Thursday, June 22, 2017

I guess as long as you don't know any of these people it's okay

Senate Republican leadership released their "healthcare" bill today. The bill would dismantle Obamacare protections and deprive millions of health insurance. It would also end Medicaid as we know it. The program would be phased out over a number of years as the new bill cuts funding, causing it to eventually fail.

My 71 year old Mother, who had hip replacement surgery today, depends on Medicaid. Without it, she could never have afforded to have the hip replaced and would spend the rest of her life in pain, nearly immobile. Her quality of life would have been severely compromised and her life shortened.

This is what Republicans have in store for all who depend on the rest of us for their health and their very lives. This horror is a rejection of our shared humanity.

Here are the people who depend on Medicaid.

Gee, that doesn't seem like such an important thing at all, does it?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cars 3

We're Pixar fans and have never missed a Pixar film in theaters, so over the weekend we saw Cars 3. I like the original Cars well enough, though it's near the bottom of the great Pixar lineup, but Cars 2, focusing on Mater as a "man who knew too much" unintentional spy, was pretty terrible. From the trailers, it looked like Cars 3 would have a different tone from the first two, so I was interested.

Turns out, it did have a different tone than the first two. The plot takes the Cars story an unknown number of years beyond the first two films, with Lightning McQueen now the venerable racing champ, being unexpectedly supplanted by younger, faster new cars. McQueen coming to terms with his age and limitations after a terrible crash, takes him to new sponsors and trainers, and one last race to prove that he's still a champ. Basically, this is a Rocky story.

The Cars franchise has always been Pixar's most child-friendly property, but about halfway through the movie I realized that there wasn't nearly the usual amount of silliness or a great deal of humor. The story was definitely more serious than the previous films and the subject matter more geared towards adults. The original kid-friendly characters, including Mater, are absent for long chunks of the story as McQueen trains for his big race.  I found myself wondering if the story would even work for kids.

(Now, I don't want to give the wrong impression. There is a good amount of humor and silliness, but the balance is not the same as in the previous films.)

You may remember that in the original film, Paul Newman voiced McQueen's foil, then mentor, Doc Hudson. Newman died before the second film was completed, so he doesn't appear in Cars 2 other than a quick mention. In this new film, Doc Hudson and his relationship to Lightning McQueen are a major part of the story with a number of flashbacks and dream conversations between the two. They apparently had some unused audio from Newman, because he's credited as voicing Doc Hudson. I found those scenes very effective and even touching.

So was it any good? I have to admit that I enjoyed it. It's certainly better than the second one and only another viewing will tell me whether it holds up better than the first one. I hope it's the end of the Cars movies, as the trilogy tells a complete story and doesn't need any followup. But hey, they're doing Toy Story 4, so there's no hope they'll stop now.

Two more quick points.

Lots of people complained about Cars because it steals the plot from Doc Hollywood and I've heard the same complaints about this movie and its similarity to the Rocky sequels. I won't deny that the plots are very similar. But you know what? Stories are more often than not based on previous stories and since these are kids movies, I think that matters very little here. How many kids will have seen Doc Hollywood or the Rocky movies?

And finally, after the first Cars, the rundown, forgotten town on Route 66 where the story takes place experiences a renaissance due to McQueen's fame. That renaissance is still in full view at the beginning and end of the second movie. But in this movie, Radiator Springs seems once again to have become tattered and forgotten. Was this an oversight, or were the filmmakers making a specific point about the fleeting nature of fame by condemning the town to obscurity once again? In either case, I found it a little sad.

Monday, June 19, 2017

There are more than just Republicans in America

As you know if you pay attention, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took over a year from introduction until passage. The legislation underwent dozens of public hearings, markups by both parties, days of open floor debate, consultation with hundreds of outside shareholders, and more. Republicans were allowed to propose amendments, and some of them passed. Despite this, for years Republicans have claimed that Democrats somehow "crammed Obamacare down Americans' throats." And way too many people repeat the lie.

Now, in an act of utter hypocrisy, Senate leadership is crafting their version of the Trumpcare bill to repeal Obamacare in complete secrecy. They're not even allowing other Republicans to see it, and have shut out interested medical professionals and Health and Human Services from having any input. That's because they know that if the details get out, public backlash will put pressure on them not to pass it.

