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Obama the Ideologue

With the president on the road again pushing legislation that the American people have long since decided they don’t want, we have yet another piece of evidence that the man who billed himself as a pragmatic politician on the campaign trail is anything but.  Does he really believe that endless stumping for an overhaul of our nation’s health care system will cause Americans to change their minds and suddenly see the light, realizing they had been wrong to oppose it?

What we have seen in the year since Democrats began talking about this proposal is a near-steady increase in opposition, with only an occasional uptick in support.  And we’ve seen candidates supporting the plan — or associated with the party backing their plan– lose their bids for office.

The debate is helping energize the opposition while demoralizing Democrats–and pushing independents toward the GOP.

And yet the president presses on.  His determination should silence his left-wing critics beholden to more government-involvement in health care.  He’s fighting their battle, even if hurts his party.

He may even succeed in this, but right now he seems like the singer who won’t leave the stage even after the public has tired of his music.  He keeps on singing and singing, hoping he’ll receive once again the thunderous applause that greeted his opening number.

Athena at the Oscars

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:00 pm - March 8, 2010.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Mythology and the real world

While I understand that some in the military have been critical of the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker, I come away from that film ever in awe of the work that men in uniform have done throughout the years, whether it be Spartans holding the pass at Thermopylae so that the remaining Greek armies and navies had time to regroup or those navies and armies which fought in the battles of Salamis and Plataea respectively, conflicts that would have been decided before they were fought had Leonidas not held out as long as he had.

The men in Hurt Locker held out as best they could under very difficult circumstances and one at least Jeremy Renner‘s William James didn’t give up until the job was done, the bomb defused and lives saved.  He failed only once, but even then, he kept trying until his time ran out.  And a woman directed them, showing a greater appreciation for the meaning of manhood than perhaps anyone (I’ve encountered) since Norah Vincent wrote of her life as a man in Self-Made Man.

To some degree, Kathryn Bigelow was like the goddess Athena who spurred men on in their martial endeavors.  Each female appreciated the man of action’s struggle and wanted to see him through to completion, either victory in battle or accomplishment of the task at hand.  Wherever, wrote scholar Walter F. Otto, “in a life of action and heroism great things must be wrought, perfected and struggled for, there Athena is present.”

Just as Bigelow celebrated the type of heroes Athena honored and assisted, so did Sandra Bullock‘s Leigh Anne Tuohy provided guidance to a young man in need of direction just as did the owl-eyed Olympian. As she helped Perseus and Telemachus, she also taught Bellerophon to master the winged steed Pegasus, much as Mrs. Tuohy helped Michael Oher learn to to master his own strength and put it to good use.

In short, this year, the Academy honored two women who appreciated the best in the other sex.  That while fully conscious–and totally unashamed of their own femininity–they valued, cultivated even, sterling masculine qualities.  As did the goddess Athena.

It is striking that the first woman to win an Oscar for her achievement in directing did so while celebrating the most masculine of activities.  A lesson for those women who see the path to success in Hollywood through through denigrating men and belittling our nature.

President Obama, Who’s “Not Campaigning Anymore” Sure Looks Like He’s Campaigning

Food for thought:

Here’s the president admonishing his former electoral rival, Senator John McCain that “we’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over.”

But here he is today at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania:

Hm. Sure looks like a political campaign rally if I’ve ever seen one. So are we back to campaigning again? I sure wish the president would keep us notified as to when he changes the rules.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

What happened to the class, charm and whimsy of the up-and-coming Hollywood starlet?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:12 pm - March 8, 2010.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Random Thoughts

The real way to distinguish a great actor from a mediocre one is to watch how he (or she) wears his costume in a period piece.  If say, it looks likes he’s dressed up for a costume ball, then, well, he really can’t get into the character.  If, however, it looks like he wears a doublet and hose everyday rather than just put them on to film his scenes, then there’s a good chance he can act the part as well as wear the costume.

See for example Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons and compare him to some of the other characters.  You really believe he dresses this way everyday.

And last night, it seemed that a number of the stars at the Oscars had put on their tuxes or long dresses just for the occasion.  Well, of course, they did, but the point is to make yourself look comfortable in such formal finery.  You know, that Sean Connery/James Bond thing going where you looked comfortable (and darn good) in a tux.  Now, Meryl Streep walked with great ease in her dress, but Molly Ringwald seemed mighty stiff in hers.   My lady Sandra Bee did seem a bit stiff when he walked the red carpet in her shimmering gown, but once in the auditorium, she moved with grace and class.

The same way she spoke.

Perhaps, the most annoying thing about the Oscars last night was the number of presenters who just read their lines from the teleprompter without emotion.  (It’s why the Cameron Diaz/Steve Carell schtick was among the evening’s most entertaining.  They mocked their peers.)  You’d think other actors would try to do a little more than just read, given that, well, it’s kind of their profession to show they believe it when they speak lines others have written for them.  Instead they just phone in their presentations.  (Is is that many of them were up-and-coming movie stars, screen presences more than gifted performers?)

And some of them didn’t even turn on the charm.  Ann Althouse wrote this morning “actresses with their hard, frozen faces and their sinewy bodies encased in lavishly ruffled dresses showed that movies are no longer a source of fresh inspiration about beauty, femininity and womanhood” (commentary which when I first read it on Instapundit inspired this post).  What is it with all these hard, frozen faces, this absence of emotion, this indifference to charm? (more…)

Massa Accuses Pelosi of Health-Care Dirty Tricks…Gee, Who To Believe?

Dan blogged the other day on New York Democratic Congressman Eric Massa and the hypocricy of the gay Left in America today, concluding that:

[P]erhaps because of that all-purpose (D) after their names, they become immune to criticism from those who claim to speak for our community.

While possibly simply a lashing back, today we learn that soon to be ex possibly non-resigning Congressman Massa is accusing the Democratic leadership of bullying him out due to his “no” vote on health care and suggesting that he may take back his resignation after all. Honestly, it sounds kinda fishy. (Didn’t he say he was resigning because of his health? What? Is he suddenly feeling more spry?) On the other hand, who would put this past the Speaker and her minions?

So what side do you take? The alleged gay sex-accoster who can’t decide if he should stay or go? Or the clearly proven snake-in-the-grass Democratic leadership whose stated goal is to pass the Stalinization of Health Care Bill whether they have to pole-vault over or parachute in? With determination like that, and given she’s pretty much told her caucus to sacrifice their own jobs over it, what’s the destruction of an innocent man if it means one fewer “no” vote?

It’s hard to take sides in this one, isn’t it?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

UPDATE: Here’s something. Apparently Rahm Emanuel might be guilty of his own creepieness: Approaching other naked dudes in the Congressional Showers!

Oscars 2010: Boring, but Not Offensive

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:36 am - March 8, 2010.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Until the end of the show, I thought that this may well rank as the most boring Oscars in the history of movie awards.  And then, the Dude won, then my lady Sandra Bee, then Oscar winning Director Kathryn Bigelow made sure to thanks the troops–twice.

Well, the show may have been kind of boring, but it wasn’t offensive.  Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn resisted the impulse to make political speeches.   The (apparently) most left-leaning of the documentaries did not win an Oscar.  Al Gore was nowhere to be found.

Steve Martin was frequently funny.  Ben Stiller looked great in a Nav’i get-up.  Jeff Bridges offered a rambling, but wonderful acceptance speech–and he’s been married to the same woman for 32 years!  Sandra Bullock delivered a classy speech.

Maybe Hollywood has learned that its business is entertainment, not politics.  Though the producers of the show should have recognized that it should also be their business to entertain.