Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recommended Reading

George Lakoff on the Democratic primary:

There is a reason that Obama recently spoke of Reagan. Reagan understood that you win elections by drawing support from independents and the opposite side. He understood what unified the country so that he could lead it according to his vision. His vision was a radical conservative one, a vision devastating for the country and contradicted by his economic policies.

Obama understands the importance of values, connection, authenticity, trust, and identity.

But his vision is deeply progressive. He proposes to lead in a very different direction than Reagan. Crucially, he adds to that vision a streetwise pragmatism: his policies have to do more than look good on paper; they have to bring concrete material results to millions of struggling Americans in the lower and middle classes. They have to meet the criteria of a community organizer.

The Clintonian policy wonks don't seem to understand any of this. They have trivialized Reagan's political acumen as an illegitimate triumph of personality over policy. They confuse values with programs. They have underestimated authenticity and trust.

More at the link.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Zaki's Review: Rambo

You have to give Sylvester Stallone credit. At 62 years young he’s still an amazing physical specimen, looking something like a sinewy, muscled tree trunk, and running, jumping, and diving with a physicality most of today’s younger action stars would have difficulty matching. It took courage when he donned the silk boxing trunks for Rocky Balboa last year, and it took courage also to revisit his other revered movie icon for one last (?) go-round in Rambo.

It was twenty-six years ago that Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood introduced us to John Rambo, a deeply troubled Vietnam vet trying to make his way in an America that wanted nothing to do with him. For its time and in its own way, First Blood was quite revolutionary, giving us a grounded action movie that dared to poke the still-fresh wounds from our involvement in Vietnam. The film is probably most memorable for its climax, culminating in a heartbreakingly raw breakdown from Stallone’s emotionally-crippled Rambo.

James Bond Will Return In...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Legacy of JFK

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Those words represent a powerful endorsement from Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK., whose backing puts another feather in the cap of Barack Obama. Watching Obama's soaring speech following his decisive win in the SC Democratic primary earlier this evening, it's hard not to see a little bit of what she's talking about:

Their Own Worst Enemies

I've long felt, and I've said as much several times on this very blog, that Hilary Clinton getting the Democratic nod is equivalent to just handing the Republicans another (at least) four years in the big chair. While the GOP hasn't managed to find even one candidate to excite their base, nothing is likely to get the lunatic fringe on the right fired up quite like the spectre of another Clinton presidency.

One top of that, the Clintons sure haven't been doing themselves any favors with their own base, at least in my eyes, with their ever-escalating war of words with the Obama camp, utilizing, in the words of one former Clinton booster, "Rovian tactics" to snag a win even if it's in the worst way possible. It's still anybody's ballgame of course, but this LA Times op-ed echoes my concerns that the Clinton campaign might be doing far more damage to themselves and the party's standing than they realize.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nostalgia Theater: Rambo Edition

I just got back from a screening of Stallone's latest franchise revisitation, and hopefully I'll have my review up sometime this weekend. Until then, here's a little nugget from the "What were they thinking?" file to hold down the fort.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger, RIP

Some unfortunate news today on the passing of Heath Ledger. I'd enjoyed his work over the years, going all the way back to the short-lived Fox series Roar, and was looking forward to seeing his work in this summer's The Dark Knight, which looked suitably disturbing based on the trailer we've seen. I don't know where this leaves that film and the other projects he'd been working on, and I'm sure all of that will be answered in time, but for now we know that Ledger was 28, the same age as me, and he left behind a baby daughter. Very sad.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The first teaser trailer for JJ Abrams' upcoming Star Trek reboot is due to hit theaters tomorrow attached to the Abrams-produced Cloverfield, and will probably hit the web soon thereafter. Still, here's a tasty look at what to expect, with the U.S.S. Enterprise under construction. Now, this is probably a scene that was shot for the trailer and thus won't make it into the final film, but it still look neat. I hope it's not too long before we get some shots of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, etc. in costume as the Trek trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Year Later

It's hard to believe it was one year ago today that my life got a whole lot busier and a whole lot fuller. That was one heck of a week, one that included defending my thesis, starting a new job, and moving. But Hamza being born was the highlight. I've learned a lot about myself over the past year, but most importantly I've learned just how much I have to learn. I have a feeling I'll still be learning long after Hamza has started his learning.

I know the posting has been a bit infrequent for the past month, but between the holidays and the generally crappy state of political news it's been hard to get too motivated. But I'll be ramping up soon with my takes on the unfolding primaries, as well as movie news and reviews, including a look at the return of a war-weary Vietnam vet to cinemas in a few short weeks...