Tonight, the Senate Democrats are trying to bring the draft bill out into the open with a Senate floor talk-a-thon.  Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut had this to say:
My constituents, even though they're represented by Democrats, have no less rights than the citizens of Iowa or the citizens of Texas who are represented by Republicans. Why are my constituents not allowed to see the details of what's about to happen to their lives? Why are only a select group of Americans able to have a voice inside that room? Why are the people of Connecticut going to get like three minutes to look at this bill once it hits the senate floor? My constituents are Americans just like the constituents in Republican states are Americans.They deserve to know what's about to happen to them. You're breaking the Senate. And it won't get put back together that easily. 
Damn straight. Double damn straight. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's not making America Great Again, it's destroying America. And if you think this is anything like when Obamacare was passed, you're also wrong, wrong, wrong. Empirically and utterly wrong.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Praise from Useless Idiots

This is absolutely pathetic. And nauseating.

At Trump's first meeting with his full Cabinet today, instead of getting down to business, he had each of them go around the table and PRAISE HIM on live television.  (As you read below, imagine if President Obama had done the same thing and what the Republican reaction would have been.)

Here are a few of the comments made by these leaders of men, these towers of intellect and integrity, these thoughtful public servants, knowledgeable and aware of the state of the country and the world.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (referring to his delayed Senate confirmation)
"First of all, I apologize for being late to work. I got bogged down in that swamp that you've been trying to drain."
Energy Secretary Rick Perry
"America is not stepping back, but we're stepping into place and sending some messages, that we're still going to be leaders in the world when it comes to the climate, but we're not going to be held hostage to some executive order that was ill thought out. And so, my hat's off to you for taking that stance and presenting a clear message around the world that America's going to continue to lead in the area of energy."
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
"It's a new day at the United Nations. You know, we now have a very strong voice. People know what the United States is for, they know what we're against, and they see us leading across the board. And so, I think the international community knows we're back."
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney
"Thanks for the kind words about the budget. You're absolutely right: We are going to be able to take care of the people who really need it. And at the same time, with your direction, we were able to also focus on the forgotten man and woman who are the folks who are paying those taxes."
Vice President Mike Pence
"It is just the greatest privilege of my life is to serve as the -- as vice president to the President who's keeping his word to the American people and assembling a team that's bringing real change, real prosperity, real strength back to our nation."
Let's see. Over 140 days in office. No legislative accomplishments. The courts striking down his ill-conceived illegal executive orders. Multiple members of his team, including his Attorney General and his son-in-law, under investigation for ties to Russia. Our alliances teetering on collapse because of Trump's boorish behavior and his inability to not spill intelligence secrets. His White House in collapse with many people already fired or quit. His former FBI Director testifying that the President obstructed justice. The only thing he actually got done was naming a new Supreme Court Justice but Senate Republicans were set to confirm even a dog Trump named so long as that dog was anti-abortion. (And even then the Republicans had to CHANGE THE RULES OF THE SENATE to get it done.)

So either these awesome folk are COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF THE SHITSHOW that has been the Trump Administration so far, or they are just sycophantic enablers of our delusional, narcissistic Commander in Thief, hoping that by praising him publicly he won't throw them under the bus when given the chance.

That chance is coming soon and this sickening display of North Korean style brown-nosing will not save them. Or us.

Don't worry, this is another promise he won't keep

After former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, Hair Furor Trump made a very stupid promise.

President Donald Trump said he was “100 percent” willing to testify under oath about his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, who claims the president inappropriately pressured him to drop an investigation.
"One-hundred percent, under oath,” Trump said Friday in response to a reporter’s question.

First of all, as he's a pathological liar, NO ONE (except Congressional Republicans and his delusional true-believers) actually believe Trump would tell the truth, even under oath.

Second of all,

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Great Companion Makes for a Great Show

This is Bill, played by Pearl Mackie.

Bill is a wonderful, fun character. Just absolutely delightful. 

This is The Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi. 

The Doctor is timeless, funny, and always fantastic.

This is Bill and the Doctor, running from danger.

Bill is the Doctor's companion for this season of Doctor Who. And the two of them are absolutely joyous together.

That is all. (Oh, and Pearl Mackie rules.) Now that is all.

Attempted fratricide

I saw this opinion cartoon on USA Today yesterday (reprinted from the Detroit Free Press) and I've been trying to parse out its message. It seems to be saying that the success of the movie Wonder Woman, or maybe the fictional exploits of Wonder Woman, is being given misplaced attention. That the single mom on the right is the real Wonder Woman and that the movie is  . . . what?

