Saturday, June 28, 2008

Painting Obama as Partisan

Obama puts himself 1st over his country? Sen Sam Brownback made this statement and then Keith showed that he had worked with Barack on several bi-partisan issues. Nice try John.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Army Cuts and Runs

Sup Crt Gun Ruling

Discussion of the Sup Cts ruling on guns and ignoring the militia part of the Admendment

Defending Charlie Black

A terrorist attack is good for McCain's Election Chances?

For N. Koren More Carrot, Less Stick

A Question of Partisaship

Discussion of how Obama leads in some tough states and is creating a coalition with HRC's supporters

Obama Leads in Battleground States

Discussion of how Obama leads in some tough states and is creating a coalition with HRC's supporters

The Surge is Failing?

Mitchell Bard The Surge Is Working? Not If You Read the Latest GAO ReportJune 24, 2008 04:56 PM (EST) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------The statement is made in the U.S. media, over and over again, as if it is as factual as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening: "The surge is working." But just because the media has parroted the talking points of the Bush administration and John McCain's campaign in making such an assertion, it does not make it true. And a report released by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) yesterday does something that McCain and the White House probably wish would not be done: actually evaluating progress in Iraq against the goals the administration laid out in January 2007 when undertaking the surge. Guess what? In many material ways, the surge isn't working. Sorry to rain on the parade of CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, etc. with the facts.The mainstream media is barely even acknowledging the report's release.At the time of this writing, the GAO report didn't even warrant a headline on the CNN. com home page, although CNN did see fit to include Imus's allegedly racist remark, pirates kidnapping European tourists, a British man accused of killing his wife and child, a prisoner's escape gone bad, the cost of orange juice in "paradise," a calf with an extra snout, and the denial of a U.S. visa for Boy George. And there is a headline that the Iraq military will control Anbar province, but there is no mention of the fact, cited in the GAO report, that only nine of Iraq's 18 provinces were controlled by the Iraqi government, even though the goal was to have Iraq control all 18 of its provinces by the end of 2007.Since the mainstream media won't report on the GAO report, I decided to go through it myself to see what is there. The report states that some progress has been made in Iraq, but that in many other ways, things are not going well.Rather than just stick to the GAO's conclusions, I took from the report some disturbing findings, many of them uncontested (yes, I know the Departments of Defense, State and Treasury objected to the conclusions, but in addition to the GAO being nonpartisan, the report also acknowledges and addresses the complaints of the departments), that point to the larger problems with the U.S.'s occupation of Iraq.Here are some of the highlights (or, really, lowlights):No PlanBill Clinton famously once said: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." The Bush administration had no effective plan to handle a post-war Iraq. The incompetence shown was disastrous.So why would anyone think for a second that the White House had a post-surge plan?And the GAO report finds just that, that the Bush administration has no plan for what to do next. With the 18-month surge coming to an end in July, the report says that the administration has not set out "strategic goals and objectives in Iraq for the phase after July 2008 or how it intends to achieve them" and "an updated strategy is needed for how the United States will help Iraq achieve key security, legislative, and economic goals."What did the Defense Department and State Department think of this statement? They were against it, of course. According to the report, the two departments said that the surge strategy "remains valid." But if most of the goals laid out by the president in January 2007 have not been met in July 2008, how can the plan still be valid?Once again, the White House has no plan.Is this is a rerun?When the White House and McCain say "the surge is working," how is it different than Bush's disastrous "stay the course" strategy in Iraq that failed and supposedly necessitated the surge in the first place? Keep that in mind the next time you're asked to support an open-ended troop commitment.ViolenceThe report acknowledged that violence was down in May (after rising in March and April) and attributed the reduction to three factors: "1) the increase in U.S. combat forces, 2) the creation of nongovernmental security forces such as the Sons of Iraq, and 3) the Mahdi Army's declaration of a cease fire." What do these three conditions have in common? They are all temporary and unlikely to continue in the future.Congressional testimony by generals in April, an April press release by Republican Senator Richard Lugar and statements by former secretary of state Colin Powell on Good Morning America in April all agreed on one premise: The U.S. military is stretched beyond its limits and cannot sustain current troop levels in Iraq indefinitely. The Sons of Iraq is a Sunni group that has fought al-Qaeda (fellow Sunnis) in Iraq. Groups like the Sons of Iraq are paid by the U.S. military. When the money stops, there is no guarantee the cooperation will continue. And as the GAO report points out, these groups have not reconciled with the Iraqi government, which is a recipe for future problems. As for the the Mahdi Army, its leader, Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said two weeks ago that he is setting up a fighting force specifically designed to fight Americans in Iraq, after making clear in April that he is not interested if fighting Iraqis but did want to fight U.S. troops. So the cease fire is, at best, to quote the report, "tenuous."With all three elements affecting a drop in violence in Iraq being so precarious, it stands to reason that the drop in violence is also fragile, something both the GAO and the Defense department acknowledge. And the GAO report cites findings from the United Nations that violence in Iraq could "rapidly escalate."Finally, the report notes that while violence is down from past levels, it is still high enough to keep a significant number of Iraqis displaced from their homes and to stymie rebuilding efforts in the country.That, to me, sounds a lot more complicated than the simple campaign rhetoric of "the surge is working."Political ReconciliationThe purpose of the surge was to give the Iraqi government "breathing space" to enact laws to bring together Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, resolve their differences and establish a democratic government. In fact, President Bush said in January 2007 that the Iraqi government would be held to benchmarks, and if the government did not meet these goals, U.S. support would cease. Bush said in January 2007: "America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people."Has the Iraqi government followed through on its promises? Well, the GAO reports that while some legislation has been passed to restore Ba'ath Party members to government (although many have questioned the legitimacy of these efforts), give amnesty to some detainees and define provincial powers, on many of the larger, stickier issues, no progress has been made. The report notes that the Iraqi government has not enacted "important legislation for sharing oil resources or holding provincial elections" and that "[e]fforts to complete constitutional review have also stalled."In other words, we were told that the surge was put in place to provide temporary peace under which the Iraqi government could step up and pass necessary laws so that the Iraqi people could govern themselves. These laws were supposed to be passed and in place by now. This was one of Bush's benchmarks. But, according to the report, the Iraqi government has not met its obligation.Iraqi ExpendituresConservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, should all be outraged at the piddling amount of money the Iraqis are spending on their own rebuilding efforts. Remember all those claims about Iraqi oil revenues paying for the war? Well, it hasn't even come close to working out that way. As American expenditures approach the $1 trillion mark, the GAO report reveals that "Iraq spent only 24 percent of the $27 billion it budgeted for its own reconstruction efforts" between 2005 and 2007. And things are moving in the wrong direction. The report says that "Iraq's central ministries, responsible for security and essential services, spent only 11 percent of their capital investment budgets in 2007 -- down from similarly low rates of 14 and 13 percent" in 2006 and 2005.Iraqi ForcesThe White House and McCain may cite an increase in the number of Iraqi forces, and the report backs that claim up, saying that Iraqi security forces had grown in number to 478,000 in May 2008, up from 323,000 when the surge began. However, what the GOP doesn't discuss is that the benchmark set up in January 2007 by the Bush administration was for these forces to be able to act independently, without being propped up by the U.S. military, and in this regard, the Iraqis have fallen way short of their obligation. The report says that the Iraqi military has shown "limited improvement" in this area, noting that "the number of Iraqi army battalions rated at the highest readiness level accounts for less than 10 percent of the total number of Iraqi army battalions."Poking a little deeper into the issue, the report notes that the four causes of the lagging readiness rate are "(1) the lack of a single unified force; (2) sectarian and militia influences; (3) continued dependence on U.S. and coalition forces for logistics and combat support; and (4) training and leadership shortages." The first two problems relate directly to the failure of the Iraqi government to take the necessary steps for reconciliation and the creation of a unified government (again, the reason for the surge in the first place). As for the dependence on U.S. forces, the report notes that "contracted logistics support in some form will be necessary for 2 to 3 years." How do you think the American people will feel about that? And, more importantly, three more years of American support for the Iraqi military goes against Bush's benchmark.Iraqi InfrastructureThe GAO report says that U.S. goals for oil, electricity production and water production have not been met. There were two statements in this section of the report that caught my attention.One of the headings is, "Iraq Needs an Integrated Energy Plan." My initial reaction was, "Yeah, so does the U.S."In that section, the opening line reads: "As we reported in May 2007, a variety of security, corruption, legal, planning and sustainment challenges have impeded U.S. and Iraqi efforts to restore Iraq's oil and electricity sectors." Later, the report says: "For example, the lack of cooperation and coordination between the Oil and Electricity ministries, particularly in supplying appropriate fuels to the electricity sector, has resulted in inefficiencies such as increased maintenance costs and frequent interruptions in electricity production, according to U.S. officials."Cutting through the technical jargon, what jumped out to me is that while thousands of U.S. soldiers have died, tens of thousand have been wounded, hundreds of thousands have had their lives disrupted with dire consequences, and the American government has hemorrhaged hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money at a time when the U.S. economy is sputtering, the Iraqis are engaging in petty power battles rather than supplying electricity to their people.If the surge was supposed to give space for the Iraqis to work out their problems, this is yet another area where the Iraqis have come up woefully short.How can the surge be working if the Iraqis are more interested in maintaining their little fiefdoms in the government rather than providing basic services for their people?After looking through the GAO report, I can't help but wonder: What the hell are we still doing in Iraq? Why are we spending billions of dollars to prop up a government that is seemingly putting power retention over making the hard decisions necessary to reconcile the differences between the country's religious groups (assuming such a reconciliation is even possible)?And why, if the benchmarks have not been met, are we continuing down the same path that has not worked, especially since the reduction in violence is so tenuous and connected to volatile factors?I think what the GAO report makes clear, above all else, is that contrary to what the mainstream media and the GOP would have you believe, the surge has not worked, not enough anyway, and, even more importantly, the administration has no plan as to what to do next.John McCain loves to talk about "winning" in Iraq. After reading the GAO report, winning, to me, would be getting our military out of Iraq as quickly as possible. They've done their jobs, it's the Iraqis who have failed to step up. It's time for the U.S. military to go home.

