Breitbart Mentality

Number 5

No secret. I subscribe to the Breitbart News email feed. It’s a boundless source for anybody wanting to probe far-right thinking, and I have long since ceased to be amazed. Here’s something recent:

Sarah Palin, Loyal Running Mate, Excluded from John McCain’s Funeral

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) running mate in the 2008 presidential election, has been excluded from his funeral.

Breitbart News has independently confirmed an earlier report in People magazine, which reported that Palin was not sent an invitation and was told through intermediaries to stay away from the ceremony.

McCain fundraiser Carla Eudy confirmed to People that Palin had not been invited — possibly, People speculated, at the behest of the McCain family.

The news comes on the tenth anniversary of the date in 2008 when Palin was announced as McCain’s pick for vice president.

Palin now joins President Donald Trump on the list of those barred from the funeral.

Now, that’s an interesting bit of news. The former governor, who ten years ago stood with candidate John McCain on the podium at the Republican national convention, is now dis-invited to the late senator’s closing ceremony. I feel the need to confirm this information. Ouch! Even Fox News is confirming the story.

So, like me, you are wondering how this came about. Then I remembered. Oh, yeah. Were it not for Governor Palin, John McCain would now be the late President McCain. Somebody, I’m not naming names, suggested to candidate McCain in the summer of 2008 that Palin would provide the perfect balance to McCain’s not as far right as Attila the Hun political position. Whoever it was, they figured that with Palin’s appeal to the Party’s lunatic fringe, John McCain would be a shoe-in to trounce left-leaning black candidate Barack Obama. Then Palin opened her mouth:

1. “As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border.” –Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008 (Watch video clip)

2. “Mr. President, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.” –Sarah Palin, on how President Obama should deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, CPAC speech, March 8, 2014

3. “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.” –-Sarah Palin, in a message posted on Facebook about Obama’s health care plan, Aug. 7, 2009

4. “All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008 (Watch video clip)

5. “Well, let’s see.

There’s ― of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ―” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008

6. “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'” –a Tweet sent by Sarah Palin in response to being ridiculed for inventing the word “refudiate,” proudly mistaking her illiteracy for literary genius, July 18, 2010

7. “He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” –Sarah Palin, botching the history of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, June 3, 2011

8. “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.” –Sarah Palin, after being asked how she would handle the current hostilities between the two Koreas, interview on Glenn Beck’s radio show, Nov. 24, 2010

9. “We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” –Sarah Palin, admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada’s single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010

10. “Ohh, good, thank you, yes.” –Sarah Palin, after a notorious Canadian prank caller, posing as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, complimented her on the documentary about her life, Hustler’s “Nailin Paylin,” Nov. 1, 2008 (Read more about the prank call, watch the video and see the transcript)

I will admit that some of the above came out of the fountain of wisdom after the deed was done, longer after John McCain’s political future sank into the deep blue. But there is something to be said for momentum. In any event, I get the idea that some started to wonder, if candidate John McCain signed off on this political fiasco, then what would President McCain be likely to sign off on when sitting in the Oval Office. May have scared the bejeebies out of a bunch of people, including some Republicans.

A full reading of the item does not reveal any recrimination against what would appear to be a personal slight. This could be one of those cases of Breitbart’s straight reporting a news item. What I’m making a fuss over is the deep irony bleeding from this episode. Palin, ten years ago, appeared to crystallize America’s alt-right, culminating in the political carnival we find ourselves in today. It’s possible that without Palin, Donald Trump would be yet another washed-up reality TV star. I would even venture that the Palin phenomenon created the resonance that morphed into Breitbart News. She became the kernel of Breitbart mentality.

Full disclosure: I was also excluded from the invitation list, but I am not taking it personally.

This is your President speaking.

Number 139

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!

It’s amazing what the president is telling us. It makes us wonder where all this hatred and agenda are coming from.

Some day we will figure it out.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 125

Screen shots are from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, streaming on Hulu 23 August 2018.

