Oscars 2015 Agendavitis

oscar2013

I will admit, from a strict viewership standpoint, I enjoyed the 87th Annual Academy Awards. (and apparently I can claim minority-ship in both my enjoyment and my viewership as this broadcast had the lowest audience numbers since 2009)  The event moved along nicely, I didn’t notice any extremely disrespectful orchestral cutoffs of an obscure documentarian’s one chance in the limelight and the overall theme, for the most part, was about the movies.  Even American Sniper took home an award.

I liked NPH.  His jokes were relevant and on point, some were self indulgent but others were very funny. (“Edward Snowden couldn’t be here for some ‘’treason’’’)  He boldly, and again relevantly, stepped out on stage in the semi-buff, and his prediction gag was entertaining enough, although again self indulgent.

But that’s the point isn’t it?

These people spend months going to different events, accepting awards and taking home gift baskets worth tens of thousands of dollars.  They even broadcast the previous lesser awards shows within this ultimate award show just to make sure everyone gets their due.  They wear clothes they don’t pay for crafted by designers whose names I can’t pronounce and arrive in stretch limos while shutting down the greater part of Tinseltown.  As Clooney stated, “we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while, I think. It’s probably a good thing.”  Make of that comment what you will.

(Here’s a rundown on some highlights, with a differing opinion on NPH)

But alas, it wouldn’t be a night out in Hollywood without some chest-thumping of social agendavitis in front of a crowd of like-minded individuals.  Unique artists who all feel the same way.  This year we got the whiteness criticism of the academy as soon as the nominations went out.  Wholly ironical, as I have mentioned before, considering last year’s winners and the fact that the president of the academy is a black woman.  Added to this criticism was the fact that a movie directed by a black woman, starring a black man playing none other than Martin Luther King Jr., wasn’t nominated for any acting awards.  Again, wholly ironical.  If “Selma” isn’t nominated, the implication is that the academy is full of aging white racist men, a deliberately offensive and all out spurious claim that entirely disavows the creed that content of character, not color, should guide judgement; which IS the standard when such a film as “12 Years a Slave” and its actors are nominated.  It’s because it is a good movie with actors who deserve to be nominated, not because the academy had to fulfill some quota.  There’s always plenty of snub talk without the luxury of racism.  To overcompensate for the accusations, the academy sent out plenty of diverse couples to present the awards.

And the ambivalence continued into the night of the event. While I really enjoyed and respected what Common had to say in his acceptance speech, it was immediately countered by the specious speech of John Legend. ( by the way, Lonnie Lynn Jr. & John Stephens??)  Common talked about the physical and metaphorical significance of the bridge that Dr. King marched across and stated, “this is for the kid from the South Side of Chicago to those in France standing up for freedom of expression to those in Hong Kong protesting for democracy.”  But then we get, “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were in slavery in 1850” from Legend.  A bumper sticker argument that again implies racism, judgment based upon skin color, as opposed to any content of character and personal accountability as to the reason these men are incarcerated.  Had they not broken the law, they would not have gone to prison, regardless of harsh sentencing or lack of legal resource.

Earlier during the festivities, there were the remarks made by Patricia Arquette during her acceptance speech concerning equal pay for women.  This was on top of the movement created under #”We’remorethanjustourdresses, meaning women should be asked more questions of substance and less on style.  On the first one, you can refer to this article on the reasons for any gender “inequality”.  Much like the comments made by John Legend, Arquette pushes a cause that has no opponent.  No group of any substance is advocating for lesser pay for women, or for the incarceration of black men for being black.  Such a speech gets a rousing response from the crowd who views itself as being ahead of the curve without addressing the very real reasons, outside of discrimination, that have led to these perceived injustices.  Wholly ironical coming from a woman winning an award in a category of only women in a room full of women making millions of dollars a year.  And as for the more serious questions directed towards women, it seems like a lesson in market economics.  If people didn’t tune in when “reporters” were discussing hair and makeup tips, they might have to change the format.  As it stands, the dresses, hair and makeup are as deep as they need tread in order to satisfy demand.

And the honorable mentions:

There was Sean Penn’s ridiculousness. (can anyone explain the “who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” remark?)

And Jack Black’s criticism of the industry that led to an ovation.

