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Obama Administration Cannot Hide the Past- MIT Economist, Gruber, not a Mere “Consultant” on Obamacare

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Even Obama’s campaign site highlighted several newspaper quotes referring to Gruber as the “architect” of Romneycare, then declaring that Obamacare was a direct descendent of the Massachusetts law. Going as far as to quote a news story where Gruber is listed as one of the author’s of the Obamacare law itself! Why quote editorials claiming as such if they want to deny that’s precisely what he was? We know Gruber was one of the main guys who crafted the bill, and we know they’re being dishonest when they claim not to know who he is or that he was some small potatoes guy amongst many bigger players.

The question now becomes…was the administration and/or democrats in the house dishonest in the way the bill was passed?

Three points of evidence suggest Gruber’s platitudes were indicative of the way in which Pelosi and others thought of the bill..

1) Pelosi famously admitted she never read the bill and stated, “we have to pass this law to find out what’s in it.” That alone suggests that she had no idea what was in the bill, and the demand to push it through in the quickest fashion possible, with little debate, had rather dishonest intentions.

2) The CBO scoring of the bill itself was dishonest, With the doc fix in place, it lowered the costs substantially. It was the only way to convince the public this was anything but a terrible idea. Give the CBO dishonest cost figures and they score it in a way more positive to the president. Even democrats now admit that it was written to push costs off into the future to obfuscate the true costs for the first ten years.

3) When SCOTUS heard the case on the individual mandate…the attorney for the Obama administration Donald Verrilli got a big laugh when he kept accidentally referring to the “penalty” for not having purchased health insurance as a “tax.” At one point, Verrilli argued with Justice Alito as to why he couldn’t get his story straight, the Obama administration promised that it was a “penalty” and not a “tax.” In court, Verrilli first argued it was not a tax, but rather a penalty, but soon changed that to claim it was, indeed, a “tax.” In fact, the court only ruled the individual mandate was constitutional in that it was a tax, and fell under the federal government’s right to tax the citizens.

The facts seem pretty clear here…no one on the left had any intention of passing the bill in any sort of transparent or honest manner. It was a liberal goal to ensure a healthcare system closer to the socialist spectrum than the capitalist flavor…one that “spread the wealth” as the administration likes to say, one that demanded wealth be transferred from the young and healthy to the poor and sick. The American people weren’t dealt an honest hand in the way this law was passed, and because of that, we all suffer. Gruber merely stated honestly what too many others were afraid to admit in public.

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My Almost Education: University of North Carolina, School of the Arts

I graduated high school in 1997. I’m old. Okay, not as old as some folks, but still- I feel pretty old, and when I think about how long ago I graduated high school…well, it’s just kind of depressing. It was probably my junior year when I started looking into colleges. I knew I wanted to become a Hollywood filmmaker, or at least a non-Hollywood filmmaker if that’s all the success I could muster, so I looked only for film schools around the country. This was before the internet had a lot of stuff on it really. I mean, finding college information, prices, pictures, program information, all of that stuff was pretty much done by seeing a flyer on a bulletin board or going to the guidance counselor’s office and flipping through all the books they had listing all the colleges in the country. I found a flyer about a new school (not so new it turns out) called North Carolina School of the Arts (now known as UNC School of the Arts), and I knew I had go to there. In 1997 they built a studio backlot and studio village, along with a new theater, some sound effects studios, post production labs, etc. I knew nothing of filmmaking outside of my two years in mass media in high school, and even that was mostly really terrible commercials and silly video projects. In fact, most of that class was sitting in a computer lab watching cable TV (the fact that they had cable TV hooked into a classroom amazed us) and eating Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bars while drinking sodas from the machine downstairs of the industrial arts building, using the computer programs that turn text to voice to make that scary computer voice say really awful and perverted stuff. “I just pooped on the desk next to me” seems hilarious when you’re 16 and it’s being said by a stilted robot voice.

I had no idea what I would do as a real life adult, only that I wanted to make movies and hopefully a shit ton of money in the process. I found North Carolina School of the Arts in one of the college books in the counselor’s office, and that was my plan. I had no idea how I’d pay the tuition, but screw that, that was my parents job to worry about. Or so I thought. I was assured repeatedly by my dear mother that I could go to college, and that somehow, some way they would find a way to pay for it, and that was that. Well, as it turns out, I delayed college by a small number of years (actual number: 11 years), so things didn’t work out as planned. Mostly I pussied out. I was super shy (still am to an extent), and that meant this insane fear of ever going to a college campus, let alone going, registering for classes, showing up to said classes, passing those classes, meeting tons of new people in those classes, and basically not losing my fucking mind. I found that idea too hard to swallow, and it’s a God damned shame, because I just read a list where UNC School of the Arts film school was listed as one of the top in the country, and when I dug further, I saw that it was, indeed, 1997 when the studio backlot was built, which would have been my freshman year. That and they actually used film back in those days. What joy that would’ve been.