Remember gun rights advocates, the reason you need to have a handgun is for your personal protection and for the protection of your family. These random shootings, these untimely deaths—it’s not supposed to work that way. Excepted that it does. A lot:

2 sought in mystery shooting at Upper East Side building from across East River

Bullets pierced glass windows at apartments inside One East River Place, a 50-unit high-rise located at 525 East 72nd Street, on two separate occasions.

Hey! Nobody injured. Nobody killed. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right? Actually, no. The way it’s supposed to be is that citizens are supposed to have access to arms in the event they are called out for a well regulated militia.

But, you say, this business in New York, that’s not any of my doing. I’m a responsible gun owner, and I never point my gun at anything I do not intend to kill. Then good for you. You are not responsible for multiple shots being fired into the windows of apartments were people were living. All you did was to support politicians who promised to continue to keep easy access to deadly weapons legal. And it was your constitutional right to do so.

Please note, these shots were from a handgun.

So, your conscience clear. You are now able to sleep, secure in the knowledge you have done nothing wrong. All except the part about secure sleep.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This came out in 1984, and I didn’t catch it in the theaters. It ran on HBO, back when I had cable TV in Dallas, and I never got to watch it again. Since I signed up for streaming video I’ve been waiting for it to pop up, and there it was this morning, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, where I obtained these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

It’s Runaway, starring Tom Selleck as Sergeant Jack R. Ramsay of some police department in the future. He’s part of a unit assigned to handle cases of runaway robots, hence the title. This is a time when we have turned critical, and not so critical, aspects of our work and our lives over to robots, more properly called automatons. As luck would have it for the sake of the plot, these robots sometimes go haywire, and the police need to be called in to corral them. We see Ramsay getting a new partner. She’s Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes), fresh from the traffic division, and is she ever good looking.

Immediately the two are directed to helicopter out to a cornfield where a robot has run amuck among the rows. This movie is beginning to look like a comedy, as Officer Thompson plunges into the corn and snares the miscreant machine, right before its circuits blow in a fiery display.

Then the plot turns serious, as Ramsay and Thompson are called to a residence where a domestic servant robot has murdered two family members and is inside the house holding off the police with a pistol. More people die, as a cowboy news cinematographer follows Ramsay into the house and gets killed by the robot.

Investigation reveals the robot was altered, and the altering was done by the man of the house, a Mr. David Johnson (Chris Mulkey), who works for a high-tech company. Meanwhile, Thompson visits Ramsay at home, presenting us with this cute domestic scene with widower Ramsay, his son Bobby (Joey Cramer), and the new woman in Jack’s life.

Apparently in this modern age it is illegal to modify a robot without authorization, and Johnson goes on the run. Ramsay chases him down, but another person, Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons), cannot have Johnson telling what he knows. Luther unleashes a guided bullet at Johnson, which follows him down alleys and around corners before making a turn-around and impacting with an explosive charge. This is getting serious. Some crooks have devised a new generation sinister weapon, and the police need to put the kibosh on the operation.

Jack and his partner make a call on the tech company, and while they are there they take another runaway assignment, inside the company. Luther’s secretary (and girlfriend) Jackie Rogers (Kirstie Alley) is trapped on her desk by a security robot that keeps zapping her when she tries to leave.

Ramsay destroys the robot, rescues the comely Ms. Rogers, and gets out of her that Luther is behind the scheme to develop the deadly technology. That leads Ramsay and Thompson to track down Luther, and they sneak into where Luther’s gang is holed up. This gives the producers the opportunity to spice up the video with some gratuitous nudity.

But the bust goes wrong, and Luther points a gun at Jackie’s head, and makes his escape. Thompson is wounded, and two other cops are killed. Also Luther’s two Italian mobster friends.

The microchips required for the smart weapon have been encoded onto templates, preparatory to producing them on an industrial scale. The police come out of the fracas with the templates.  Ramsay uses Jackie as bait, and they lure Luther after them on the freeway. Luther unleashes a succession of surface-skimming robots, armed with bombs. Ramsay and Thomson defeat the scheme by decoying the robots with an empty, self-driving, police car.