John McCain can't keep his story straight about George Bush

Think Different Obama Video

The Daily McBush #9 - It's all in your head

The Making of Obama Image

Is Obama bringing the Dems together? Is the Republican party falling apart?

Where Does Your Gas Money Go?

Discussion of where the money goes for our costs for gasoline

Court declares right to own guns

Jason Bateman on Hancock

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving Violation

More Political Fun

Bush insults Philippine’s President. Sewage disposal plant in SF named after Bush

Rove Reprimands the NY Times

Rove accuses the NY Times of disclosing the name of CIA agent? What about Valrie Phlame?

Murdock's Meddling

Rupert is backing a candidate who is against habeus corpus and trial by jury in England

The Energy Question of 2008

Discussion of McCain's Energy policy as gimmicks, and McCain's agreeing on that point.

Charlie Black Outrage

Discussion of the politics of fear, and Charlie Black's remarks that terrorism helps the GOP; Obama's and the Democrats objections

Countdown to Unity

Discussion of Clinton-Obama Unity Events and Clinton's debts. Also discussion about the participation of Bill Clinton

I Don't do Cowering

Discussion about how Barack does not do cowering on three issues: On Finance Reform, on FISA bill and Charlie Black. It is clear that Obama is in it to win it.

Nader is trying to get attention

Bush States Obama Wants

Calling on Clintons Supporters

Unity in Unity

Friedman blasts Bush on Oil

Will The Clintons Help Obama?

Clinton Still a VP Candidate?

Obam on Rolling Stone Cover Again

Will Obama Prove Himself in Time for the Election?