There was a time when I could watch these awards in wonderment and know in my heart that the Oscars were the stuff of dreams.  I still remember my excitement when, contrary to the buzz of the day, “Braveheart” won the award for Best Picture.  Anything was truly possible.  And that I do still believe.

Movies are a business.  Despite some claims of the evening, they are about success at the box office.  That’s why some get sequels and others fade away into obscurity. (and why Clint Eastwood will still be smiling… on the inside)  But movies are also about truth, heart, storytelling and the triumph of the human spirit.  As NPH sang, “when they hit, you must admit, they sometimes change your view a bit in ways both big and small.”

All in all, it was a successful night for an industry well known for touting its own success.

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Same-Sex Ruling On High

gavelThe Supreme Court of the United States will soon hear arguments concerning same-sex marriage in the state of Alabama.  As well they should.  But the manner in which the adversarial process has been proceeding is entirely out of order (insert wry smile).  The process of the process has been established for a reason.  It remains the vanguard of equal justice.  Laws can be passed and they can be repealed.  But they are not to be ignored.  Indiscriminate justice fails to provide any justice at all.

It is in this spirit of justice that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has criticized his peers regarding this forthcoming case.  He said in his dissent from the court’s opinion to allow same-sex marriages to continue contrary to current law, “this acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question,” Thomas wrote in a dissent from the court’s order refusing to stay the weddings. “This is not the proper way to discharge our . . . responsibilities.”  There is no malicious intent in Thomas’ words.  There is only a desire to maintain the integrity of the process that exists to protect all-sex citizens.  It is an appeal to the foundation of this country which finds itself embattled with the kraken of judicial activism.

The Constitution of the United States was never designed to be the end all be all for all time concerning governing or legal matters.  The founders understood that there would be a need for change in the future, that there would be circumstances impossible to foresee at the time the document was crafted.  What was established was a thorough basis for self governance that could be amended and yet still preserved.  Therefore, what is law today can be legally changed in the future… through the amendment process.

The process to change the Constitution was made intentionally arduous.  There have only been twenty seven amendments to the Constitution since its inception, and ten of those were essentially part of the bargain to ratify the original document—also known as the Bill of Rights.  The short version of the amendment process is that any proposals must pass through congress and then be sent to and ratified by a supermajority of individual states.  This difficulty is meant to safeguard existing law.  The whims of those in power cannot be imposed upon the rest of the nation without consent.  At least, that’s the idea.

Now (not surprisingly in any historical context concerning people with agendas and the power to impose them) there are those who view this as a quaint process and have determined that the trials of acquiring actual amendments are too burdensome a remedy for the perceived injustices of the modern day.  And lucky us, these folks just happen to be in a position to affect change as they see fit.  As sitting justices in the courts of the United States.

Why follow that pesky, antiquated Constitution, with all of its rules and requirements?  These proactive activists can determine what should be, based upon their personal beliefs (any influential bias notwithstanding) and then dictate what the law will be going forward.  No constitutional basis for a decision required.  This is the proper context and definition of judicial activism.

Now whatever views are held on issues concerning same-sex marriage or gun rights (or control if you prefer) are immaterial to these circumstances.  What is vital to our ever changing society is that the law be a dependable foundation for any future change.  If marriage is defined under the law then it is the law than needs to be amended.  If guns are deemed too dangerous for the likes of us CRAZIES, then the second amendment needs to be abolished.  Until such time as the laws governing our society are amended, through the established process, the prevailing law stands and is to be enforced.  It is the duty of the sitting justices to apply these laws to the cases before them.  It is a dereliction of duty to apply baseless personal opinion, or simply refuse to enforce the laws.

Now there have been attempts to co-opt the phrase judicial activism and apply it to situations where a particular decision by a court led to an undesirable outcome.  But as the conniving cat said about the one-winged sparrow, “that just ain’t gonna fly.”  Applying the Constitution to a particular case and delivering a ruling is not the action of an activist court, it is the job description of sitting judges.  Activist judges seek to circumvent the process. They determine that what was unconstitutional yesterday is acceptable today and vice versa, without a constitutional principle supporting such a decision.  This is not the rule of law as directed by the Constitution but the rule of those with an agenda and the power to impose it on the nation.