But Luther is ahead of the game, having planted an undetected tracking device on Jackie. At an arranged meeting Luther grabs Thompson, and agrees to exchange her for Jackie and the templates. He gets only half of the templates, and he murders Jackie and escapes.

Next he kidnaps Bobby, and he arranges for Ramsay to meet him in the upper levels of a high rise under construction. This is ideal for Luther, since Ramsay has a deathly fear of heights. At the site Luther deploys his own invention, mechanized spiders that track down their prey and inject poison into them before exploding. The spiders have been programmed to attack the first person who comes down from the building.

Of course there is a mighty struggle, and Ramsay kicks Luther off the elevator right before it reaches ground level. The spiders attack.

Ramsay and Thomson are going to get it together.

The story is by Michael Crichton,, who also directed, and it’s a fairly lame science fiction plot. The robots are totally unrealistic, for one. We see an agricultural robot, whose sole task appears to be to travel among rows of corn and pick off insects. And this robot is going to run amok and start charging through the field, mowing down rows of corn? The reality is we have modern robots that work to make our lives easier. I have a clothes washer with a computer inside that lets me select from a menu of wash processes. It automatically detects the load level and recommends the amount of detergent to add. Similarly for my clothes dryer and my dishwasher. These robots just work, and when they fail they just stop working. We don’t have to call the police to run them down.

People watching this may be reminded of our current fascination with self-driving cars. This parallels the plot of this movie—turning over to machines the responsibility of getting passengers safely to their destinations and avoiding accidents on public roads. The salient failure mode of these cars is that there is a traffic accident, and we are then faced with determining who was responsible, the non-driver or the software engineer. Some people need to watch the movie.

Tom Selleck rose to fame playing the title role in Magnum, P.I. . We previously saw him in Three Men and a Baby.

Moral Bankruptcy

Number 2 of a Series

Here are a few words from that paragon of Christian morality, Franklin Graham:

Everyone in the media is talking about the just-released tape & what the President said or didn’t say, what he meant or didn’t mean. It is a good moment to point out that everyone should realize that every word that is spoken or thought is recorded by God. 1/3

Here’s a sober warning from God’s Word, “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, & what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3). 2/3

The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die & then the judgment. We won’t be judged by media spin masters or forensic audio analysts, but you will be judged by truth & righteousness—by God Himself. Have you ever thought about what His verdict will be on your words? 3/3

We can all enjoy the language invoking “media spin masters or forensic audio analysts.” That’s powerful use of the English language. What is more powerful are the bare facts.

These are screen shots from ABC news streaming on Hulu. There are more.

At what point do I need to stop posting these because the Reverend Graham has become too embarrassed. Apparently at no point. What is apparent for all to see is the moral bankruptcy of self-appointed moral leadership. It is a leadership that is running on empty.

Dying to Believe

Number 120 in a series

Just a friendly reminder: don’t believe all that stuff you read in the Bible. That is, unless you are looking for an early exit:

Watch: Rattlesnake attacks Christian conservative pastor who thought Jesus would ‘save him’

In Middlesboro, Kentucky, a pastor was seen collapsing to the ground after he was bitten by a rattlesnake in front of his congregation.

Back in 2014, the pastor’s father had also died within seven minutes after being bitten by a rattlesnake at the same church.

The church is inspired by Mark 16:18 that reads, “They will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.”

Listen to Jesus if you want, but there is no getting around hard chemical and biological reality.

This is your President speaking.

Number 138

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Over 90% approval rating for your all time favorite (I hope) President within the Republican Party and 52% overall. This despite all of the made up stories by the Fake News Media trying endlessly to make me look as bad and evil as possible. Look at the real villains please!

Yes, please look over there. But where? When we looked over there we found this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpIfLRqz0bg

Screen shot from CNN on YouTube

That will about do it for the “fake news” bit.

