Wednesday, October 28, 2009


ABC has been kind enough to release around ten minutes from the pilot of its revived V series. While not unimpressive, there is a bit of "been there, done that" going on that's probably unavoidable given how much the original's iconography has been appropriated in the intervening quarter-century (I like the line about Independence Day that the writers threw in -- deliberately, no doubt). While there's been a swell of bad buzz ominously brewing around this offering, I'm still hoping they do something unique with what remains a truly great premise even after all these years.


This pic has been making its way around the web since late last week, but I wanted to make sure I acknowledged it before too much time passed. Witness the new incarnation of schlock-TV fave The A-Team, from the big screen adaptation hitting theaters next summer.

An A-Team feature is one of those things that's been promised/threatened for at least a decade now, and in principle it's actually not a bad prospect for a big screen redo. Let's face it, the 1980s series, a product of Stephen J. Cannell's TV assembly line, wasn't exactly Hemingway, but for four-and-a-half years it did provide a reliably entertaining hour of television chock-a-block full of guns, explosions and TV-safe violence, not to mention a regular forum for Mr. T to dispense his wisdom ("I pity the fool," and the like).

This one stars, from left to right, the suddenly-hot Bradley Cooper as Templeton "Faceman" Peck, UFC star "Rampage" Jackson as Bosco "B.A." Baracus, District 9 star Sharlto Copley as "Howling Mad" Murdock, and Liam Neeson doing a pretty convincing George Peppard as team leader John "Hannibal" Smith. Flick is being directed by Joe Carnahan, who did the terrific Narc a few years back, and his presence promises just enough grit to hopefully raise this above the usual summer blockbuster. Then again, it's the freakin' A-Team, so what the hell do I know.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On the Mark

Here's noted comic book and television writer Mark Evanier with his reflection on the partisan situation in Washington that's been so crippling to the health care fight as well as other Obama action items.

One of the many things that makes me optimistic about Obama succeeding with his agenda is that so much of the opposition is controlled either by looneys or by sane Republicans who are terrified of pissing off the looneys. Lately, there's been the perverse amusement of watching the teabagger crowd turn on Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina. Graham toes the Conservative line about 96% of the time but since that 4% involves partnering with John Kerry to do something about Climate Change, Graham is a traitor, a quisling, a RINO, a sell-out, a socialist, a fascist, an enemy of the people, etc. At a recent rally, he mentioned something about negotiating on some piece of legislation (health care, I think) and a woman jumped up and yelled, "God does not negotiate!"

Well no, He doesn't. That's because He's God and there's no one to negotiate with. He's also not a member of a minority party that doesn't have the votes to advance its own agenda very far. He can get His way without having to drum up swing votes.

Fruit bats like that lady do not typify the Republican party...but she may typify the kind of voter the G.O.P. doesn't dare alienate. I don't think there's much chance that Republicans will nominate Sarah Palin in 2012...but they're probably going to have to genuflect to her (or someone else who emerges to fill the same role) in much the same way that Democrats once had to kiss the feet of Jesse Jackson. No one wanted Jesse on the ticket but no one wanted to alienate his supporters.

My friends who voted for Obama are driven up the wall by the teabagger crowd that thinks Medicare is not a government program and by the birther crowd that thinks Obama is still being born in Kenya...and I'll admit those mobs are exasperating in their way. But think how annoying it would be to have Obama attacked by people with genuine issues. Or to have the Republican leadership not genuflecting to the nutcase right. There's a very sane, non-nutcase Conservative movement out there and if it ever got control of the Republican party, it might get something done.

Which doesn't mean the Democrats should get cocky. Right now, they're like the Yankees: Winning the occasional game because of the opposition's errors.

I've posted his entry in its entirety, but don't let that stop you from jumping over to Mark's blog and taking a look around.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Web Deficient

Last night's Daily Show looked at the ongoing attempts by the Republicans to vest themselves of their current image as the party of the rich, the old, and the white. Clearly this is an uphill battle, and not helping one bit is RNC chair Michael Steele, who at this point has become so comically hapless that I feel like he needs his own funny theme music to play whenever he shows up on those talking head shows. To wit, the ballyhooed debut of the spankin' new GOP website this week, which probably could have gone better.

Monday, October 05, 2009


There was something instructive about the ripple of joy that passed through Right Wing World last Friday, as news broke that my hometown of Chicago had lost out on its bid to host the '16 Olympic games.

Now, I would expect the natural level of investment most Americans had in hosting the Olympics was either general excitement or (more likely) general apathy. Heck, I'm a native Chicagoan myself, and my own feelings were probably somewhere in the middle. But the outright elation by those on the right was something else again.

From El Rushbo calling it "the worst day" of the Obama presidency to Glenn Beck saying it was "so, so sweet," all illusions of civility and common interest were tossed aside, and the petty nature of what passes for modern conservatism was suddenly stripped bare for all to see.

Suddenly, the "Loyal Opposition" had been reduced to the level of my two-year old, who snatches any toy from the hands of my eight-month old and throws it across the room rather than let him play with it. So invested was the anti-Obama crowd in its fervor that they applauded (literally!) any perceived failure, even one that would have benefited our country.

The sad part is that this underlying irrationality streches far beyond the Olympics, having already extended its tendrils into the interminable health care debate and beyond, and it has Paul Krugman asking:
How did one of our great political parties become so ruthless, so willing to embrace scorched-earth tactics even if so doing undermines the ability of any future administration to govern?
It's a good question, and Krugman posits his own theory at the link above.