And the fun continues…

Shock and awe.  That has to be what the reeling ex-Mjaority Leader Malcolm Smith is feeling right now.  And it just keeps piling on..

From the latest news reports, Smith has lost it all, even if the Democrats somehow regain control of NY’s Senate chamber.  The latest indictaes that even if the Democrats retake control, Smith will be ousted from any and all leadership positions.  Even the efforts of The One’s political team are sacraficing Smith in a counter-coup bid.  The problem with this is that if the Dems do regain control, then who will be elevated to the vaunted leadership positions?

That’s the question for the Democrats.  If not Smith, then who?  Carl Kruger and Tom Stachowski are two options, but the rumor mill, from many sources, seems to point to them flipping sides to join Espada and Monserratte.  But I would venture that if Smith is sacraficed, then these two would “remain in the fold,”   especially if they are offered the top two slots as President of the Senate and Majority Leader.  However, given their generally more conservative leanings, I doubt they will be acceptable to the City-crats.  Reuben Diaz sr could be the wild card in all this.  He’s stated that he won’t switch sides, but will he support a counter-coup  if Smith is involved?  Diaz was one of the “gang of four” who threatened Smith to back the GOP back in January.

Then there’s our accidnetal governor, David Patterson.  He’s losing ground at every turn.  The latest polls show him to be the least popular governor in the nation.  That’s pretty impressive given his predecessor’s antics, and the ancilliary hubub concerning former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.  Patterson is being put to the test here, and is failing each and every time.  Is it any wonder that AG Andrew Cuomo has not weighed in on this business?  Not really, as the weaker Patterson is, the easier his time to get the gubenatorial nomination will be.  Provided Patterson decides to run that is.

But it gets worse for the “reform agenda” Democrats.  NYPIRG, the NY Public Interest Group, a noted left leaning organization, has come out in favor of the GOP’s coup. “We believe, on first cut (the new rules) are another step in the right direction,” said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner.  Ouch.  That one goes straight to the Democratic agenda.

Oh for sure some have come out vocally against this move, beyond the politicians that is.  A few hundred gathered at the Capital to voice their displeasure.  A survey of those involved, from watching the news coverage, shows the usual lunatic leftist, and a fine selection of various special interest groups who stand to have thier own agendas side lined by the loss of their political allies.

I fully expect this to end by Friday.  I doubt any serious legal action will happen, more so as AG Cuomo seems to be trying very hard to stay out of teh fray.  Going so far as to ignore Smith’s “extortion and influence peddling” charges against Espada and Monserratte.  No matter what the DNC robocalls are encouraging those involved to report to Cuomo.

Ah, NY politics.  Gotta love it.

Some reading links:

Fred Dicker (NY Post)

NY Post Coverage

Capital News 9

Joe Bruno on the events

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Bungling Banks get Billion$, Vets get the shaft

(Stupid WordPress didn’t put a link in for the Day by Day site.  So here it is: Day by Day)

So, the policy of the Obama administration seems to be, the bigger you fail, the more tax payer dollars you get.  AIG gets a hundreds of millions of bail out dollars, GM is about to get the same, and to help pay for all this, Obama wants to bill US veterans, particularly those wounded in combat for their medical bills.

Does this make any sense except to the nut cases in Berkley?  If there is one group of people that this country as a whole owes a nearly unpayable debt to, it is our veterans.  We, as a nation, should be paying for, with out question, whatever medical treatment these men and women need.  How can anyone think that having these people, who we have asked to risk the ultimate sacrifice for us, pay up front for their service related medical costs is “fair” or “just” or even sensible?

How’s this for a thought.  Instead of spending billions on chowder heads like AIG and GM, we instead use that money to fund the VA?  Let the big corporations fall apart into hundreds of little companies.  That’s how it supposed to happen.  And then let us pay off the real debts we owe to people who deserve to be repaid.

Several veterans organizations have sent a letter of protest to Obama over this.  They even had a meeting with Obama, Rahm Emmauel, Gen. Shinseki, and a couple of nigh useless bean counters.  From the news reports, the meeting was not very constructive, as American Legion National Commander David Rehbein came out of it “disappointed.”  You can read the actual letter HERE, and it is signed by the presidents of: The American Legion, AMVETS (American Veterans), Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. inc, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Vietnam Veterans of America inc.

I still can’t wrap my head around this one.  It makes no sense what so ever.  More so in the whole “we support the troops” mantra that gets espoused.  This is not how you support the troops folks.  This is how you disuade them from stepping up when the time comes.  This is how you weaken the very people who defend this nation.  This is a morale killer people.  The worst thing is, it comes from our own government, not from enemy action.