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Interview From The Entertainment Critic: Lily Koppel on The Red Leather Diary




NEW INTERVIEW FROM THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC: LILY KOPPEL, AUTHOR OF THE RED LEATHER DIARY

Please check out the new interview by James Myers, The Entertainment Critic, of Author Lily Koppel, About Her Completely Unique, Top Selling Book, The Red Leather Diary.

From The Publisher: “Rescued from a Dumpster on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a discarded diary brings to life the glamorous, forgotten world of an extraordinary young woman.

For more than half a century, the red leather diary lay silent, languishing inside a steamer trunk, its worn cover crumbling into little flakes. When a cleaning sweep of a New York City apartment building brings this lost treasure to light, both the diary and its owner are given a second life.

Recovered by Lily Koppel, a young writer working at the New York Times, the journal paints a vivid picture of 1930s New York–horseback riding in Central Park, summer excursions to the Catskills, and an obsession with a famous avant-garde actress. From 1929 to 1934, not a single day's entry is skipped.

Opening the tarnished brass lock, Koppel embarks on a journey into the past, traveling to a New York in which women of privilege meet for tea at Schrafft's, dance at the Hotel Pennsylvania, and toast the night at El Morocco. As she turns the diary's brittle pages, Koppel is captivated by the headstrong young woman whose intimate thoughts and emotions fill the pale blue lines. Who was this lovely ingénue who adored the works of Baudelaire and Jane Austen, who was sexually curious beyond her years, who traveled to Rome, Paris, and London?

Compelled by the hopes and heartaches captured in the pages, Koppel sets out to find the diary's owner, her only clue the inscription on the frontispiece–"This book belongs to . . . Florence Wolfson." A chance phone call from a private investigator leads Koppel to Florence, a ninety-year-old woman living with her husband of sixty-seven years. Reunited with her diary, Florence ventures back to the girl she once was, rediscovering a lost self that burned with artistic fervor.

Joining intimate interviews with original diary entries, Koppel reveals the world of a New York teenager obsessed with the state of her soul and her appearance, and muses on the serendipitous chain of events that returned the lost journal to its owner. Evocative and entrancing, The Red Leather Diary re-creates the romance and glitter, sophistication and promise, of 1930s New York, bringing to life the true story of a precocious young woman who dared to follow her dreams.”

This interview is available exclusively on The Entertainment Critic Magazine, found at http://www.theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com.
To listen to the interview: To access the interview, look under the Interview section. Click on the wavy lines in the top right hand corner to stop the music, and then click on the MP3 player in the lower left corner. You'll see the interview listed, click on Lily’s name in the player, the interview will take a moment to download and then will begin playing Enjoy the interview, and please drop us a line at james@theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com and let us know how you liked the interview and if there is anything we can do to improve our process.


The Red Leather Diary Website: http://www.redleatherdiary.com/

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc6IV93DpMw

The Red Leather Diary on MySpace: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=336127468

The Red Leather Diary on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15777600230

The Red Leather Diary in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lily-koppel/

Lily’s NY Times column on The Red Leather Diary: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/16/nyregion/thecity/16diar.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss (check out the cool interactive multimedia section in this article)










Sunday, June 22, 2008

MTP: Joe Biden discusses off shore drilling issue

Joe Biden discusses off shore drilling issue

Explanation of off shore drilling

Where we can and cannot drill and the unused area where we can drill but we DO NOT?

Obama Wants Energy Crackdown

Sen. Obama says he wants to strengthen government oversight of energy traders

Obama's plan was outlined by New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine on Sunday

Obama blames traders in large part for the skyrocketing price of oil

Obama's campaign singled out the so-called "Enron loophole" for speculators

Courting The Middle aged Voter

Will The 40-50 yr olds decide the election?

Friday, June 20, 2008

McClellan Testifies About Plamegate

Discussion of Scott McClellan's Testimony today

McClellan Testifies About Plamegate

Discussion of Scott McClellan's Testimony today

John Cusak talks Politics

John Cusak on Countdown tonight plugging his movie War, Inc and discussion his political activities with Keith

Fisa Bill Passed?

Discussion of new FISA bill compromised by Demos in the House; How did this happen? Nancy, I don't respect you any more!

Move on.org shuts down 327

Discussion on 527 organizations; where will the mud come from this time?

What Did the Demos Just Do?

Discussion of Newsweek poll where Barack leads by 15%; Clinton appearance next Friday with Barack; discussion of 527 groups

McClellan Tesifies

Love Story

Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie with pix of Mr and Mrs Obama. Just seems appropriate. America, meet the Obamas.

I have always loved America

Hello America, meet Barack Obama

Dem Calls for Impeachment

McClellan on the Hot Seat

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bush appointee travels on taxpayers

Travel gate: Golfing on taxpayer monies?

Dems Give Bush FISA Bill

FISA bill introduced by Demos? Immunity for Bush and the phone companies? No warrants needed to wiretap ordinary citizens?

Mission Accomplished on the Oil Wars

Large Oil companies back in Iraq to take reposssion of their oil companies

Page 6: Wrong on MTP Successor

Worst persons: a reporter from the NY Post reports that discussion took place during the funeral of Tim Russert between hosts and agents about succeeding Russert in his Meet The Press Show; Keith states neither her nor Chris Matthews had ever had such conversations

Day 3: McCain vs Obama on Terror

Discussion: Can US combat terrorism within the confines of the Consitution; Thomson flips on his legal approach he esposued during his campaign

Candidate Wife Strife

More of the ongoing saga of Cindy McCain attacking Michelle Obama

Obama Opts Out

Discussion about Barack opting out of Presidential Campaign financing system; McCain on private funding until this afteroon; A paper lion argument by the Republican Nominee

Big Oil Fuels John McCain's Straight Talk Express

Michelle Obama on The View

Shouldn't take shots at a guy's wife

McCain Gas Prices and the Enron Loophole2

McCain problems with his economic advisors who are in part responisble for high gas prices