People Unclear

This is number 48 of a series

I posted another of these yesterday. It’s from an email, the kind of which I receive regularly, since I sign up for these lists. The other was purported to be from Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States, although we need not believe Mrs. Trump was the actual author. This latest listed the sender as Lara Trump. She is the wife of Eric Trump, son of the president. We suspect she is a Republican, and we further suspect she is not the actual sender. Campaigns of both species send out solicitations of this sort with headings representing people it is believed we will respond to. Anyhow, Mrs. Trump addressed me by my first name, and I am honored.

John,

That’s what CNN said about being at a Trump rally in Florida…

I have some breaking news for CNN… That is the real America that exists outside of the liberal bubble.

It’s time for us to give the media another wake-up call from the American people.

The President needs you to take the Media Accountability Survey to do your part in fighting back against the fake news’ attacks and bias against hardworking Americans.

The opening line refers to a headline immediately above that:

“It felt like we weren’t in America anymore…”

To summarize, this is what a reporter attending a Trump rally reported back. He reported that being there had the feel for not being in America. Mrs. Trump wants us to know that what CNN saw at the rally is the real America and that what CNN (and others besides Fox & Friends, etc.) are experiencing is from inside a bubble of their own making. And this is so interesting. To further explore, allow me to illustrate what you are likely to experience if you are in the real world and not at a Trump rally. Here are some screen shots from various news sources, and please feel free to bang back at me if these do not reflect the real America as I understand they do.

It could be I’m beating a dead horse, so I will ease off while readers still have their dinners. At any rate, somebody, after all of this, is still unclear, and Lara Trump needs to come to grips while there is still time.

This is your President speaking.

Number 137

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

“The FBI only looked at 3000 of 675,000 Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails.” They purposely didn’t look at the disasters. This news is just out.

Students, today we will study a classic rhetorical device that I like to call, “Hey! Look over there.”

Quiz Question

Here’s another from Martin Gardner. You can purchase the book and look up the answer, or you can (preferred) work this one yourself.

A SQUARE FORMATION of Army cadets, 50 feet on the side, is marching forward at a constant pace. The company mascot, a small terrier, starts at the center of the rear rank [position A in the illustration], trots forward in a straight line to the center of the front rank [position B], then trots back again in a straight line to the center of the rear. At the instant he returns to position A, the cadets have advanced exactly 50 feet. Assuming that the dog trots at a constant speed and loses no time in turning, how many feet does he travel?

Post your answer in the comments section below.

People Unclear

This is number 47 of a series

Did I mention that I signed up for any number of odd-ball email lists? I’m sure I did. Anyhow, I get them—emails of the most bizarre kind. A few hours ago one hit my in-box that rattled my cage more than usually. By the return address it’s from the Republican National Campaign Headquarters (rnchq.com). The “sender” was filled in as “Melania Trump,” but I am sure Mrs. Trump did not personally hit the send key and likely has no direct knowledge that this was sent. Campaigns work that way. Solicitations are sent out over a variety of signatures with an eye to attracting the attention of recipients. Anyhow, this one reads:

John,
From the moment my husband, Donald, placed his hand on the bible and took the oath of office to serve as America’s President, he has worked nonstop to deliver on his promises.

Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.

That is why I am asking that you join my husband as he fights for our nation by signing your Presidential Pledge of Support.

I find that bit of addressing me by my first name most compelling. Knowing that the First Lady of the United States knows my name gives me a special feeling. I won’t describe it.

But that’s not what makes this worth mentioning. What does so is this: “Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.” Yeah, that gets my attention.

I will pretend for a moment that Melania Trump (not actually knowing my first name) sent me this note, and then I have to observe that she is totally unclear on some critical details. Then I have to respond.

Lady, are you out of your mind? Look around. The leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

[With apologies to Paul Simon]

Somebody’s world is coming apart at the seams, and if you haven’t yet noticed, then it’s time for you to start looking for lifeboat. As a reminder, here’s what the fake news was putting out last week.

  • Monday—not much
  • Tuesday—Paul Manafort, your husband’s former campaign manager, was convicted of eight felony crimes, and Michael Cohen, your husbands former attorney/fixer, pleaded guilty to felony crimes and threw in his lot with the prosecutors.
  • Wednesday—not much
  • Thursday—David Pecker, your husband’s partner in crime, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • Friday—Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of your husband’s business operation, agreed to accept immunity from prosecution and to give evidence against the president.

