I’m currently deep into editing “Glengarry Glen Styx”. (First assemblage is done. I still have fine cutting, sound mixing and color correction ahead of me.) So, I’m going to make this quick.
THE NUCLEAR OPTION: Yes, it could wind up biting us on the ass if the GOP takes back the Senate in 2014. (So vote! You aphetic bastards! VOTE!!!!) But honestly, at the end of the day, the Senate Republicans gave Harry Reid no choice in the matter.
Reid opened debate in the morning by saying that it has become “so, so very obvious” that the Senate is broken and in need of rules reform. He rolled through a series of statistics intended to demonstrate that the level of obstruction under President Barack Obama outpaced any historical precedent.
Half the nominees filibustered in the history of the United States were blocked by Republicans during the Obama administration; of 23 district court nominees filibustered in U.S. history, 20 were Obama’s nominees; and even judges that have broad bipartisan support have had to wait nearly 100 days longer, on average, than President George W. Bush’s nominees.
You beat a dog enough, it will bite.
THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: Somewhere, Joe Lieberman and Paul Wolfowitz are crying their eyes out like a pair of old spinsters watching “Steel Magnolias”. The rest of us can breathe a sigh of relief that another war in the Middle East doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Dr. Juan Cole has an excellent overview to the history of the U.S. and Iran that led to this moment. But this moment of history saved from the memory hole is worth meditating over.
The irony is that in early 2003, the reformist Iranian government of then-President Mohammad Khatami had sent over to the US a wide-ranging proposal for peace. After all, Baathist Iraq was Iran’s deadliest enemy. It had invaded Iran in 1980 and fought an 8-year aggressive war in hopes of taking Iranian territory and stealing its oil resources. Now the US was about to overthrow Iran’s nemesis. Wouldn’t it make sense for Washington and Tehran to ally? Khatami put everything on the table, even an end to hostilities with Israel.
The Neoconservatives threw the Iranian proposal in the trash heap and mobilized to make sure there was no rapprochement with Iran. David Frum, Bush’s speech-writer, consulted with eminence grise Richard Perle (then on a Pentagon oversight board) and Irv Lewis “Scooter” Libby (vice presidential felon Richard Bruce Cheney’s chief of staff), and they had already inserted into Bush’s 2002 State of the Union speech the phrase the “axis of evil,” grouping Iran with Iraq and North Korea. Iran had had sympathy demonstrations for the US after 9/11, and, being a Shiite power, feared and hated al-Qaeda (Sunni extremists) as much as Washington did. But the Neoconservatives did not want a US-Iran alliance against al-Qaeda or against Saddam Hussein. Being diplomatic serial killers, they saw Iran rather as their next victim.
The next time some jackass asks you if you miss Bush 43, feel free to hogtie him and tattoo the above paragraphs on his forehead.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD:
Amazing the difference “Avengers” money can make.
As good as the first “Thor” film was, (Hi Zack! “Waves”.) it did feel that at some point in pre-production, some Marvel bean counters had the following conversation.
“Can we cut back on the Asgard stuff?”
“You kidding, the hard core fans would murder us. What about Earth?”
“Let me think…how about instead of a city, we make it a small town in New Mexico? Save us millions.”
“Make it out of balsa wood, we’ll save tens of millions!”
“Brilliant! Oh, by the way, I got this invoice from Joss Whedon for a Thai Foot Massage. Which one of us is gonna pick it up?”
“(Sigh.) I’ll Roshambo you for it.”
This time around, we get to see whole chunks of the Nine Realms, one or two really huge battles and a finale that’s something Buster Keaton might have devised if he lived long enough to write superhero movies. All the while giving Hensworth, Huddleson and Portman enough material to sink their thespian teeth into.
(There is a longish post to be written about how Marvel in building it’s cross movie continunity is also creating the biggest and most star studded stock company since the demise of the studio system. But not right now.)
Anyway, between this and “Iron Man III”, Marvel’s phase two seems to be shaping up nicely.
Now if they could just do something about “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” which despite improving with each episode is really trying my damned patience. Seriously, I’m sick of hearing how Tahiti is a magical place. LET’S PICK UP THE PACE PEOPLE!!!!