McCain, Gas Prices and the Enron Loophole

Discussion about the gas loophole and McCain's advisors who caused gas bills to rise and could be reduced if legislation is rescinded by up to 50%

Family Members Off Limits

Should family members be off limits for personal attacks? Remaking of Michelle Obama

Biden vs Giuliani on Terror

Discussion on candidates and terrorism. Rudy Giuliani comments for Repubs, Joe Biden for Dems

Obama head in key states Ahead In Key States

Candidates at Russert's funeral. Obama ahead in the polls in key states, Florida, Ohio, and Penn. Voters in those states also feel Obama should not select Sen Clinton as his running mate

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama in flood zone

Discussion of current adminstration's repsonse to current flooding disasters, Adopted by McCain; Barack offers help, volunteerism and his own participation vs McCain's press statement and his poor voting record on Karina investigtion and victim relief

ReCycling the '04 Politics of Fear

Discussion of the McCain Bush Tactic of scaring us vs the Obama approach of informing us of the problem and focusing on the solution

McCain and Obama Clash Over Terrorism

Discussion of clash over handling terrorism by Barack and McCain; Barack points out the current administrations total failure to capture, prosecute, jail or work within constitutional guidelines to stop Bin Laden

Barack Announces Unite for a Change

Time to get involved and invite people to your home to participate in this very important campaign

New Move On.org ad

You can't have my child

Gift for Barack

Remembering Tim Russert

Disunity in Republicans

Women voters and John McCain

Fox Has No Class Concerning Russert's Death

Fox News attacks Tim Russert the day after his death, making them Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World

Gore Endorses Obama

Al Gore Endorses Barack Obama

Luke Russert Remembers His Father

Luke talks about his Dad

McCain Courts Women Voters

When they find out about your record, John, it's all over

Campaign Movers and Shakers

Remembering Tim Russert

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Movie Review From The Entertainment Critic: The Incredible Hulk

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

The Entertainment Critic Movie Review
www.theentertainmentcritic.com
www.theentertainmentcritic.net
www.theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com

In Theatres Now Review
Opened June 13, 2008
By James Myers

Rating: 8 of 10

Director: Ang Lee

Writers (WGA): Stan Lee (Marvel comic book character) and
Jack Kirby (Marvel comic book character)...

Release Date: 20 June 2003 (USA) more view trailer
Genre: Action Drama Fantasy Sci-Fi Thriller more
Tagline: Unleash the fury!
Plot: A geneticist's experimental accident curses him with the tendency to become a powerful giant green brute under emotional stress.
Plot Keywords: X Ray Diffraction Dream Sequence Barefoot Crushed To Death Shaving more
Awards: 1 win & 8 nominations more

Cast (Cast overview, first billed only)

Eric Bana ... Bruce Banner

Jennifer Connelly ... Betty Ross

Sam Elliott ... Ross

Josh Lucas ... Talbot

Nick Nolte ... Father
Paul Kersey ... Young David Banner

Cara Buono ... Edith Banner

Todd Tesen ... Young Ross
Kevin Rankin ... Harper
Celia Weston ... Mrs. Krensler

Mike Erwin ... Teenage Bruce Banner

Lou Ferrigno ... Security Guard
Stan Lee ... Security Guard

Regi Davis ... Security Guard
Craig Damon ... Security Guard

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity.
Parents Guide: View content advisory for parents
Runtime: 138 min
Country: USA
Language: English Spanish
Color: Color
Aspect Ratio: 1.85: 1 more
Sound Mix: DTS-ES Dolby Digital EX SDDS

Company: Universal Pictures more

To say that there was concern when this picture opened would be an understatement. There had already been a television series and another failed motion picture, but the Marvel Comics movies have peaked the public interest. In this regard, The Incredible Hulk was surprising entertaining and successful. The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk, which was released on June 13, 2008. It is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner / the Hulk, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, William Hurt as General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky / the Abomination. The film follows Banner as he flees the pursuit of General Ross while attempting to find a cure to rid himself of the Hulk. When Blonsky personally volunteers to be injected with Banner's gamma formula to aid Ross in his capture, he becomes an even greater monster, and Banner must accept his inner beast to defeat Blonsky.

A series of flashback shots show the gamma radiation accident that transformed scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) into the Hulk, and hospitalized his lover Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). Now a fugitive from the United States Army, and Betty's father, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt), Banner goes on the run for five years. He settles in Brazil, working in a soft drink bottling factory while attempting to find a cure for his condition with the help of an Internet friend, "Mr. Blue". He also studies martial arts and meditative breathing techniques with a Brazilian Jujitsu expert (Rickson Gracie) to help control his emotions, and has not suffered a transformation for five months.

After Banner suffers a cut, and his blood drips into a soda bottle eventually drank by an ill-fated consumer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Stan Lee), Ross discovers Banner's location, and sends a team to capture him, led by Russian-born British special operations expert Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). Following a ferocious battle in the soft drink bottling plant where he transforms into the Hulk, Banner escapes Blonsky, and ends up in Guatemala. He travels to the United States, where he sees that a now-recovered Betty is working at Culver University and is dating psychiatrist Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell). He also sees his old friend Stanley, a pizzeria owner, who gives him a job as a delivery boy. Banner uses this job to sneak past a security guard (Lou Ferrigno) to continue his research. After Betty visits the pizzeria and sees Bruce, she later reunites with him.

Blonsky reports to Ross that Banner evaded them in Brazil because of the appearance of a large green monster. Ross explains that the monster is Banner, and that he was created accidentally during an experiment in radiation-resistance that was inspired by World War II era military bio-force enhancement research (or "Super-Soldiers", as Blonsky puts it). Blonsky, seeking both revenge and power, volunteers as a test subject in order to capture Banner, and receives a small dose of the mothballed original Vita Ray serum. He leads an assault on Banner at Culver University, during which Betty is knocked unconscious. Despite Blonsky's increased strength, speed and agility, the Hulk crushes most of the bones in Blonsky's body. The Hulk saves Betty from an explosion and escapes with her to the Smoky Mountain National Forest.