You husband, Donald J. Trump, has long engaged in various criminal schemes, including operating a fraudulent university and operating a fraudulent charity, and the prosecutors are coming after him. And you have the temerity to tell me the news is fake? Totally unclear. Mrs. Trump, you need to stand back. Sometimes this stuff rubs off.

Moral Bankruptcy

The Beginning of a New Series

If you want to find God you need go no further than 1707 San Jacinto Street in Dallas, Texas. That’s where you will find that bastion of Christianity presided over by Dr. Robert Jeffress—the First Baptist Church of Dallas. And what a monument to higher power it is. Founded 30 July 1868, its membership reported two years ago is approximately 12,000. I lived in Dallas many years and always knew this church as the go-to place for the city’s movers and shakers. Sunday attendance is massive, and what a congregation it is. From the church Web site:

There can be little doubt this institution embodies all we come to think of regarding morality, faith, wealth, and power. Except for the part about morality. The back story shows that “morality” is difficult to pin down.

W. A. Criswell, in a discussion of racial integration, stated that he expressed astonishment at the cowardice of ministers “whose forebears [sic] and predecessors were martyrs and were burned at the stake”, but who themselves refuse to speak up about “this thing of integration”. True ministers, he argued, must passionately resist government mandated desegregation because it is “a denial of all that we believe in”.

Current pastor Jeffress has spoken out in the past against MuslimsJewsCatholicsMormons and homosexuals, claiming that Islam “promoted pedophilia“. In 2008, Jeffress, in his sermon “Gay Is Not OK”, stated that “What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease.” In September 2010, Pastor Jeffress branded Islam as an “evil, evil religion”. And in December 2010, Jeffress established a “Naughty and Nice List” where businesses are identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas, saying “I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday.” Also in 2010, he referred to Roman Catholicism as a “Satanic” result of “Babylonian mystery religion”. In October 2011 at the Values Voter Summit, Jeffress branded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as “a cult”. He received widespread criticism for his statement, but has not retracted it despite then U.S. presidential candidate and LDS church member Mitt Romney‘s request for him to do so.

Yeah, not a train load of brotherly love going to waste here. I recall those years when W. A. Criswell was the man. He is credited with building the church to its current greatness and apparently with setting its current tone. What an honor it was to view this spectacle from a distance. Now it’s time to take a long view.

Since I retired it became my job to sign up for email from the likes of Pastor Robert Jeffress, and there has been no shortage of fascinating stuff landing in my in-box. A recurring theme is selling salvation.

So, enough of that. I know that a church, any church, cannot live off of air. There has got to be a source of income. With a reported net worth of $15 million, Pastor Jeffress far outstrips my personal fortune (shared with Barbara Jean), and we all know God does not pay his shepherds out of pocket. But God is for sale. That given, what follows?

How about concern for basic humanity? Not so much, as evidenced by the company he keeps. In this analysis we should distinguish Pastor Jeffress from his predecessor, W.A. Criswell:

Criswell did not mince words. He railed against both the National Council of Churches and the NAACP as those “two-by scathing, good-for-nothing fellows who are trying to upset all of the things that we love as good old Southern people and as good old Southern Baptists.”

He even used racist humor to make his points: “Why the NAACP has got those East Texans on the run so much that they dare not pronounce the word chigger any longer. It has to be cheegro.”

Criswell saw integration an attack on both state rights and democracy by carpetbaggers. Even more so, it was a blow to Southern Baptist religious liberty: Churches had the right and the responsibility to keep their congregations segregated.

To his credit, Pastor Jeffress adopts a more civilized tone. I do not, however, see him seeking the company of moral icons. See the following images from my in-box.

