Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Primary Day in Pennsylvania.  If you're registered Republican, get out there and vote for Ted Cruz, and your district's Cruz delegate slate.  It's important.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

So, the Centre County GOP sent the following information this afternoon, which is supplemental to what the Tribune-Review reported last week:
Delegate Candidates 

The information presented below was gathered from each candidate's response to Centre GOP's inquiry, discussions with another candidate(s) for Delegate and/or from TribLive.

Candidate names within each category are listed in the order in which they appear on the ballot. 

Will Vote for the Winner of the 5th Congressional District

Joyce Haas
Scott Schreffler
Shelia Fitzgerald Sterrett
Ash Khare
C. Arnold McClure 

Will Vote for Ted Cruz

Richard Chura
Lyle Stewart
Barry Kroeker 

Will Vote for Donald Trump

James Feuer Klein 

For additional information about each candidate, visit www.centregop.org

Lyle Stewart is an additional Cruz delegate-candidate, which makes for a complete slate for the Fifth Congressional.  I don't know what to think about that, Haas has given me a reason *not* to vote to send her to the convention, which seems somehow fundamentally unfair.  

Oh, well, politics ain't beanball.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

For your information, the Pennsylvania presidential primaries on the Republican side are a "beauty contest", the actual votes that count are for the individual delegates.  There's a primer here that claims to have interviewed all of the delegate candidates, most of them say "support whoever wins the congressional district's popular vote", but there's a few verbally-committed candidates in each district.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Just as a reminder for y'all, the Pennsylvania primary is April 26th, three weeks and change from today. The primary campaign is almost always decided by the time we vote, but not this year.  It's absolutely down to the wire this time, and trench-warfare at the convention itself.  Your vote matters this year.

So don't throw it away on a narcissistic idjit like John Kasich.  He has zero chance of winning the nomination, and is only running for the high and the off-chance that somebody might bribe him out of the race.  Nobody has time for that, and it's technically illegal, so he just keeps chugging away, feeding his ego and making messes.  To heck with John Kasich.

And Trump? How many times do you have to be told - Donald Trump is a con man, a grifter, a scammer.  He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. He's a terrible businessman, an awful human being, and doesn't bother to do his homework.  He recently bragged about how he liked to surround himself with losers, because the way they hang on his stories makes him feel like a winner.  His version of conservative pieties sounds suspiciously like a liberal's fevered imagining of what they think conservatives believe in their hearts of hearts.  He lies like he breathes, and generally can't be bothered to align any given set of lies with any previous set of lies he might have said on a previous occasion.  He divides the world into marks and fellow grifters.  He flatters his audiences that they're in on the con, they're going to be junior partners in his grand confidence game.  But remember - the heart of the con is to flatter your marks that they're your partners.  Trump's current set of marks is his prospective voters.

Don't be a mark.

Now, I know that for a lot of Pennsylvanians, someone like Ted Cruz is a bit of a stretch.  He's a strict-constructionist conservative, ideologically rigorous, and damn churchy.  But the wonders of strict-constructionist conservatism is that the Constitution, when strictly constructed, is all about *LEAVING YOU ALONE*. It's about limiting the damage that do-gooders and fussbudgets and post-modern Puritans can do to their fellow man through the strong arm of the government.  Are you a fussbudget, do-gooder, or post-modern Puritan?  Then the wonders of federalism means that you are free to pester your fellow citizens within your state, commonwealth or polity to the limits of the law and your state or commonwealth's constitution.  Laboratories of democracy!  But a republic at the national level, so that we your neighbors can always damn you to hell and move to Texas, without making a federal case of it.

We've had seven years and counting of intrusive, big-business corporatism with the Obama administration.  The big-government corporatists have had their day, and then some.  They've dragged the captive nations behind them while feeding borrowed money to their cronies, their clients and the corporations.  Everyone has fed deep at the troughs for seven fat years.  There is one true anti-corporatist small-government candidate on offer, and that's Ted Cruz.  Give the swine at the trough their seven lean years!

They could use the diet.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

So, I got around to watching the new Star Wars picture yesterday.  And... eh.  Not terrible, not great, a passable spectacle with some lovely set-pieces and decent action sequences.  It was too busy, too long, and the script didn't make a lot of sense, carried along on a stream of dream-logic by which characters appeared when they needed to appear and possessed knowledge when they needed to supply that knowledge.  The settings often felt... hermetic, insular, cramped.

One of the great aspects of the original movie was the vast, empty vistas of the various locations, especially Tunisia and Guatamala.   The original Star Wars was a journey through a haunted unknown world, and we felt small and vulnerable before the trackless world outside Luke's sandy work-shed.  At times the new picture approaches that sense of horizontal vertigo, that this great ghostly potential might suck you right out of your seat into the beautiful void.

But the director and the editors are in too much of a hurry to let the space between things breathe. They clearly wanted the picture to be *both* A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back at the same time, in the same story.  But both movies inhabited their running-times totally, with no real space in between that could be clipped and trimmed to interweave them together the way they are in The Force Awakens. There are about three sub-plots too many in the picture, and it comes across like a wrestling-match in a telephone booth.

Almost all modern pictures are in too damn much of a hurry, afraid of silence, afraid of stillness.  They forget that motion only has impact in the midst of stillness.

Still, at least it wasn't the prequel trilogy, and they've beaten the demon CGI into submission.

BTW, is it just me, or does JJ Abrams' entire film career consist of cinematic fan-fic?  Super-8, Star Trek, The Force Awakens - they all play like a clever, technically proficient fanboy making peculiar off-tone stories out of beloved but somewhat out-of-character toys.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

So... The Martian is a really, really good adaptation.  The novel was easily the best hard SF book I've read this year, and the movie caught pretty much every aspect of the book without coming off as talky, poisoned-by-CGI or in any way superficial.  After getting past the weirdness of Chiwetel Ejiofor being cast as an Indian-American NASA higher-up, and snickering about how Mackenzie Davis is going to be stuck playing techno-punk pixies until she's fifty, I was OK with the cast.  Coming into the movie, I was concerned about my cordial dislike for Matt Damon causing problems, but he disappeared into the role, and barely looked like himself for most of the film.

I see Drew Goddard wrote the script, and he did a brilliant job of adaptation, because I didn't spot a fleck of him or his Whedon-stable influence in the movie: being that transparent is a real skill.  They excised some of the novel's set-piece disasters, but if they had tried to film all of that, it would have added another half-hour to the length, and probably overwhelmed the audience.   It was *just enough*.