Banner and Betty then travel to Empire State University in New York City, where they meet "Mr. Blue", Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson). Accompanying Sterns to his lab, Banner and Betty learn that Sterns has developed a possible antidote that may cure Banner's condition or merely reverse each individual transformation while an overdose could kill him. Despite the risks, Banner agrees to test Sterns' antidote and is restrained before being shocked into transforming with electricity before being reverted to normal with an injection of the serum. Exhilarated by the success of the antidote, Sterns reveals that he has synthesized Banner's blood sample into a large supply with the intention of using it to enhance the human condition to the next evolutionary level. Appalled by what Sterns had done and fearful of the Hulk's power falling into the wrong hands, Banner attempts to convince Sterns to destroy the blood supply but is shot by a tranquillizer from one of General Ross' snipers.

As both Banner and Betty are taken into custody, Blonsky, whose super-soldier treatment has healed all his injuries but is desperate for more power, demands Sterns subject him to a dose of the Banner's gamma radiation treatment. Sterns warns that the combination of the Super Soldier formula and a gamma treatment would be an unpredictable combination that could turn him into an "abomination". Blonsky is less than concerned about this, and Sterns promptly administers the gamma charge. As Blonsky mutates into the monstrous Abomination, he knocks Sterns aside and an irradiated sample of Banner's blood-derivative drips into an open wound on Sterns’ temple, causing his cranium to mutate and expand. In an attempt to draw the Hulk out, the Abomination goes on a rampage through Harlem and Banner, realizing that he is the only one who can stop the Abomination, convinces General Ross to release him. He jumps out of Ross' helicopter as it hovers over the city, hoping the fall will stimulate his adrenal glands into triggering a transformation. Banner's plan succeeds and after a brutal battle the Hulk manages to defeat the Abomination by strangling him with a huge chain, though he releases his grip after a plea from Betty. The Abomination collapses and the Hulk flees the scene with the army in hot pursuit.

Thirty-one days later, Banner is in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Instead of trying to suppress his transformations, he is attempting to initiate them in a controlled manner. As his eyes turn green, a grin appears on his face. Meanwhile, General Ross is drinking in a bar when he is approached by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who reveals that a "team" is being put together.



The film is well-directed and the special effects were striking. The performances by Norton and Liv Tyler are excellent, giving the film an authentic quality. William Hurt as the military figure Ross is convincing as an obsessed, stop at nothing Army man. The best performance in the film goes to Tim Ross, the everyman of acting and motion pictures. His Emil Blonsky is convincing and a bad guy who inspires fear and tension in the picture, making the movie fun. Tim Blake Nelson as the overzealous scientist was perfect in his role, and a scene stealer. Overall, this was a great job by a good cast.

In its opening weekend, the film grossed an estimated $54.5 million in 3,505 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office. Behind Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it was the second-highest gross for a film released over a Father's Day weekend. This surpassed the Los Angeles Times’ report of expectations of a $45 million opening, following the disappointing response to the 2003 film. Universal believed word of mouth will contribute to the film eventually breaking even. A Cinemascope poll indicated the majority of viewers were male and graded the film an A-, and 82% of them had seen the 2003 film. It also opened in thirty-eight other countries, which added $31 million to the total opening. You can count on a sequel.

Overall, this was a fun action joyride that I give a big thumbs up to. It is a great summer film, and it definitely overcame the shortcomings of both the television show and the prior film. Rate this one a pleasant summer surprise, buy an extra large popcorn and enjoy the picture.








Message for Fathers from Obama

Discussion about Barack's Speech on Father's Day

A New Electorial Map?

Why the Obama Campaign thinks they may be able to win without Fla or Ohio

Gore to Endorse Obama

Al Gore Endorses Barack Obama and discussion of Obama's trip to Iraq and Afghanistan

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Book Review From The Entertainment Critic: The Shack By William Paul Young


The Shack

THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC BOOK REVIEW, BY JAMES MYERS
http://www.theentertainmentcritic.com/
http://www.theentertainmentcritic.net/
http://www.theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com/


THE SHACK
By William P. Young
Published by: Windblown Media
Publication Date: May, 2007
Price: $14.99
248 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780964729230
Five Star Rating *****

BORN IN GRANDE PRAIRIE, ALBERTA CANADA, MAY 11, 1955
RAISED BY MISSIONARY PARENTS
LIVED HIS EARLY LIFE AMONG THE DANI TRIBE
WORKED HIS WAY THROUGH BIBLE COLLEGE
GRADUATED SUMMA CUM LAUDE FROM WARNER PACIFIC COLLEGE IN PORTLAND, OREGON
MARRIED TO KIM WARREN
HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WRITER, INCLUDING SONGS, POETRY, SHORT STORIES, OR NEWSLETTERS
THE SHACK WAS A STORY HE WROTE FOR HIS 6 CHILDREN AT HIS WIFE’S SUGGESTION WITH NO INTENTION TO PUBLISH
HIS CHILDREN, WIFE AND FRIENDS URGED HIM TO MAKE THE BOOK PUBLIC
PAUL IS A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS PERSON
HE IS NOW THE AUTHOR OF THE SINGLE MOST SURPRISING BOOK OF 2008, AND ARGUABLY THE MOST PHENOMENAL BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF LITERATURE IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION

THE SHACK ORIGINALLY A BOOK/PAMPHLET HE TOOK TO KINKOS TO PUBLISH FOR CHILDREN, WAS PICKED UP AND PUBLISHED BY 2 OF HIS FRIENDS, WAYNE JACOBSEN AND BRAD CUMMING WHO FORMED WINDBLOWN MEDIA FOR THE EXCLUSIVE PURPOSE TO SELF PUBLISH THE SHACK
THIS BOOK HAS GONE FROM A HOBBY, TO GARAGE SELLER, TO BEST SELLER
THE SHACK HAS RISEN TO BECOME THE #1 BEST SELLING PAPERBACK IN AMERICA
HAS BEEN ON THE TOP 50 USA TODAY’S BEST-SELLING BOOKS FOR OVER 20 WEEKS
THERE ARE NOW 1.2 MILLION COPIES IN PRINT
FAITHWORDS, A DIVISION OF HACHETTE BOOK GROUP SIGNED AS A CO-PUBLISHER WITH WINDBLOWN
HACHETTE HAS AGREED TO A 500,000 COPY PRESS RUN IN JUNE 2008
AND A MARKETING CAMPAIGN IN THE SECULAR MARKET IN JULY, 2008
THE BOOK MAY BE MADE INTO A MOVIE


“Now Sarayu paused before answering. ‘You humans, so little in your own eyes. You are truly blind to your own place in the Creation. Having chosen the ravaged path of independence, you don’t even comprehend that you are dragging the entire Creation along with you.’ She shook her head and the wind sighed through the trees nearby. ‘So very sad, but it won’t be this way forever.”

It is rare that I am completely taken by surprise when I read a new book, or at least a book that is new to me. When publishers send advanced copies to be reviewed they also send packets of information about the book, the author and other reviews. By the time I read most of the books that I am sent, I am already writing the review in my head and I have a pretty good idea of what that book, the author and the theme of my review is going to be. With book trailers on You Tube, commercials on televisions, the endless parade of authors on talk shows, and the promotional materials that accompany books, it is rare indeed that the contents of a small, but emotionally powerful and moving book takes me completely off guard. It is even more surprising when I receive a book that is self published that the book is actually a polished, well written, sophisticated, thought provoking product that other reviewers have compared with Pilgrim’s Progress, or any other such benchmarks of classic literature. There is no doubt about it, this book is a five-star winner, maybe 6, that came as a complete and utter surprise to me. This modern day religious parable reminds me of the feeling that I had the first time that I read Paulo Coelho‘s masterpiece, The Alchemist. It is a small, compact story that provokes the depth of thought, and the range of emotions that well-written books were meant to provoke; when reading is truly the best experience. This book, like all masterpieces of literature, is the reason most of us love to read in the first place. I promise you, reading this book could change you life.

The Shack begins 4 years before the actual story begins when Missy, the daughter of Mack (Mackenzie) Phillips is abducted during a family vacation. Her body is never found, but the police found evidence in an abandoned shack proving that the girls was brutally murdered by a notorious serial killer who’s specialty is preying on young girls. The story begins when Mack, who has been living in the shadow of what Young calls his, “Great Sadness,” receives a note from God, inviting him to return to this same shack for a get together, a long encounter with the Holy Trinity. (Paul told me in an interview that the shack is a metaphor for all the evil done to him over the years, for the ugly dark place that seemed beyond God’s healing reach).

After much internal debate, Mack returns to The Shack to be greeted by a matronly large and earthy African-American woman known as Papa, an anthropomorphism of God The Father. He is introduced to the 2 other characters of Jesus, (Abba), a middle aged Jewish man with a prominent nose, and The Holy Spirit (Sarayu), a gentle wind represented by a small, delicate woman of Asian descent. The book is mainly an internal dialogue between Mack and these delightful characters. The key to the book is the revelations that come from the 3 in their conversations with Mack and with each other. The topics that are covered in the book seem to me to be revelations and disclosures to Mack concerning his suffering over his daughter’s loss and the mistrust that he has for a God who allowed his daughter to suffer and die in such a horrifying way. It is as if Mack is being given secret pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to assemble in order to explain the unexplainable aspects of his life; a picture once assembled that shows where all the pieces fit. It is revealed to Mack that God is inherently good and belief in his goodness is the only way to understand and trust in God. The evil in life comes from man and other sources. It is good that is absolute; evil only exists as a contrast to that which is good, sort of a measure to determine what is good. All understanding of God stems from our relationships, not only with God but with other men, with other women, and in our special interpersonal relationships.


The original thought and themes that arise from the book are religiously unorthodox and thought-provoking.

(1) The Path to Enlightenment: “legalistic” organized religion, denominations, and doctrines are not necessary to find God’s love and to affect a rebirth. You can discover Jesus’ love inside of yourself and in your relationships with other people, particularly with the loving relationships that exist in your life;

(2) The Trinity: There is no real hierarchy or chain of command in this group, but they are in a loving circle of relationship, a ‘great chain of being.’ There is also a greater understanding of the human condition that exists within the Trinity. The three are a necessary precondition to all love that exists, and this is the love that all humans seek, even from each other. It is the relationship of the 3, and their relationship to each other that gives birth and is the genesis of all love that exists between men and women.

(3) Submission: Takes on a whole new meaning in this book, submission becomes devotion, love and respect. The three are submitted or in a relationship with each that they wish to share with Mack. They in turn submit or acknowledge the love and respect that they have for him. To experience this submission correctly, the feelings must be mutual; to regard each others concerns to be as significant as your own. Hierarchy is unnecessary.

(4) Free Will: Jesus tells Mack “I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.” He indicates that he does not want slaves to do his will. The choice to accept God is available to man, but not forced upon him. The Shack seems to indicate that man has been forgiven for sins and can choose to have a relationship with him. Consequences for the failure to choose are not discussed, but you get an impression that like Mack, man left to his own devices has chosen the consequences of his own actions, to be lost and without any true peace

(5) Forgiveness: The story’s main focus seems to be place on forgiveness. Mack has to first forgive God for the loss of his daughter or at least come to some understanding why God could not intervene to save Missy, perhaps to forgive even her killer. The book seems to expose an unconditional forgiveness, a forgiveness where God has already, long ago forgiven man and offers the opportunities to recognize him through our relationships with others, and to accept the unconditional love and forgiveness as authentic. The mere acceptance of his love and forgiveness affects reconciliation.

