October 24th, 2011

Putin

Whedon And Dealin'

You are now entering a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

For those of you wondering why George Lucas doesn't have the cache with the nerds that he used to have and Joss Whedon does, it's because of things like this.

Whedon has been hip deep in shooting next summer's The Avengers movie.  And yet, he found time to do principal photography on another movie.  In the traditions of Chicago experimental theater, Whedon has done a modern update of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.  Whedon is a Shakespeare nut, apparently peppering his DVD commentaries with it and talking about it in interviews.  (Me, too.  Hey, you don't have to be a snob to appreciate the Bard, you know.)

This is why Whedon has the nerds' love.  Lucas' days of doing things that are different are long behind him.  Coming up with things like Twice Upon A Time?  Nah.  Why do that when he can reheat and rerelease Star Wars yet again?  Whedon, however, has no problem trying something new.  Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog.  Hush from BTVS.  And now, a reinterpretation of Shakespeare.

I'm not much of a Whedon nut, but I have to admit, I am really interested in this.
Epic Fail

It's Magic. I Ain't Got To Explain Shit.

You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

Hermain Cain is still talking about the exemptions for his 9-9-9 tax plan to spare the lowest income people.

I'm not going to rip on it.

Why?

I don't know what it is.

Cain is saying he has everything set in his plan to give poor families a break, but he has yet to release the details.  His web site continues to tout 9-9-9 in its current version.  And he's refusing to give even a hint of what his plan is.

So, a tax plan that rallies popular support with economic infeasibility, and anything intended to address his detractors, he's not saying anything.

I admit I was wrong.

Cain isn't some outsider.  He's a real politician after all.
GetDownAmerica

Romney On Empty

You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

I'm calling it -- the R nominee for President is going to be Rick Perry.

Romney's campaign is over, it just hasn't happened yet.

The GOP basically wants anybody but Romney for their nominee.  Romney is too good a politician, though.  He's smooth, he's unflappable, he's quick with answers.  Everyone has been trying to trip him up on everything from Mormonism being a cult to his time as governor and he just doesn't drop.

During the Las Vegas debate last week, Perry brought up Romney hiring illegal immigrants for yard care.  This is old hat, actually, Romney was hit by it during his 2008 campaign as well.  The R's have made a huge issue over illegal immigrants.  During the debate, they even had to answer the question about illegal immigrants who enter the US illegally, have a kid, and that kid is considered a natural born citizen.

Keep in mind, politicians aren't really going to do anything about illegal immigrants.  The reason is simple -- it is a permanent underclass that can be exploited and will never become a credible social threat.  So many businesses employ them, so many people in the upper strata hire them, so many places use them because they are cheaper than temps and you don't have to train them (my place of work needed some work done and brought in a labor company.  We found out after the fact that one of them was an illegal.  The guy wasn't trained on the equipment the company said he was and caused about $35,000 in building damage.  He left the building before it was discovered and, what do you know, the labor company doesn't have any official documentation on the guy or even know his real name or location, leaving my employer to eat the bill), give them benefits or even minimum wage, and if they give you shit, you can just I-9 them.  And they still come back because, as lousy as the pay and treatment is, it still beats what they get in Mexico.

With all this strum und drang, something bad was going to happen to one candidate on the subject of illegal immigration, one that would have the voting base they court shit themselves and abandon them.  My money was on Perry.  He's from Texas, right on the border.  Target rich environment.  Perry was already getting nailed by Romney for providing education to what are called "anchor babies," babies born in the US to illegal immigrant parents.

Nope.  Backed the wrong pony.  Romney is the one getting nailed.  Romney is usually pretty cool and collected, but the one place his composure cracked during the debate was when Perry brought up the illegal immigrants who tended to his yard.  Romney at one point turned and said, "Anderson?", seeking intervention from moderator Anderson Cooper.

It's an open wound.  And everybody's getting ready to pick at it.

A fast item came skittering across the Peter G newsdesk.  The Los Angeles Times has examined the health care reform act Romney signed into law as governor of Massachusetts in 2006.  And it contains a provision that allows medical care for illegals and undocumented workers in the state.

That sound you hear is Romney campaign going Hindenburg.

I mentioned the primary rule of political debates is to never show any weakness, because it shows where you can be attacked.  Just like Herman Cain, Romney revealed his Achilles' heal.  And with this detail, his goose is cooked.