I eventually went to “film school” here in Bowling Green, Kentucky (I was always, as a boy, told by my peers that in Kentucky everyone married their brothers or sisters) at WKU. The program had none of the cool stuff that UNCSA had (no sweet looking Hollywood type movie cameras, no big lighting rigs, and certainly no Hollywood-esque backlot), but it was a decent enough experience in its own right. Then I somehow, at some point, shifted toward economics (I have two degrees- one in film production the other in economics, and I’m currently enrolled in a masters of applied economics program here at WKU), and that’s my main goal for now…be something in the field of economics, God only knows what. It just struck me as odd that things could have been so very different. I might call Hollywood home…perhaps even North Carolina (it turned out they started shooting a lot of TV and movies in North Carolina soon after I would have finished school there), and I might have had a completely different experience. No use dwelling on what might have been, obviously, but it’s an interesting story nonetheless. Or perhaps not, and you didn’t make this far. In which case, I’m really disappointed in you.

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Rethinking US Immigration Policy: Why an Open Border Would Lead to an Economic Boon (Full Article)

Rethinking US Immigration Policy:
Why an Open Border Would Lead to an Economic Boon

Joshua Taj Bozeman
2014

ABSTRACT
In this paper, I argue that the current immigration policy of the United States federal government is not only hurting the economy, but that if we opened the borders entirely, we could see an economic boon unlike any seen since the early 20th century, at a time when we welcomed millions to our shores, most of whom built the American economy we know today. This paper argues that a policy shift is in order, and that unless we do something drastic, we might be stuck in a permanent state of recession, and the old hope for a 4% increase in the economy will be a thing of the past. The solution to the fledgling economy could very well be found in an open border policy, one that is fair to new Americans and old alike, one that secures our safety and liberty, all while heralding in a new economic boon that hasn’t been since in nearly a hundred years.

DOWNLOAD FULL PAPER (PDF)
3,732 words

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GOOGLEMAPS

The Roadtrip Part 1

GOOGLEMAPS
So, I’m off to North Carolina tomorrow morning. I decided a couple of weeks ago to take whatever money I would need in gas ($106 according to gasbuddy.com) and visit my old roommate, Aaron. Haven’t seen the fella since last May when he graduated and moved away, so I figure, what the hell. I’ve decided to leave at 4AM to arrive near noon in Charlotte, NC. My nifty google maps printout is above…fancy paper, only because I ran out of normal paper, so the 24lb blue parchment will have to do. I downloaded AMERICAN PSYCHO in audiobook…apparently a full ten hours of material. The drive is a little less than 8…or a little more than 7 depending on whom you ask- google or others. I also downloaded CLIVE BARKER’S BOOKS OF BLOOD series. I know how my brain works- excited at first, then bored about halfway through. I’ve been to Charlotte before on a trip when I was…I dunno about 20 or so, with my mom and my brother when he moved out there for about a six month stint, only to hate the living situation and move back.

I have no idea why I’m writing this, as I highly doubt anyone even reads this blog anymore. I barely ever remember it exists, so doubtful anyone else does. I might try to update a couple of times. I might even take my camera if that’s not too lame. I hate being that guy taking pics…I’d totally use my phone, which had a decent camera, until the other day when inexplicably the lens of the camera got scratched all to hell when I slept. I still can’t figure out how that happened…it still takes pics, but it looks as if every pic was taken from a foggy sauna from the eyes of a person with terrible blurred vision.

