The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced changes in the Oscars for next year to try to shorten the endless telecast and stop the plummeting TV ratings. For one thing, they’re going to give out all the awards to people who actually make the movies, like the editors and sound people, during the commercial breaks, so only celebrities will be seen (so much for the "arts and sciences.") They’re also introducing a new award for Best Popular Film, a kind of “people’s choice” award, to insure that at least one movie gets an award that more than five people have seen. This used to be known as the “Best Picture” Oscar, back when Hollywood knew how to make really good movies that audiences actually wanted to see. They should now change the name of the Best Picture Oscar to “Best Unpopular Picture.”
The cinema artiste types are in a snit, accusing the Oscars of selling out to commercialism. That’s hilarious, considering the Oscars were started back in the late ‘20s to boost ticket sales, burnish the movies’ sordid reputation, and give trinkets to directors and stars instead of raises. As Instapundit noted, the biography “Lion of Hollywood” quotes MGM boss Louis B. Mayer as saying, “I found that the best way to handle (filmmakers) was to hang medals all over them…If I got them cups and awards, they’d kill themselves to produce what I wanted. That’s why the Academy Award was created.” Or to quote a line from a really good and popular Best Picture winner, “Gone With The Wind,” “She said we could give ourselves airs, and get ourselves all slicked up like racehorses, but we were just mules in horse harness and we didn't fool anybody.”
Far be it from me to help out Hollywood (or to give the impression I care), but if you really want to stop hemorrhaging viewers, how about if you not only make the Oscars once again about movies people have actually seen, but also tell the stars that we don’t give a flying flip about their political opinions. Also inform the host (who had better not be Jimmy Kimmel again) that if I tune in to find out whether Clint Eastwood won anything, I don’t want to have to sit through 30 unfunny jokes about how stupid and evil I am for being a Republican before they tell me.
Speaking of the disconnect between the movie industry and the average viewer, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Sousa has a new documentary out called “Death of a Nation.” It draws parallels between the way Democrats reacted to Lincoln and Trump, as well as similarities between the Democratic Party and Europe’s racist and fascist movements. I assume Dinesh isn't counting on getting an Oscar anytime soon.
Among the professional movie critics at RottenTomatoes.com, all eleven viciously panned it and gave it an average rating of 1.9 stars out of 10. Among moviegoers, it has a 90% positive rating. It might set a new record for disparity of opinion between the critics and the public.
Of course, this is mostly just due to political polarization, or maybe people who agree with the movie’s message are giving it a higher rating than it would objectively deserve. There’s really only one way to know: go see it and decide for yourself.
If it helps persuade you, I’ll note that one of the surest signs that any movie is going to be entertaining is when all the professional critics really hate it.
NY Republican indicted
New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins turned himself in to the FBI after being indicted on insider trading charges. The feds claim he told his son that an MS drug developed by a company whose board he was on had proved ineffective, and his son sold over 1.3 million shares of stock before it became known.
Collins, who was the first legislator to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid, pleaded not guilty, called the charges false and meritless, and said he will fight them. He also plans to remain in office and will continue running for reelection to a fourth term. That seems like an impossible mission, and Democrats are smelling blood and hope to flip the seat. But he still has a good shot. It’s the most Republican district in New York, and Collins was reelected in 2016 by 34 points. Even with the indictment, oddsmakers would only change the seat from “solidly” Republican to “likely Republican.” His constituents just might give him the benefit of the doubt rather than give one more vote to Nancy Pelosi. Besides, it’s probably not a great time to ask Republican voters to put their trust in the FBI. Either way, another safe GOP seat just became another “race to watch.”
It's great to see Trump's lawyers "RESIST" Mueller!
This week, I expressed a strong opinion that President Trump should under no circumstances sit down with Robert Mueller for questioning. That view still stands. And after seeing the President’s lawyers making energized TV appearances on FOX News Wednesday night, I feel more confident that they really do have his back and that they’re perfectly aware the special counsel doesn’t have a case –- that it’s bogus, a house of cards resting on a “dossier” that we now know was unverified politically-motivated garbage used fraudulently to get a warrant to spy on an American citizen and, by extension, Trump –- and that Mueller has no authority to compel Trump to testify. They seem revitalized. They know the law and the Constitution are on their side.
