Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I was reading an article in The Huffington Post the other day. They said something that I've been thinking for a long time regarding the President's fight for health care. "No. Maybe he can't."
I don't know if it's maybe he can't. I don't know if it's maybe he won't. I just don't know. That's it. Period. Full stop.
It's like Obama said,
"And it may be that ... if Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not," the president said. "And that's how democracy works. There will be elections coming up, and they'll be able to make a determination and register their concerns."
I just don't know how much longer I can't put the blame on Congress. Or if by this point I can even point a finger at Congress.
"'The next step is what I announced at the State of the Union, which is to call on our Republican friends to present their ideas. What I'd like to do is have a meeting whereby I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health care experts, and let's just go through these bills. ... And then I think that we've got to go ahead and move forward on a vote. Obama said Thursday shortly after a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders that produced no apparent progress on health care.
"I think we should be very deliberate, take our time. We're going to be moving a jobs package forward over the next several weeks; that's the thing that's most urgent right now in the minds of Americans all across the country.
"Here's the key, is to not let the moment slip away."
But you did, Mr. President. You did.
From the first moment he gave us a vague outline of what he wanted and then simply passed it off to Congress and said, 'You do it,' it almost seemed to be a novice move. Congress has no guts to act unless pushed into a corner. And the President seems to know how to speak softly, but he simply doesn't carry that big stick.
Many pieces of major legislation that passed in our country over the years seems to have been passed by Presidential strong-arming to some extent.
LBJ didn't get Voting Rights Act and Medicare passed by shifting it over to Congress with a 'Here's what I'd like to see - please make it so,' attitude. He got in the face of every congressman (sometimes quite literally so) who was on the fence and pulled them over to his side.
Truman didn't ask for the okay of the military and Congress to integrate the military. He picked up a pen and signed Executive Order 9981. The last time we dealt with gays in the military, we passed it off to Congress. and the military. We got 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'
And as for President Franklin Roosevelt,
"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace, business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred."
(Got the hint?)
The President wanted a bill by last August, and when last August came the bill still looked a long way off. Why did he let them go off on August recess after saying that he wanted the bill by August? There was some ridiculous call for bipartisanship at all times. At all times it was the same talking point. In my ears I just kept hearing, "Please sir, may I have some more?" But, damn it, there are times that you grab the ladle and serve it up for yourself. Or, for that matter, taking the whole kettle and serving everybody who truly does need it more.
"Rank-and-file Democrats are eager for their leaders to settle on a strategy by the end of next week, after which lawmakers will return to their states for a weeklong recess during which they're sure to face questions from constituents. The health legislation has become unpopular with voters and a political drag in a midterm election year."
It's a drag because, as it says, "Rank-and-file Democrats are eager for their leaders to settle on a strategy...." We all are. The strategy is there. We all know it. We've all heard about it. But, Congress doesn't seem to have the fortitude and there really doesn't seem to be much push from the inside.
"Ralph Neas of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care issued a stern warning to the White House after learning of Obama's remarks.
'The time has come for more forceful presidential leadership,' Neas said. Obama must explain more clearly how his health care provisions would help average Americans and must give clearer guidance to Congress, he said."
"I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last." Remember when he said that?
My great fear is that this might turn out to be an ironically dark statement.
Yet, I digress...
"Shutter Island" is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane. --© Paramount
I love Scorsese. I really do. I think I've seen only one or two films that were somewhat iffy on his part. But even his iffy films are better than your average films out there. I guess it just because I'm ranking it along with his other films. I mean, hell, how can you deny the power of a Goodfellas, or - dare I say (Dare! Dare!) - Taxi Driver?
In terms of this film in comparison to the others, it's good. Not great. Not bad. But good.
I went to see it mostly for Scorsese. It has one of the actors that I consider nails on the chalkboard of life: Leonardo DiCaprio. This guy, besides being a mediocre actor, can't pull off an accent to save his life. I wasn't quite sure if he was from Bastin, or Noo Yoahk. That bugged me throughout the movie. Or maybe it was just because I don't like him that I'm pressing the point - but even so...
I was deeply interested in seeing the film because I was confused by the trailer. The preview makes it look like this is going to be a "BOO!" film. Y'know, the kind of film where half of the time things jump out at you, and that's the whole selling point. See, I was confused because Scosese has never done a "BOO!" film and was wondering how he was going to pull this one off.
Well, thank gawd, it wasn't like that at all. That was all the studio promotion people's idea. What a bunch of idiots! I can't stand it when they can't use their brains to figure out how to actually sell the movie for what it is - a strange suspense film.
Okay, about the film itself...
As you watch, you're never quite sure what the film is about. And that's the point of the film.
Are they looking for the woman who disappeared? What is her real importance? Is he looking for the firebug who killed his wife? Was the guy actually double-crossed and sent to the institution by accident or on purpose? What about the doctors?
That's the whole film. It is a giant mind-fuck. Who is telling the truth? Who is evil? Who is crazy?
It all rolls around and around. Even at the very end you've got it. Or do you?
That's the beauty of this film. That's the Scorsese I love.
The popcorn was good, but a little too light on the butter. But they had Mr. Pibb to make up for the difference.
If you've forgotten, this is how I rate my films:
Is it worth paying for to see it as a matinee?
Is it worth paying the extra ump-teen bucks to see it as at night?
What about at the drive-in?
(The drive-in?!? Yes, the drive-in. Because there are movies that are iffy at matinees, iffy to no way at the evening showing, but they're woth seeing at the drive-in. Think about it. The film "XXX" with Vin Diesel... It's hardly worth seeing at the matinee. Not even close to be worth seeing at night. But at the drive-in, with a box of stale popcorn, a coke, maybe even a scary burger... Sound coming through your radio, and being able to talk in a normal voice... Getting some of the night air... It can make some bad movies seem decent, and a decent movie look good.)
I'd rank this film:
Matinee - Yes
Evening - Sure, why not.
Drive In - You bet your ass!