(6) Revelation: Both the message that there is a God and that he offers unconditional love and acceptance are messages that are not static or found in the Bible alone. The Shack seems to indicate that there are voices of revelation that call to us everyday if we learn to recognize the “still, small voices.” Revelation comes from within ourselves, from our own voice, and from the voices of the people around us, especially those with whom we are involved in interpersonal relationships; the closer the relationship, the more pronounced and recognizable the voice. This includes your relationship with the Spirit aspect of the tribune. Your relationship with her, gives you the ability to recognize the voice; the more practice you have at paying attention to it, the easier it becomes to recognize. You can also find the voice by observations of your environment. Art, music, science, other people, nature, joy, sorrow are messengers of such a revelation. The Bible is also recognized as a method of communication, but Mack learns that communication also occurs outside of the box and that God’s attempts to communicate with man are persistent and cannot solely be contained in “a box.”

(7) Salvation: The Shack seems to point to a quasi-universal salvation. The acceptance and transformation does not necessarily come from being a Christian alone, there appear to be other paths that can lead one to God.

(8) Politics, Religion and Economics: These are referred to as “man-created trinity of errors that ravage the earth” deceiving us. The book indicates that these things are distractions that lead to falsehoods and not the true path to enlightment.


Needless to say, Paul Young’s modern day interpretation of theology has some of the organized church up in arms. Theologians have called the book “deeply subversive,” “spiritually incorrect,” and “dangerous.” Some have gone as far as to say that “if you haven’t read The Shack, don’t!” I’m not a theologian, but if you are a conservative, strict constructionist of scripture, this book may not be for you. Please be aware that there is controversy that surrounds the book. Paul Young has indicated that he has no desire to “duke it out in a cage-match” with the organized church; the book is more of a recounting of a journey of self discovery and original thought than a new wave religion to be feared. Pulling people away from churches is not the point; sharing the findings of the journey is the point.

With that caveat, I found the book to be brilliant. The obvious metaphor for a journey into the past to unravel the secrets of the universe is handled in a revealing, sensitive way that is incredibly emotional. The distant, judgmental god of Mack’s youth is discarded for a more accepting, loving God; one who gives you the tools and the hope to heal all the items you have placed in your own Shack. Young’s book is a soaring, surprising success. His own story told in an allegory like form of overcoming the ill that has been done him in his life as well as the ill he has done to himself, makes Mack a figure that most of us clearly identify with. This jigsaw puzzle has more than enough pieces to make it interesting reading. The courage that it must have taken Paul Young to make such a self-examination and to write this book for his children must have been difficult enough; the decision to share his thoughts with the rest of us was inspired. In an America, where only 3 of 10 people attend weekly worship services, and literally millions are ignorant of the Bible, The Shack offers comfort and revelation to those who struggle with pain. A fluid and dynamic depiction of a relationship with God and with each other, The Shack is the most original book of 2008. If you have an open mind and are not easily offended by out the box thinking, The Shack offers a doorway to “a free and open life full of love and empty of all secrets.” This is a wonderful little book that friends give to friends. This is literature at its best, a treasure. A great read from a new voice, The Shack receives my highest recommendation.


You Tube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFO2OQCOo7A

USA TODAY Article: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2008-05-28-the-shack_N.htm?csp=34


NEW INTERVIEW FROM THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC: WILLIAM P. YOUNG, AUTHOR OF THE SHACK

Please check out the new interview by James Myers, The Entertainment Critic, of Author William P. Young, About His New, Surprise Top Selling Book, The Shack.

From The Publisher: Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

"The Shack is the most absorbing work of fiction I've read in many years. My wife and I laughed, cried and repented of our own lack of faith along the way. The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God." — Michael W. Smith, Recording Artist

This interview is available exclusively on The Entertainment Critic Magazine, found at http://www.theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com/.
To listen to the interview: To access the interview, look under the Interview section. Click on the wavy lines in the top right hand corner to stop the music, and then click on the MP3 player in the lower left corner. You'll see the interview listed, click on Paul’s name in the player, the interview will take a moment to download and then will begin playing Enjoy the interview, and please drop us a line at james@theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com and let us know how you liked the interview and if there is anything we can do to improve our process. This interview is in 2 parts.

This could be the book of the year and is a one of a kind publishing phenomena in the history of modern book publishing













Friday, June 13, 2008

Todd: Everybody's Father Figure

I'm struck by the way his collegues speak about Tim as a teacher and mentor. The word generous is mentioned a lot.

Obama, Bush, McCain pay tribute to Tim Russert

Obama, Bush, McCain pay tribute to Tim Russert

Gen. Westly Clark Hits McCain on Security

Gen Clark says McCain does not have the experience he claims to have in foreign security matters

The Hulk Opens Friday!

Caught a midnight showing of the Hulk. Thumbs way up, great summer film. Will have a review prepared by tomorrow. This is a good one to check out.

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: John Mccain - Iraq (Part 2)

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: John Mccain - Iraq war

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: John Mccain - Iraq war

Thursday, June 12, 2008

McCain Women's Clinic, part 3

Barack Reaches Out to Women

Having a bad day John?

must have read the polls....

New Interview From The Entertainment Critic: William Paul Young on The Shack

NEW INTERVIEW FROM THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC: WILLIAM P. YOUNG, AUTHOR OF THE SHACK

Please check out the new interview by James Myers, The Entertainment Critic, of Author William P. Young, About His New, Surprise Top Selling Book, The Shack.

From The Publisher: Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

"The Shack is the most absorbing work of fiction I've read in many years. My wife and I laughed, cried and repented of our own lack of faith along the way. The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God." — Michael W. Smith, Recording Artist

This interview is available exclusively on The Entertainment Critic Magazine, found at http://www.theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com/.
To listen to the interview: To access the interview, look under the Interview section. Click on the wavy lines in the top right hand corner to stop the music, and then click on the MP3 player in the lower left corner. You'll see the interview listed, click on Paul’s name in the player, the interview will take a moment to download and then will begin playing Enjoy the interview, and please drop us a line at james@theentertainmentcriticmagazine.com and let us know how you liked the interview and if there is anything we can do to improve our process. This interview is in 2 parts.