Yeah, Pastor Jeffress is a great fan of Fox News and President Donald Trump. The allegiance is reciprocated. An important note from the the above is worth digesting: “Donald Trump may be the most faith-friendly president in history…” The note also mentions Jeffress’ role in the Trump inauguration. When your definition of faith falls to this level the evidence accumulates rapidly:

Pastor Jeffress’ definition of morality is one I never encountered in my growing up. From where I view his claims of morality, Pastor Jeffress is running on empty.

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 234 of a series

This week’s bad movie is a sequel to last week’s, so I’m not going to recap the plot. Suffice it to say it’s the same story.

  • The shark attacks.
  • People are unaware at first.
  • People become aware after several have been eaten.
  • There is a plot to kill the shark.
  • Human fallibility wins out, and others get eaten.
  • The shark is killed.

It’s Jaws 3 from 1983, starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. There are others listed, but Quaid an Gossett are the only two having something approaching stardom. This is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, where I obtained the screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

And, there’s water. There’s always water in theses shark movies, because you need sharks, which live in water, and you need bikini-clad damsels, who sometimes go in the water. We see a newly inaugurated water park, which I presume is in Florida, and they are putting on a great show featuring water skiers building human pyramids.

Danger lurks. Cue that John Williams score.

Gossett is Calvin Bouchard, in charge of the operation. Of course he’s concerned about profits, because all these shark movies are about profits before public safety. He watches the water. For what reason is never explained, because he never spots anything.

But somebody does spot the shark trolling the water beauties, and there is a mad scramble to get everybody out of the water. Bad business for a water park.

Quaid is Mike Brody and John Putch is his brother Sean, survivors of the shark attack in the previous movie.

The water park features an “enclosed” lagoon. I put “enclosed” in quotes, because the shark penetrates the enclosure and begins to pick off victims, starting with a luckless diver sent down to repair the protective gate in the middle of the night, all alone. Reality check. This appears to be something professional divers never do.

The park also features an underwater section, essentially a tunnel (tube) laid along the bottom of the lagoon and featuring large windows that allow visitors to view nature up close. This works fine until the shark plows into the tube wall, starting a leak, causing the safety doors to close, trapping a number of visitors as water rises chest high.

Yes, they do repair the leak, and, yes, the trapped visitors are freed, but the shark is not finished. As Sean and his true love (Bess Armstrong as Kathryn “Kay” Morgan) gather in the control room to watch, the shark attacks the viewing window. The control room is under water in the lagoon. The window caves in, water plus shark enter the control room, the shark eats. Only Sean and Bess survive.

This is not one of Quaid’s best performances. Neither is it Gossett’s. The remainder of the cast appear straight out of summer stock. The previous year Gossett was Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman, for which he picked up an Oscar. I first caught Quaid in Breaking Away,, a film about bicycle racing and coming of age. I continually hunt for a copy to review. The same year this came out he was astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff.

There is a glaring technical glitch in the plot with the underwater viewing tunnel. In the movie it is depicted as having emergency doors that seal off sections in case of flooding. Absolutely wrong. No engineer would ever sign off on such a thing for reasons demonstrated in the story. The world has multitudes of underwater tunnels, and none have provision for sealing people inside. The writers created this device to add suspense and also to chew up some celluloid, allowing the movie to be stretched to 99 minutes, which is mercifully short.

Oh, Jesus! There is yet another sequel. It’s Jaws: The Revenge, and there will be a review if I can lay my fingers on a copy and if $50,000 in unmarked bills is not left on my front doorstep beforehand. In the meantime, please enjoy Sharknado. And yes, you are welcome.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

The workaholic husband was trying to appease his wife, who was infuriated about how little time he spent at home.

“Nothing’s too good for you, Louise,” he begged. “How about a new Cuisinart?”

She shook her head.

“A mink? Floor length this time?”

Her pout deepened.

“A two-week Caribbean cruise?”

She shook her head more vehemently.

“A ski chalet? Or maybe a place on the beach?”

Still no.

“So, what do you want, Louise?” asked the frustrated husband.

“A divorce.”

“Gee, I wasn’t planning to spend that much,” he admitted.

This is your President speaking.