See, as a non-conservative, I have a lot of sympathy and respect for the woman being portrayed on the right. I think society should help her by providing a livable minimum wage, affordable childcare, workplace protections and food and healthcare assistance if necessary. Yes, call her a wonder woman and I won't object.

But I also recognize the symbolic importance of the figure on the left. How Wonder Woman is the first, modern, superhero movie starring a woman and how this provides vital representation for little girls (and women) everywhere who want to see themselves as strong, smart, capable, and on the screen, saving the world just like the guy superheroes have been doing forever. The Wonder Woman movie may be just a movie, but what it represents is LONG overdue and vital for our future.

This cartoonist is attempting to play these ideas off each other. He's trying to say that Wonder Woman the movie isn't important. This is the same argument you get from people complaining about women becoming CEOs, and Senators, and running for President; who cares if women are underrepresented in government and business when there are other, bigger problems women face? It's how you get arguments that women shouldn't worry about not having voting rights or freedom of choice, because, hey, some women somewhere in the world are actually enslaved.

You can have both. You can be concerned about all these issues at the same time and work on all of them at the same time. Or you can work on the issues where you can have an impact. It's not helpful (or rational) to portray every bit of progress as unimportant because another, bigger injustice is happening elsewhere.

In the end, the argument espoused by this cartoon is a repudiation of all progress.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Wonder Woman

On Friday night we saw Wonder Woman, DC's latest attempt at producing a non-sucky superhero film, their last success being 2008's The Dark Knight. The recent reboot cycle, including Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Suicide Squad, have all been dark, depressing and badly written.

So how was Wonder Woman? Great! Gal Gadot is delightful in the title role, obviously having a fantastic time and portraying Wonder Woman as spirited, highly principled, intelligent, and in all ways fantastic. Her infallible sense of what's right is a huge part of her character and the key to her appeal. She is also ably supported by a fun group of guys, with Chris Pine in the lead, whose slack-jawed amazement at her skills is a joy. This movie is so much the opposite of what DC has done before, I really hope the studio gets the message here; superhero movies should, as a general rule, be FUN.

Anyway, I thought the final battle missed a bit of the mark because the action turned into a giant CGI slugfest, but boy did I enjoy the rest. And especially Gal Gadot.

If you're a fan of the modern superhero movie, this movie has the most in common with probably my favorite Marvel film, Captain America: The First Avenger. The setting in WW is World War I, very similar to CA:TFA's World War II setting, and at the heart of both movies is a wonderful, earnest, fun character who always try to do the right thing.

DC finally has a winner.

The Paris Agreement

I'll have more to say. But for now . . .

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ugly American Visits Places

Let's do a short visual recap of Trump's Amazing Adventures in the Middle East and Europe!

Saudi Arabia
Notice Trump's closed eyes.

Which, thanks to the Internet, became:


Ouch, Trump slap!

The Vatican

Notice how absolutely miserable the Pope looks.

Which, thanks to the Internet, became:


And finally, Trump pushes aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro to get to the front for a picture.

Arrogant Asshole, Making America Great Again, but now around the world!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dignity and Eloquence

Yesterday, Trump visited a Holocaust memorial in Israel, Yad Vashem. They have a guest book for visiting dignitaries. 

President Obama visited Yad Vashem in 2013. Here's what he wrote in the book:
I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man's potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim 'never again.' And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.
Here's what "President" Trump wrote:
It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends —so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!
Really surprised there isn't a "Wooo!!! US Electoral College 2016!!" in there.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To: Trump Voters

I know that many of you voted for Trump because you believe he's business savvy and that he'll create jobs and grow the economy.  I'm sorry to tell you but . . .

you've been had.

According to the budget the Administration released today, not only is Trump trying to kill Medicaid, but he wants to cut billions of dollars from other programs that help lower income Americans, like food stamps, healthcare (of course), and programs that divert billions of dollars INTO the economy, spurring economic growth. But he is trying to give massive tax cuts to billionaires, which they don't need and can't possibly spend.

Here's the truth. Donald Trump does not care about you. He does not want to help you. He is going out of his way to actively harm you and your family. And you voted for him.

You've been tricked, bamboozled, scammed, cheated, swindled, conned, lied to, hoodwinked, duped and taken advantage of.