This could be the book of the year and is a one of a kind publishing phenomena in the history of modern book publishing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYvjRiun3MA







Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Impact of the Women's Vote

Discussion on Hardball today about the new NBC poll, where suburban women favor John McCain. The powerful, influencial women on this panel think that once they learn of McCain's shameful record on women's rights and that he is anti-Roe vs Wade, that the vote will shift to Barack who's record according to Planned Parenthood is almost perfect on women's issues

Kerry's Reaction to McCain's Iraq Remarks

Will this cost McCain the election? He doesn't care how long our hero troops must stay there?

Fate of US Troops Under McCain

John McCain says, "It is not too important" when our sons and daughters come home from Iraq.

Obama Leads in New Polls

Barack has inspriring numbers:
Heads up w/McCain 47-41%; Indepedents 41-36%; Blue Collar Workers 47-42%; Catholics 47-40%; Women 52-33%; Latinos 62-28...can you say crunch!

New NBC poll: Barack in Front

Barack Obama is in front in many interesting areas

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Articles of Impeachment vs Bush

Did the Articles of Impeachment come too late?

Bush's Impeachment-non reality

Did the Articles of Impeachment come too late?

Economic reality Obama v McCain

Discussion of both candidates economic positions and the recent block of the windfall tax on the profits of the oil companies by the GOP

Does Obama have a lobbyist problem?

Discussion about lobbyists in the campaigns

Preist denies communion to Obama Supporter

Preist denies communion to an Obama supporter? Doug Kimmick was one of my old law profs at Valparaiso University.

Countdown beats O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly named best person in the world for making Keith Olbermann's Countdown #1

GOP blocks oil companies tax

Another reason why we need Obama

How the Dems Win in November

CNN: THEIR HEARTS ARE BROKEN

Monday, June 9, 2008

CNN: THEIR HEARTS ARE BROKEN

Discussion of why Hillary's Woman Voters should vote for Barack Obama with Debbie Wasserman Schultz

McClellan "I'll Tell Them What I Know."

Scott McClellan agreed to voluntarily testify before the House Judiciary Committee concerning the Valerie Flame leak and her husbund's criticism about the war in Iraq

McCain's Most Recent Lesson in You Tube

Caught lying to media about lying to the media. John, this is just another You Tube vid that you'll have to erase...but I have backups!

Fist Bump Issue?

This is the action of a terrorist? Don't worry, Keith's on it!

Obama on the Economy

Obama addresses issues in the economy today. Issues include gas tax and the mortgage crisis

Todd's 1st read

The impact of the Youth Vote

DISCUSSION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE YOUTH VOTE

Sunday, June 8, 2008

John McCain is Anti-Choice

Good reasons why you should not vote for John McCain! A little bit about his record on women's issues!

John McCain Video

Good reasons why you should not vote for John McCain!

Meet the Press Remembers RFK

Amazing forecast by Bobby that a black man could be President in 40 years, the last great man who tried to unite our country

Can Bill Clinton Help Obama?

What pushed Clinton to Suspend

Discussion on Meet the Press about what pushed Hillary to finally conceed/suspend her campaign. The real question is what do her supporters and her staff do now? There are reports that they are still misbehaving? McCain vying for her voters

Dissecting the electorial map

Discussion on Meet the Press today about the split in the map of electorial votes, could be very close

Personal, powerful, poignant

Clinton Stakes Claim as #1 Female Politician

Obama, McCain Seek Female Vote

ClintonSuspends Campaign

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Throw My Full Support Behind Barack Obama

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton and Her Supporters

....Thank you for such a beautiful moving speech, and the endorsement of Barack Obama. I can only hope that we bring our party and our country together now with this speech as a springboard. I will do my best to help to get Barack elected. I hope that you, your daughter, Pres. Clinton, and your supporters will be inspired to unite with us and work to make the hopes and dreams of the American people a reality. I hope to see you and yours working as hard for Barack as you did for yourself. Please accept my extended hand in freindship. Welcome to our fight. A fight none of us can afford to lose.

Peace

Obama '08

James W. Myers, III
The Entertainment Critic

Thursday, June 5, 2008

List of Bush Appeasers Grows

Tips for Dems

Murdock Fires Freidman

Check on the remarks about WP#2 John McCain, who voted 2x against investigating the disaster of Katrina and vs fund to clean and for the victims...Didn't he just give a kick off speech for his Presidential Campaign IN NEW ORLEANS? Oh, yeah, and rumour is the president of Fox News is going to be fired..

Murdock Fires Freidman

Check on the remarks about WP#2 John McCain, who voted 2x against investigating the disaster of Katrina and vs fund to clean and for the victims...Didn't he just give a kick off speech for his Presidential Campaign IN NEW ORLEANS? Oh, yeah, and rumour is the president of Fox News is going to be fired..

Clark: McCain Wrong on Intelligence Reports

McBush War Lies:Keith discusses the problems with new Senate Report that Pres lied to Congress and the American people and forced us into an unprovoked war for the 1st time in American History; John McCain's echoing there were WMD when clearly reports say there were not; Report by Richard Clarke; McCain defense of the war is clearly wrong

Clark: McCain Wrong on Intelligence Reports

McBush War Lies:Keith discusses the problems with new Senate Report that Pres lied to Congress and the American people and forced us into an unprovoked war for the 1st time in American History; John McCain's echoing there were WMD when clearly reports say there were not; Report by Richard Clarke; McCain defense of the war is clearly wrong

Working Towards Nov

On Countdown, Chuck Todd looks at current electorial map

Obama: What Went Right

Things that went right with the Obama Campaign; How It Happened