Number 136

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

“Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr……

….FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier, the Clinton Foundation, illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign, Russian collusion by Dems – and so much more. Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

David Pecker, Chief of National Enquirer’s Publisher, Is Said to Get Immunity in Trump Inquiry

By Jim RutenbergRebecca R. Ruiz and Ben Protess

Federal prosecutors reached an immunity deal with the tabloid executive David J. Pecker, a key witness in their monthslong investigation into payments during the 2016 campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Donald J. Trump, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Pecker is the chairman of American Media Inc., the nation’s biggest tabloid news publisher, which was involved in the payments, which prosecutors have identified as illegal contributions made in violation of campaign finance law.

As prosecutors in New York built a case against Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer, that resulted in a guilty plea on Tuesday, Mr. Pecker emerged as an important figure. The investigation appears to be continuing, and as a longtime friend and ally of Mr. Trump, Mr. Pecker could have additional information valuable to the prosecutors.

Mr. Trump, say goodbye now.

The Government You Paid For

Number 43 of a Series

American conservatives are hurting, and they are ducking for cover and lowering their faces. Embarrassment seems to come unbidden to some, and excuses stand in for apologies. I see this in daily headlines and in the revealing posts on Facebook. To wit:

Here in lies the problem, this headline would never have existed during the era of Walter Cronkite. The media should not be rejoicing at the results.

I am tired of partisanship on both sides. Truly tired of it, because it does nothing but divide the nation. It leads to kneejerk defenses of Trump and kneejerk condemnations of Trump.
I once challenged my Democratic friends to say something good about the President, not one did. I once challenged my Republican friends the same thing about Obama, not one did.

I can tell you many good things about Obama and many things that I disliked. It’s not hard when one focuses on results and principles versus politics.

Here is a real secret, having worked inside on politics for years, none of those that you love so much give a damn about you personally. They use you. Secretly on both sides, they despise the most partisan and view them as foolish and/or annoyances.

Why? Because nothing gets accomplished by ideologues.

https://www.msn.com/…/stranger-than-fiction-jou…/ar-BBMgH1o

“It does nothing but divide the nation.”

What a pathetic pleading. My response to this was and is:

If the nation is to be divided, let it be divided along these lines. There are ignoramuses who put one of their own in power, and I am having a joyful time watching these people stew in their own juices. They are getting the government they paid for.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 125

Not only does having a handgun in your home provide you with a greater sense of security, it’s also an invaluable convenience when it comes to those matters that cannot be resolved through thoughtful conversation or, in extreme circumstances, through the courts. Bang bang, the matter is settled, with a certain degree of finality:

Peoria girl, 12, finds mother shot; father suspected in attack

Of course, there remain a few loose ends to tie off, but at least those can be resolved through the courts.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This one actually took me by surprise. The name kept popping up, more recently on Hulu, where it’s streaming and from where I obtained these screen shots. From 1996 it’s The Rock, and I decided to give it a look. Burned through 136 minutes. Whew!

Title credits are impressive:

  • Sean Connery as Captain John Patrick Mason, Special Air Service (Rtd.)
  • Nicolas Cage as FBI Special Agent Dr. Stanley Goodspeed
  • Ed Harris as Brigadier General Francis X. “Frank” Hummel, USMC Force Recon
  • John Spencer as FBI Director James Womack

My expectations soared.

Background to the sequence depicts tense radio traffic as a mission goes badly and people get left behind. Apparently that is ancient history and sets up the plot theme. Action begins in the rain in a cemetery as General Hummel, all alone, converses with his wife’s grave. He begs for forgiveness for what he is about to do, and he leaves his Medal of Honor on the headstone.

Back at FBI headquarters somewhere Dr. Goodspeed’s workday boredom is punctuated by an emergency arising out of a suspicious crate. He and an associate, new to the job, don protective suits and enter a sealed area to unpack. It turns out to be a trap, releasing deadly gas and initiating the timer of an explosive device. Goodspeed, cool to the core, defuses the device and saves everybody plus the remainder of the movie plot.

Back with his girlfriend later he speaks of a rough day at work. She has more bad (and good) news. She’s pregnant.