Because Donald Trump cares about no one but himself. He wouldn't cross the street to pee on you if you were on fire. And the reality is that even if he did want to help you, he couldn't. Because he's also stupid, incompetent, ignorant and inexperienced.

So either way, you're screwed, as are we all.

Thanks for that.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Credit where it's due

Okay, I have something positive to say about Donald Trump.

For decades, there have been playful/serious theories that real, live aliens have visited Earth, likely during the 1940s or 50s. It's been speculated that this is known at the top levels of our government and that the secret, literally our biggest secret, is passed on to each new President.

I am 100% certain now that this idea is absolutely untrue. Because if aliens had visited, and the U.S. government knew about it, and Trump was briefed, there is a 100% chance that he would have spilled the beans by now. He just can't help himself. There is no way that he would not have bragged about it to someone (probably the Russians).

So, Trump has proven beyond a doubt that the U.S. government is not covering up any alien contact.

Trump at least has given us that.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ipecac is back from vacation - 2017 edition

Hi everyone! We're back from Disney World. We flew back into DC on Thursday evening on a nice, on-time, uneventful flight.

We had a great time, as expected. Disney goes out of its way to make everything accessible to those with limited mobility, so after a few initial bumps of our own making, we had no trouble getting my Mom around. While it's easy to get wheelchairs once you're in the parks, the hotels and bus system are a different story. Happily, the hotel recommended several local businesses that rent wheelchairs and deliver them right to the hotel. We acquired a four day rental for my Mom on Sunday morning and never had another issue.

I'll post some thoughts and experiences later. I learned some things on this trip.

Did anything happen while I was gone?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ipecac is traveling!

We're going to . . . well, you know.

Yes, starting tomorrow night, the family and I will be at Disney World. My Mom is 70 years old and doesn't travel much, so we're flying her in to meet us for a six day visit. As you may know if you've read this blog, we love the Disney parks.

I've updated the page to feature my Instagram feed in the sidebar. Keep an eye out for some pictures. If you're on Instagram, my ID is tasteofipecac.

I'll try to post now and again while I'm gone, but most of the action will be Instagram pictures.

Privileged victims

Did you know that in America, it's not blacks, or Muslims, or immigrants, or trans people or any other group that are the most discriminated against?

According to Republicans, it's Christians, with whites not too far behind.

How far up your ass does your head have to be for you to believe this?

Oh, that far.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Guardian of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

It was great. Go see it.

Okay, the plot wasn't as tight as the first one and I thought the more generous use of location shooting in the first one gave that movie a slightly more "realistic" feel. But those are minor quibbles and only underscore how great the first movie was also. #2 was funny, touching, exciting and just an enjoyable time at the movies. I can't wait to see it again.

Oh, and Regal Germantown? The sound system in most of your theaters SUCKS. All the sound was coming from the front. I am not coming back until you fix this problem.

Oh, and Thanks for the Sh!t Sandwich!

Today, Trump fired the man most directly responsible for putting him in the White House, FBI Director James Comey, whose announcement about a "reopening" of the Clinton email investigation 11 days before the election gave Trump the electoral college victory.

James Comey is an asshat and I'm glad to see him go. His partisan unprofessionalism will always be remembered as the key factor in electing the criminal-in-chief, the most corrupt, incompetent and terrible President we've seen in my lifetime.

The White House's reason, given after the firing, was that Comey didn't follow through in prosecuting Hillary over the e-mail non-scandal. That's obviously a smokescreen, while Comey's lead of the investigation into Trump's Russia connections is a much more likely reason. Hilariously, the White House apparently thought that firing Comey would not create controversy. Like they are in everything else, they were wrong.

So long, Comey. You will not be missed.

As for a replacement for Comey? I'm guessing Trump's thinking of Himmler.

Friday, May 05, 2017

They love it when a plan comes together

Just look at these smug assholes celebrating the taking away of healthcare from millions of Americans, sentencing millions of people to bankruptcy, sickness and death.

See, it's funny because it hurts poor people!

(It also will crush the American economy, skyrocket the deficit, make America even more of an international pariah, destabilize families, lower life expectancy, increase all healthcare costs, and result in pain for ALL AMERICANS, including the rich.)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lose, Lose

The news media is apparently composed of idiots. Many of them treated today's ridiculous House vote to "repeal and replace" Obamacare like it was a huge win for Republicans and, especially, Trump.

Passing this bill was a win for no one except the rich.