I figure I’m out for now. I screwed up my schedule due to the hours I worked today, so I’m off to sleep soon, set my alarm for 320AM. I’ll either be pleased or hate my life. Guess we’ll see soon enough…

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10th Grade (Book by Joseph Weisberg)

Joseph Weisberg's 10th Grade

Joseph Weisberg’s 10th Grade is total high school nostalgia

So, they opened this Half Price book store in town, and my roommates and I have gone several times. Mostly because, well, we’re boring, and where else are we going to go, and also because it’s kind of an awesome place. Where else can you leave with a bag full of books, having spent all of five bucks in the process, while perhaps picking up a DVD (or ten) as well? So, I’m going through the novels, mostly because I love books, I love having books (even if I take forever to get through a stack of them), and I tend to read a lot, especially now that classes are temporarily over for the winter break and all…so I find 10th Grade, a curious book that hovers near young adult fiction, but seems too adult to truly fall into the category. Great find.

It’s written from the point of view of high school sophomore Jeremy, a kid who, like many kids, is still sort of trying to figure himself out and his place in the world. He plays soccer but isn’t really a jock, and he doesn’t hang out with a lot of people…until he meets up with a group of kids most would call “outcasts” in some manner. They cuss, they smoke, the girls wear lipstick and black stockings (and have pointy breasts), and he finds that he feels like he belongs. I’m around halfway through so far, and it’s, well- it’s rather delightful to be honest. The writing style is unique (is that even truly possible?) in that it’s written as if Jeremy is telling you the story himself…so lots of grammar errors, run-on sentences, and very few commas to be found. Weisberg goes a fantastic job of capturing the teen voice, so far as I can remember what the teen voice sounds like all those many years ago, but it feels genuine. Maybe it feels genuine in an adult way looking back to the teenaged years, and maybe that’s okay. You can’t help but like Jeremy, and though his circumstances are quite different than mine, I can’t help but live through him, hoping I get the girl in the end, hoping also not to make too much of a fool of myself with these new friends and our new journeys.

The book is genuinely funny. I have laughed out loud several times while reading, and most of it comes from Jeremy’s inner dialogue when he comes up with some crazy view on some issue (like Shakespeare- see below) or how he would save the hot girl if a gunman came into the mall where he was stuck in The Limited, oddly looking at girl’s sweaters when she happened to walk in and stand next to him.

Here’s what Jeremy has to say about how absurd the plot is to Romeo and Juliet:

Unless we take a wrong turn somewhere down the road, I’m pretty sure this is going in the “highly recommend” category. Hope to find more books in the same vein, because like the book Fat Kid Rules the World (which I read earlier this year and loved), it feels like I could completely turn this into a film one day. Maybe…

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All Hallow’s Eve (2013) DVD Review

All Hallow's Eve

Let me just start off by saying that All Hallow’s Eve is, as you might guess, horrendous. It’s not scary, it’s unnecessarily brutal, and it serves little purpose even existing at all.

The movie features a babysitter and two young kids…brother and sister, who just returned from a night of trick or treating on Halloween. In his treat bag, the boy finds a VHS tape. He’s 11, but somehow knows exactly what it is as soon as he sees it. Now, first off you’re thinking, wow- the writer has blatantly ripped off the entire premise of the also terrible horror anthology, V/H/S and it’s sequel V/H/S 2. The kid begs the babysitter to play the video, she argues they’re too young, he says they see worse on the internet (probably true), so she plays it. The kids watch the first of three frame stories on the tape with the babysitter…they are put to bed after story 1, and the babysitter finishes the last two alone while waiting for the kids’ parents to return home.

There are bits of homage to past horror films, especially Night of the Living Dead, which is playing on the TV before they start the VHS. You have to wonder what family today even has a VCR, let alone one that’s still hooked up and ready to be used. Silly things like this don’t matter when you can’t write a story to begin with. To be fair, the wrap around story with the kids is the best part of it all. The main actress, despite the scowl she wears the entire movie, is decent enough, and the two kids are both adorable and probably the best actors of the entire movie. They have nice chemistry as bickering siblings and the dialogue here is pretty spot on. The rest of the dialogue, however, is stilted and badly written for the most part, even in the wrap around story.

There are three segments/short films in this “anthology” (tho all were written and directed by the same guy)the first one features the clown character in what seems like a bus stop. A woman is kidnapped…and well, not a lot happens. There’s too much brutal violence and zero scares, and the violence serves no greater purpose than simply being there. The second story is even worse and includes what I assume are aliens and a terrible actress who screams a lot and falls down every ten seconds. The third and final story is the best, though it’s still pretty terrible. Again, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and no scares to be had here. All ending with a ridiculous special effects scene that should have never been included in any film, not only because it’s unnecessarily violent and semi-sexist (it’s weird stuff), but because it looks so insanely fake and dumb.