We can and should debate the issues.  As time goes on values and social customs will change and it is just that the laws reflect those changes.  However, the pastor must stay behind the pulpit.  Until such changes are enacted, personal opinion without legal justification is irrelevant in the face of the duty placed before the powers that be.  In order to maintain stability and justice in our system, the process of changing laws, as outlined in the Constitution, must be preserved.

If no constitutional basis can be provided for a decision, those officials can be held accountable at the voting booth.  You can learn about rulings, particularly the higher profile ones, and the justices involved.  Then, take notice when those names appear on a ballot.  You can choose whether or not to retain those justices and the representatives who appoint them.  You can choose whether subjective whim or legal justice rule in the United States.

“No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Deus Vult or The Crusade of the Statist

crusades09_0Much has already been said regarding the president, terrorism and a recent prayer breakfast.  Below you will find links to two articles that provide further detail, opinion and specific quotes.  My perspective on this subject will be limited to a relatively few words that echo the sentiments in these previously published articles.  I simply felt that these editorials must be read, ergo, I am sending them out through the emails, twitters and internets.

To the rock dwellers, the president spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast the other day and, to paraphrase, said that all religions, specifying Christianity and the crusades, have a history of violence that believers have justified through the religion itself.  He conflated present day terrorist actions by Islamists with the religious wars of a thousand years ago and attempted to make the point using the progressive medium of moral relativism.

This is the progressive ideology at work.

Barack Obama believes in the state and in the power of government, through himself at present, to right the wrongs of the world as he sees them.  I see no evidence that he is a particularly religious person (he went to church for years and does not recall the inflammatory words of Jeremiah Wright, his own pastor) outside of his never-ending faith in statism.  By equalizing the terrorists of today with Richard the Lionheart he seeks to level the playing field (or battlefield as it were) for all religious crazies and then present the bright light of secular government as the true savior of the people with none other than himself at the head of the church, err state.

The danger of his assessment and ideology lies in the fact that he is the current head of state, the armed forces and the free world.  And that he is actively diminishing the existential threats that we face from a group who believes that they have been ordained by God to conquer the world.  They are not random anarchists with no plan after victory and contrary to popular administrative opinion, they are driven wholeheartedly by their religion.

What happens if they win?

Take a look at the theocracies that exist in the world today, at what kinds of laws are enforced and how women and homosexuals are treated.  What religion dominates these lands?  And then look at the United States, the country that while founded in Judeo-Christian principles, expressly states that government may not establish any religion.  Regardless any particular religious belief, one system respects life and freedom while the other embraces domination and suffering.  By diluting the significance of the threat posed by ISIS, or ISIL, and like-minded followers of Islam, the president forsakes the goodness of our country.

Deus Vult- Latin meaning “God wills it”

The Future Must Not Belong To Those Who Slander Christians By Harping On The Crusades

by John Hayward

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/05/the-future-must-not-belong-to-those-who-slander-christians-by-harping-on-the-crusades/

Obama’s Crusades by James Taranto

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-crusades-1423256805

The Super Bowl, Electrolytes & Pontiff-ication

SuperBowlPoeElect

As a long-time Broncos fan, the Super Bowl of 2014 left not merely a bad taste but something more along the lines of those cuts that occur on the top of your mouth and stay for days after you eat a regrettably delicious sandwich with rough, toasted bread, or a bowl of Captain Crunch.  To exacerbate the pain of this year’s championship, the defending champion goon squad Seattle Seahawks AND the antithesis nemesis of the AFC, the New England Patriots, both made it to the big game while our dependable treasure Peyton Manning strides ever further towards his inevitable twilight.

Egads!!!  What is a football-lover/ political satirist, cynicist and realist to do?!?!  Well, find the social commentary in those beloved commercials and take issue with things that others can simply take at face value and enjoy, of course.

Allow me to go back a couple months.

I have recently begun running on a “professional” level, meaning I have shown up with other folks to collectively engage in an activity that I enjoy for the solitude it provides.  Thus far I have run two half marathons and, despite my love of independence, they are incredibly rewarding.  What you also find at these events are all manner of gadgets, trinkets, edibles, wearables and readables that encompass the world of running.  During the pre-race accompanying expo, I was listening to a nutritionist speak on the necessity of fueling during long runs.  It was here that I was reminded of the oblivious nature that encapsulates the otherwise careful creature that is the human being.