Meanwhile Hummel has recruited a cadre of Marine professionals, and they assault a weapons depot, making off with 15 armed chemical weapon missiles. They intended for 16, but an accident activates one, and the team loses a member trapped inside the sealed magazine with the poison gas.

We next see them at Alcatraz Island, where they interrupt a tour group and take hostages. Alcatraz, originally a Civil War fort, is affectionately known as The Rock, hence the movie title.

The renegades demand $100 million ransom, to be used to indemnify the sacrificed troops previously mentioned and also to pay $1 million to each of the group. Else the missiles will be launched, blanketing San Francisco and bringing about nearly total annihilation. The deadline is set at 48 hours.

The feds figure they need to act quickly and decisively, and Director Womack pulls out an ace he’s been keeping in the hole for decades. It’s Mason, who previously stole microfilm chronicling this country’s deadly misdeeds from three decades previously. Mason has been languishing in a federal lockup pending his disclosure of the whereabouts of the sacred film. In that time his foliage has grown impressively. Mason is the only person known for sure to have escaped from The Rock, and Womack intends to use his expertise to reverse the escape and to infiltrate the former prison.

The bargain is struck, and the government promises a full pardon. Womack tears up the paper after Mason hands it over, and Mason is pulled out to a luxurious hotel suite in San Francisco.

But he does it again. Mason escapes from captivity and leads Agent Goodspeed and otherd in a wild chase, setting the theme for the remainder of the movie. Nothing but impressive FX and lots of lead flying.

Yes, Goodspeed, with Mason and a team of Navy Seals, steals into an underwater entrance and penetrates the fortress. But a trap set up by the renegades leads to a horrific firefight that leaves all the government forces dead, except for Goodspeed and Mason. And the plot waxes even more bizarre. Here the two, desperately eluding their pursuers in the labyrinth beneath the prison, recapitulate the runaway mine car sequence from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Goodspeed manages to disable all but three of the missiles. One is fired at the city, but Hummel deflects it. He has no inclination to become a mass murderer. It’s all a bluff. Onshore, the feds, believing all is lost, revert to Plan B. It’s to be an attack by F/A-18 fighters launching thermite plasma bombs on the island, sure to blanket the area and obliterate the chemical agent. Also all living things, including the hostages. We are treated to some great footage, possibly CGI, of a flight of fighters skimming the surface beneath the Golden Gate bridge.

But Goodspeed neutralizes the remaining missiles and eliminates the last of the renegade Marines, and he gets off two green smoke flares, signaling that all is clear. Too late, a thermite bomb is launched, but it strikes a remote part of the island, doing no damage.

Goodspeed lies and claims the bomb vaporized Mason, who escapes the island using SCUBA gear left over from the raid. Goodspeed retains a note from Mason, detailing the location of the microfilm. The movie ends with Goodspeed and his new bride stealing the film from the country Iowa church where they just got married and where Mason had left the film in hiding. As his sweetheart drives he inspects a piece of the film and announces he now knows who killed President Kennedy.

Yes, the movie is that silly.

  • There is no such thing as a thermite plasma process.
  • Mention of crashed aliens at Roswell and the Kennedy murder is laughable.
  • The chemical agent missiles are absurd. No such ordnance would ever be assembled, much less designed.

It was good to see John Spencer again, after watching him for six seasons of The West Wing. He died before the seventh season, and the plot featured the death of vice presidential candidate  Leo McGarry. Ed Harris was the German master sniper in Enemy at the Gates. We also saw him in A History of Violence, The Truman Show, and The Firm. Cage featured in Snake Eyes. He also appears in the Left Behind movies. Sean Connery was an Irish cop in The Untouchables, a Russian sub captain in The Hunt for Red October, a tough military cop in The Presidio, and a space cop in Outland. He was Major-General Robert Elliott “Roy” Urquhart in A Bridge Too Far. He was an Irish soldier storming the Normandy beaches in The Longest Day. And I didn’t mention any of his James Bond roles or A Fine Madness, which I will review if I can get hold of a copy.