because the Justice Dept knew they didn’t have sufficient grounds and now national security is being used to obscure the whole issue. 

As for the leak, start with the White House, they love leaking stuff like that to make themselves look good. They’ve done it before.