This nutritionist specifically mentioned needing electrolytes while running and was met with nods of agreement, murmurs of affirmation.  I looked left, right and all-ways only to realize: no one here, outside of the specialist on stage, knows what an electrolyte is.  I laughed at the reminder of the short attention span, fear of looking foolish and overall willingness to accept what is given, without critical thought, when people are in the presence of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Now, back to the now.

Over the weeks leading up to the final game of the 2014-15 NFL season naught a discussion was heard without mention of Deflate-Gate, the suspicious under inflated footballs provided by the Patriots during the AFC Championship game.  Now that the team has won yet another championship, I believe that the love of a champion will outweigh the foggy memory of air pressure.  Ball deflation and video-taping are rather opaque methods of breaking only a few of the conglomerate of NFL rules.  The football-loving public doesn’t grasp, or really care to grasp the significance of this type of cheating. The public does however, adore winners and a dynasty, even if they occasionally cheat, always scowl and wear fluffy boots.

And outside of the contrarily to tradition, incredibly entertaining game and half-time show, the commercials were as engaging and perplexing as ever, offering intriguing glimpses into the nature of humanity:

The indelibly enduring friendship of Budweiser’s horse and pup pulls the heart strings and reminds us: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Danny Trejo-Brady and Steve Buscemi-Brady partook in random, nostalgic hilarity.  Sometimes it’s just funny cause it’s funny.

-Hopefully Jurassic World will transform the doubt in those who feel that they should have stopped making movies after the first one.

Then there were the ones that tried to send a message:

The anti-domestic violence pizza delivery 911 call was incredibly effective and much more genuine than the crying celebrities from the same organization running ads throughout the season.

McDonald’s is offering free meals with acts of love.  Not sure how this will be equally distributed among all colors and creeds.  What happens when the man and wife are asked to kiss but the wife and wife are asked to pay in dollars?  I think this is simply a ploy to keep McDonald’s relevant in a world turned Chipotle.

-Did anyone catch the hypocritical irony of the “run like a girl” PSA juxtaposed to the Sarah Siverman wireless ad where she says “sorry, it’s a boy?”  Sometimes it’s funny cause the progressive comedian says so.

And then there’s the pope.

While I don’t recall any pro-catechism PSA, he is certainly inserting his two-cents into the coffers of global political debate.  I am all for a more pro-active pontiff but in this case I am reminded to be careful what I wish for.  While more accepting of the modern realities that govern domestic relationships, i.e. homosexual partnerships as well as divorce, God’s messenger on Earth has spoken on the benefits of social justice economics and the destruction of the environment by human beings.  To help the environment, encourage charity and clean living are noble and righteous acts in which the pope is almost obligated to engage.  But to express naivety towards free market economics, denigrating a system that has created more wealth for the world and the church than any other, is dangerous sophistry.  To encourage the cesspool of corruption that is the United Nations, not recognizing the evil such an organization fosters is nothing short of willful ignorance.  The world needs active church leaders but it needs them to support the good that humanity can offer, not further condemn the actions of prosperity that provide hope to the millions living in the insufferable third world.

All this is to say that people love entertainment to escape the rigors of life and work.  They want a break from their thoughts.  And it is in those moments that they can be most manipulated.  Whether in sports, fitness or religion, distractions abound.  Instant gratification in simplistic explanation is easy but often invalid.  When it comes to justice, get a lawyer and trust that the truth will win out.  Search through the panoply to find the fitness products that work for you.  And if you wanna alleviate your sins, seek out a priest; for climate change, read the very-much-alive ongoing debate.

Trust but verify.  Simply because a holy man is in charge does not mean he is infallible.  Just because a coach and quarterback are already winners does not mean they will not sacrifice integrity to win again.  Electrolytes may be as good for you as cobra venom, learn before you take either.  And sometimes the only way that people can raise themselves up is to hold others down.  Human beings are a wonder of this world.  We help each other, we deserve unadulterated fun and we require constant vigilance in order to stay within the confines of reality and not be dazzled away from justice and common sense.