Make no mistake, this terrible law will have a very difficult time getting through the Senate and will likely be completely changed before it does, so it's not really even a "win" for Republicans yet, despite their celebrations. But if it does get passed and signed into law, here's what happens:

And why did they do this to their own constituents? Two reasons.

Reason # 1:

Reason #2:

The AHCA will give $594 billion in tax breaks to the very rich over ten years. The wealthiest 400 households in America would get average tax breaks of $7 million each. Link

Throwing older, sicker and poorer Americans under the bus, TO BANKRUPTCY, SICKNESS AND DEATH, is because Republicans hate Obama and want to give more money to people who already have more than they can possibly spend in their lifetimes.

This vote today was probably the most immoral political event I've seen in my lifetime.

And this is the reason this wasn't a win for House Republicans. Every one of them MUST be thrown out in 2018. They MUST pay for this vote. Make them pay. If you vote for any of these monsters, you are complicit in this crime against humanity,

Oh, and Trump? If he signed the bill that was passed today, he would break almost every single promise about healthcare he made during his campaign.

Try not to act too surprised.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Welcome Back, Jack!

In the early 2000s, I faithfully watched Cartoon Network's awesome show by Genndy Tartakovsky, Samurai Jack. The show, Samurai Jack, was about a Samurai (named, not surprisingly, Jack) thrown into the future by an evil demon named Aku who, in Jack's absence, took over the world. The miserable future dystopia where Jack lands is ruled by Aku. Jack's goal was simple, get back to the past and destroy Aku, thus changing the future.

Samurai Jack ran for fifty-two episodes and was cancelled by Cartoon Network before the story was done. There was talk of a theatrical movie for a long time, but that never came together. Finally, in March, Samurai Jack returned to Cartoon Network for ten serialized episodes to finish the story.

The original show was a unique accomplishment in animation and could rightly be called a masterpiece. The animation was gorgeous and incredibly stylized. Dialogue was often minimal, the animators telling the stories through the images and sound effects alone, which gave the show a very Zen feel. Aku the demon was voiced by the late, great Mako, who was clearly having a blast with the role. And finally, there was Jack, voiced by Phil Lamarr. Ever steady, ever the hero, calmly doing everything he could to save the world. I loved it.

The new season is on Adult Swim and it's still as fantastic as ever. Mako has been replaced by Greg Baldwin who performs a great homage. The only difference in the story is that it's now geared a little more towards adults. The seven episodes that have aired so far have dealt with Jack's despair at failing to find a way back to the past, the loss of his magic sword, his thoughts of suicide, and his first killing of another human. (In the original show, he only killed Aku's robot minions.)  Samurai Jack is haunting, beautiful, hopeful, occasionally silly, often very funny, and wonderful.

I'm so glad it's back.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Harley is the hero we all need

And now, something wonderful for once.

A young Jyn Erso cosplayer, Harley, attended the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando last week with her equally awesome father. And not only was Harley adorable, but she was on a mission. She had data plans for the Death Star and spent the convention handing out the plans to every Princess Leia she came across.

Go read the rest of the article here. And be prepared for a little gut punch of a tribute at the end.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Guess who's coming to dinner

So this happened.

That's Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, Grabby McTinyHands, and two women with low self-esteem. As a reminder of just one of the charming facts about this group, Ted Nugent once called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and said he should be hung.

I'm reminded of President Kennedy's famous quote.
I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when President Obama's dog, Bo, took a crap on the East Room floor.

I feel ill just thinking about these lowlife, ignorant assholes infecting the Oval Office. What a disgrace.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

So long, Asshole!

Bill O'Reilly, along with Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the horrible people behind right-wing media, is responsible for decades of propaganda that convinced not so smart people that Republican politicians are better at defense, better for the economy, better at protecting freedom, that democrats are unpatriotic and un-American, that immigrants and minorities are responsible for everything that's wrong in their lives, and that climate change is not real. All of those things are empirically wrong. O'Reilly is a sexist, racist, nasty piece of work, and he's one of the primary reasons America is so screwed up and divided right now.

And today he's out of his cushy job at FOX News.

Please note that he's out not because he's a serial harasser of women, which he is. He's out because he was costing FOX too much money and attracting too much bad publicity. Plus, everyone at FOX apparently hates him as much as I do.

Fare thee well, O'Reilly. Here's hoping that you land on your feet after this setback -- right in the path of a bus.