And they have had enough of this.
In the name of transparency, the President and his legal team were completely responsive to the special counsel’s request for documents and have supplied about 1.5 million of them. Mueller already knows EVERYTHING there is to know about Trump’s campaign, much more than Trump himself does. The special counsel knows every email and text sent to or from everyone connected to the campaign, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew all the contacts made by the contacts of the contacts. He knows the date, time and duration of every meeting and has all the notes from all the meetings. He has hours and hours of testimony. He has detailed campaign financial records, phone records, travel records. He probably knows what everybody ordered for their room service breakfast at every hotel and what movies they paid to see in their rooms. Trump can’t possibly be responsive to questions in a way that tells him anything he doesn't already know. The only reason Mueller has for questioning him is to set him up for a perjury trap.
And that's easy! If they ask him about the Trump Tower meeting --- the purpose of the meeting, and whether or not he knew about it in advance --- there’s nothing he can say that doesn’t contradict what someone else (or he) has said at some point. So Mueller can choose not to believe him, even if his testimony is truthful. That appears to have been the sort of thing that happened to Michael Flynn.
“My thoughts, and my view of the Constitution, is they don’t have the right to ask any of these questions,” said Jay Sekulow in Wednesday’s appearance with Laura Ingraham. “...So I can assure you this tonight: this legal team is not walking this President into a perjury trap --- not going to happen. If there’s any type of interview, whether it’s written or otherwise, it will be the appropriate type of response...This investigation, from its outset---who would allow that, in light of everything that’s transpired and continues to transpire?”
“Needless to say, we didn’t accept their offer.”
Asked about the likelihood of the President getting two to three hours of fair questioning, given what we’ve just learned about the roles played by Bruce Ohr, Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, Sekulow said he was “not inclined to believe...that there is such a thing as a fair shake.” Are they ready to go to court if they have to? “You bet.” It’s to protect not just this President, but the Presidency itself. “That’s what’s at stake here.”
Rudy Giuliani was on fire in an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show: “...This is a totally illegitimate investigation,” he said. It was based on “the biggest illegality so far, the biggest collusion so far,” which was the dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. “Completely made up...and now we have Mueller, who doesn’t seem to care that he’s sitting on top of a totally illegitimate investigation.”
“I’ve never been involved in an investigation, on either side, that was more illegitimate than this one –- OBVIOUSLY more illegitimate.” He said aloud what we all know is true: this is a case that was tainted by having people who hated Trump in positions of power. Like Sekulow, he said there’s nothing left for Trump to answer that they don’t already know. “Stop the nonsense, ‘cause you don’t have a case.”
He went further, to make a prediction that the case is going to “blow up on them. There’s a lot more to what they did that nobody knows about yet –- a lot more to the obstruction of justice, to the collusion, to the fake dossier, trying to bring Steele back in after he was completely discredited. And Mueller is gonna have a lot to answer for.”
“The investigation here has to be of the investigators, because we can’t let this happen again in American history. We may not have a President as strong as President Trump. A lesser President could’ve really been cracked by this.”
“I believe that when this plays out over the next year or two, it’s not gonna be about President Trump; that’s gonna get over with. It’s gonna be about all the things THEY did.”
Gosh, I wonder why Trump’s team is suddenly feeling so buoyant and talking so tough. Could it be because of the new evidence involving Bruce Ohr that shows COLLUSION among Hillary and the DNC, and the FBI, and the Justice Department, and Fusion GPS, and Christopher Steele, and...quite possibly...even the special counsel?
Ohio 12 update
Update on Ohio’s 12th District Congressional race: We won’t know for sure who won for at least a couple of weeks. Republican Troy Balderson’s margin of victory was 1754 votes, but there are nearly 8500 absentee and provisional votes still to count, and under state law, they have to wait 11 days to start counting them.
Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) put so much importance on this one House race as an indicator of a “blue wave” in November that the wait is going to be agonizing for them, which is, well, just delightful. Maybe it’s God’s way of telling them to stop being so obsessed with politics and refocus their priorities. If so, it’s an urgently-needed message that will likely be ignored because they’re already working themselves into a frenzy of frustration that makes their previous Trump Derangement Syndrome fits look as laid back as a Perry Como song.
One target of their rage is Green Party candidate Joe Manchik, who drew 1100 votes. The long count could eventually end up with Balderson winning by fewer than 1100 votes, and if so, Democrats’ heads will explode like the Martians in “Mars Attacks.” Manchik is what some might call a “colorful character.” The native of Hell, Michigan, claims his ancestors came from a different planet, the solution to the opiod crisis is requiring Americans to grow hemp, and that he speaks 19 languages, including Spanglish and “sheet music.” He also couldn’t remember his own web address in a recent interview.
As always in a close race (Jill Stein in 2016, Ralph Nader in 2000), Democrats are blaming the Green Party candidate for taking away votes from the Democrat, I guess on the assumption that if there weren’t someone totally loopy on the ballot, the crazy person vote would have gone to the “progressive” promising “Medicare for All.” Hollywood liberals are leading the meltdown, with actress Debra Messing fuming at Green Party voters for not supporting “the lesser of two evils” (maybe they didn’t want to vote for anything they considered evil. Besides, who says “Democratic” socialism is less evil than supporting illegal aliens from the planet Antares?) Alyssa Milano is even blaming his votes on “Russian bots” (sounds like she’s Manchik’s natural constituency.)
The fact is, people have a right to vote for whomever they want. Who knows why those 1100 people voted for Manchik? Maybe they didn’t like either major party and wanted to register a protest vote. If he hadn’t been on the ballot, maybe they wouldn’t have voted at all.
The lesson Democrats need to learn, whether it’s Hillary expecting women to vote for her because she’s a woman or all Democrats demanding loyalty from African-Americans no matter how badly they fare under Democratic rule, is that nobody has a divine right to anyone’s vote.
The lesson Republicans need to learn from this is to TURN OUT AND VOTE IN NOVEMBER! Democratic turnout was way up and Republican turnout was way down from 2016 when Trump won that district by 11 points. Holding that seat should have been a cakewalk for the GOP. If Republicans who were fed up with high taxes, a stagnant economy and feckless foreign policies don’t want the bad ol’ days to come roaring back, and go from “Make America Great Again” to “Put Nancy Pelosi Back in Charge Again,” they’d better get off their sofas in November and vote like their jobs and their country depend on it, because they do.
California firefighters are battling some of the worst wildfires in history, and naturally, Gov. Jerry Brown has found a way to blame President Trump, by claiming that the fires are the result of global warming/manmade climate change (which, as science tells us, started the day Trump was elected.)
But hold the phone: Forestry expert Bob Zybach, who has a Ph.D. in environmental science, says he’s been warning for over two decades that letting liberal environmentalists take over forestry management in the Pacific Northwest was a disaster waiting to happen. He says their mismanagement, such as ending controlled burns, thinning, livestock grazing and removal of dead brush, was intended to replace human interference with a “naturally functioning ecosystem.” Well, it certainly did! It created giant “firebombs” that allow wildfires to spread and burn for hundreds of miles – just as they did naturally, before humans came along and started “interfering” by preventing them.
It’s just further proof that when you let leftists take over managing anything, they manage to find a way to burn it down, even when they do nothing.
The handling of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooter before he went on his killing spree was botched by school officials even worse than we thought. And we might never know that if the attempt to keep it secret weren’t also badly botched.
The Trump Administration might get rid of the costly, dim bulbs Washington inflicted on us during the Obama years. Wait, I thought they were already doing that? Oh, they mean actual light bulbs!