Romney's people are already in spin mode, saying that the provision in question doesn't explicitly extend benefits to illegals.  It's just that it can be interpreted that way and it's too late to change the law now.  Bullshit.  Romney was governor of a heavily Democratic state, which wants to extend aid to illegals.  There's no way this made it out of committee without that wording being exactly what they wanted.  Once again, people want this permanent underclass.  This way, supporters of illegals could say they got them social benefits, those that need the support of those who oppose can say they didn't mean it that way.  Everybody gets what they want and gets plausible deniability that they intended and engineered it for exactly that end.

It's a shame Romney's campaign is going to be derailed by this issue.  Longtime readers know I hate Romney with a passion.  Just his support of outlawing abortion despite it being the circumstances that killed his sister-in-law incise me no end.  And yet, despite all the legitimate reasons to hate Romney, to not support him, to find a candidate worth supporting instead of him, it's going to be this one hot button issue that does him in.

This is the problem with modern politics.  People don't do the right thing anymore, just the popular thing.  And it's not just the politicians guilty of this, it's us voters as well.
Picard

Like Stars In My Hands -- And The Sun In My Suitcase

You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

Readers of Sine Timore, come and honor a hero among us.

Today's person that reminds us the world isn't completely dark and there is in fact hope for the future is Laura Stachel.  Stachel is a doctor, specifically an OB/GYN.  She was working on a doctorate in public health at the University of Berkley UC (UNIX FTW!!!) and decided in March of 2008, she headed off to Nigeria (Zaria, to be exact) to help any way she could.  Nigeria has only 2% of Africa's population but accounts for 10% of maternal deaths.

She thought she would just be teaching some basics to help reduce mortality rates -- antiseptic, washing, things like that.  Turns out that wasn't the problem.  Hospitals and health clinics there are at the mercy of a substandard power grid, and are often without power for large and unpredictable amounts of time each day.  People get turned away because there is no power, find a hospital with it.  Midwives delivering babies by hurricane lamp and, once, her own flashlight.

When she returned, she decided to talk to her husband.  Her husband, Hal Aronson, is a geek.  He loves science and gadgets and tinkering with stuff.  The two of them started brainstorming and came up with a prototype solar array.  It actually could fit into a suitcase (which is a good idea, because it minimized customs issues).

The specs:  the units cost about $1,500 to build, all done by hand in about three hours each.  The solar array produces between 40 and 80 kilowatts of electricity.  Sturdy construction, tough to break.  Folding solar panel.  Battery is common to the region and dirt cheap to replace.  Charge controller to regulate the power distribution to all the sockets.  Includes headlamps, solar lanterns, and walkie-talkies.

Aronson was still working on the full, official system when Stachel went back to Nigeria, taking the prototype with her.  Not only was the hospital begging her to leave the prototype so they could use it, but other clinics and hospitals in the area heard about it and sought her out, asking for one.

Stachel simply gave away the prototype and told her husband they were on to Something Big.  They have created WE CARE Solar, a non-profit that uses donations, fund raising, and federal grants to build the solar suitcases and send them to impoverished nations.  Since they put up their shingle, they sent out 80, and are taking steps to become a self-sufficient nonprofit and get more of these made and sent out.

Humanity can be beautiful.
Kermit And Piggy

Isn't This How The TV Show "Once A Hero" Got Started?

You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

It has the potential to be the biggest inside joke in comics history, easily dethroning Funky Flashman as the biggest slam on a comic publisher.

Okay, in the DCnU, there have been a lot of changes.  And among them is the character of Morgan Edge.  Edge was a bad guy media mogul in the old DCU.  Here's a pic of him.  Take a good look:



Everybody still with me so far?  That's good!

Now, here's Morgan Edge in the DCnU as drawn by George Perez:



Now, those of you focusing on changing a white villain into a black villain are not seeing what's so funny about this.  Please take a look at this picture of DC Publisher Dan DiDio and see if he reminds you of anyone you just saw here:



When I first saw that, I just stared at my computer monitor and said, "Oh...my God...." for a couple of minutes.  That is, when I wasn't laughing.  Here's an animated gif courtesy of Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool:



Holy fuck, dude!



You are now leaving a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.
Moe Cowbell

RAISE YOUR GLOWSTICKS!!!

A quick return to the Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

Mornblade loves to decorate his house for Christmas.  His brother loves to decorate his house for Christmas.  And they really get elaborate.

However, they have been completely outgunned by this person decorating his house for Halloween.

I hate to do this, but Mornblade?  My brother?  This one's on me....

And now you are leaving a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.