The wrap around story has a nice twist ending, but I won’t spoil what little fun might be had here. Thank God this movie was less than $10, because it’s not even worth that. I suspect writer and director Damien Leone has a future career of poorly written direct to video DVD releases, but then again, there’s really only one direction he could go from here, and that’s up. I will say one thing, the clown character is well done, the actor gives him nice movement, and his mannerisms are truly very creepy. If given better material to work with, even some of the really violent stuff would have made sense, given a few scares. There’s just nothing here to work with.

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The Quiet Earth (1985) movie poster

The Quiet Earth (1985) Review and Thoughts

So, I was one of those youtube videos where someone had posted the full movie…forget which movie it was, but on the sidebar, I saw the movie “The Quiet Earth.” The info. said it was a New Zealand film from 1985 about a couple of survivors in a post-apocalyptic earth. Sounded interesting enough, so I downloaded it, added it to my Plex watchfolder to stream to my TV later on. Last night, I finally watched it, and let’s just say it was well worth it. An underrated film, no doubt, one that I’d wager few people have even heard of. Perhaps it’s because it’s from New Zealand, or maybe people just hated it back in the day? Who knows.

Our main character wakes up in bed, at home, and something is weird. He knows it, but he can’t quite place it. He gets ready for work, starts to make his commute, and he notices there are no people around at all, cars and trucks are left abandoned in the streets, he comes to a house and tries to get someone to answer, the water is spraying from the faucet, the bed has been used, but the inhabitants are nowhere to be found. A very effective setup to the film, eerie and lonely; we’re likely to see some weird stuff soon. We discover that he works at some sort of secret base, technology everywhere you look, 80′s era computer screens, old printers, doors that go swoosh as the open, a futuristic looking place, maybe military in nature, but definitely a place where secret work is taking place. We find out that what has happened was probably part of some program they were working on with the Americans called Project Flashlight- he doesn’t really explain fully what it is, outside of it being an energy grid set up around the planet, part of it allowing planes to refuel via electrons in the air (at least that’s what I gathered from his various explanations). An interesting idea, very thought provoking, very well done execution.

He realizes he’s the only one left, so he does the regular crazy stuff- drives a car through the mall, loads up on goodies, takes residence in a mansion, records a message played on the radio station to others, “My name is Zach…you can reach me at…” hoping others left alive will reach out to him. He slowly goes mad, decides he’s either President of the world or God, or both. I won’t say much else about the plot, but to mention that it’s all very well done. The locations are great, the empty streets all over make it truly feel post-apocalyptic, the acting is pretty spot on, and the story constantly makes you think about all sorts of issues.

It made me think a lot about these sorts of situations in general. How would we react if we thought we were the only ones alive on earth? And furthermore, if we chose to live our full lives, what would be the best, safest route to doing so? Most of these films seem to imagine a world where buildings aren’t soon falling into the city streets, and that electricity stays on for weeks, perhaps months or longer? But, that can’t be true, right? It kept popping into my head- the electricity would turn off in fairly short order, I’d think, right? Somewhere electricity is produced and harnessed and sent out over powerlines. Someone has to keep the power stations open and working, someone has to ensure the generators keep turning, that they stay oiled, that things don’t overheat, etc. So, how long would power stay on? Our main character solves the power issue early in the film by driving around a truck-based generator. All well and good, but what about food? Surely, there are tons of junk food items and canned foods that would last for a couple years, and then you can easily garden your way to food…I kept trying to throw up roadblocks in my mind. I guess you could easily find gardening books at any book store, right?

So, you’d have food easy enough, and with generators and tons of gas stored in gas stations around the country, you’d be able to power it all well until your death and beyond…but wouldn’t nuclear power plants, no longer being taken care of, overheat and explode, throwing radiation into every part of the planet? Wouldn’t normal power plants explode too? Cities would be pretty deadly, as gas lines would eventually break and explode, skyscrapers would eventually fall over (that can’t be safe!), and all sorts of animals and disease would, no doubt, run rampant through the streets. So, it seems small towns or the country would be safest, but steer clear or places with lots of animals, I’d assume? So many questions, so many things few of us would ever know, having little expertise in a range of topics…but always a cool thought experiment. These movies are always fun in that you imagine yourself in the guy’s shoes, wondering how awesome it’d be to take over a city for a day, able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, no matter how insane. Like a real life version of Grand Theft Auto to the nth degree. It almost makes up for the fact that you’d never see another person again. Almost.

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