Some links for those interested:

American Legion

VFW

AMVETS

Blinded Veterans Asscoiation

Disabled American Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Jewish War Veterans of the USA

Military Officers Asscoiation of America

Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. INC

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Vietnam Veterans of America INC

NY Politics, more of the same old same old

Well, it’s been an interesting 2009 so far here in the Empire State.  From the usual budget shenanigans, to the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Joe Bruno’s “indictment” to David Patterson struggling for his political life.  And it’s only February!  So, where to start?

Oh, might as well go in order, so it’s the “budget” fiasco du jour.  Again, I’m somewhat wondering where to start.  Do I begin with Patterson’s “austerity plan,” or the back room dealings that have gone on between the all Democratic “leadership,”  or the ever worsening revenue shortfall predictions?  Feh.  Ok, let’s look at the budget revenue short falls.  What was once a $4billion short fall has grown to about $10billion.  Sure, it’s no where near California, but it’s still a huge change.  The whys of this all depend on who you talk or listen to.  It’s everything from the unstable stock market, to the lack of CEO bonuses (yes, that is an important revenue stream for NYS), to the middle and “upper” classes fleeing the state (due to property, income, business taxes, utility costs), to businesses fleeing the state, and everything in between.  So what does our Legislative “leaders” want to do?  Why exacerbate the problem of course by increasing taxes across the board, plus new fees and taxes.  What has been causing a steady decline in the state’s population over the past 30 years is the “remedy” Sheldon Silver and Malcolm Smith want to use to raise revenues.  The problem with this is that it’s a short term solution.  Yes, they can “close the gap” somewhat for a year, maybe two.  But beyond that, it will only serve to force more people, more businesses to relocate out of the State of NY, which then will worsen the already weakened revenue streams.  Even using the supposed cash forthcoming from the “stimulus bill,” it won’t actually solve anything.

David Patterson I think sees this, but is somewhat handcuffed by his party and politics.  He’s been quite vocal about wanting to avoid any “tax increases,” but that applies solely for income taxes.  He’s quite happy to raise taxes on products that are non-politically correct, or maybe nebulous to try and collect (Internet sales).  Patterson has even gone so far as to actually suggest budget cuts, and in very politicized programs.  But he’ll never get it past his “colleagues” in the Legislature and Senate.  Still, it’s better than I could have expected.

However, despite some very public “forward steps,” there has been a bit of a backslide.  To whit, the return to the smoke filled back room deals that characterized many a budget process of the past.  This was supposed to be the “new era” of “open and accountable government” in New York.  Well, that went out the door when Silver, Smith, and Patterson all met behind closed doors, with not even the minority leadership present.  This is a departure from the recent past, where at least the minority party leadership was present.  I’d lay odds that they won’t ever disclose any “member items” either when the time comes, but I doubt anyone would bet against it.

So this is what passes for leadership here in NY.  Lovely isn’t it?  We have David Patterson, the well intentioned, but still accidental governor, Sheldon Silver, the Manhattan Citycrat, beholden to several special interest groups as our Assembly “Leader,” and Malcolm Smith, another Citycrat, with the charisma of a wet paper towel.  The Republican side isn’t much better, at least state wide.  Dean Skelos?  A capable administrator, but that’s as far as it goes, and as far as he ever should have gotten.  Jim Tedisco could be something, but he’s too much of a fighting bull dog to really take the reigns (more on Tedisco below).  This doesn’t even cover the nitwits and whackjobs that comprise the majority of our Congressional delegation.

Speaking of the morass that is Congress, Patterson shocked many a pundit with his appointment of Rep.Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat.  With names like Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy being bandied around, “Gilly” was a long shot to most pundits and commentators.  More so, as other names mentioned had greater “party appeal,” and “fit the national agenda” of the Democrats.  But Patterson, to his credit, went against the grain, and nominated a moderate upstate Democrat to the seat.  How moderate is Gillibrand exactly?  Well, her appointment ticked off several Citycrats who sit in Congress, to the point of where they boycotted her nomination press conference.  Even Chucklehead Schumer looked a bit queasy, but he’s a power player, so he showed and spoke.  A quick note from Gillibrand’s nomination press conference.  Tom DiNapoli (State Comptroller) needs to shut his yap.  He nearly killed the whole event with his prattling.  He just doesn’t know when he’s gone over the edge, and someone needs to gag him before he does.

So, with Gillibrand leaving Congress for the Senate, there will be a special election to fill her seat on March 31st.  The parties have had their individual shake down sessions to determine the candidates.  On the Democratic side, we have Scott Murphy, a “venture capitalist” (with a mediocre at best track record) from Glens Falls.  On the Republican side, Assembly minority leader Jim Tedisco grabbed the nomination.  I haven’t read how Murphy got his nomination, the Democrat’s process was rather arcane, though some sort of weighted format was used.  Tedisco got the GOP nod by securing the support of the Saratoga and Rennselear County GOP parties, the two largest in the district.  By doing so, with the weighted romat used by the GOP, he out gained former minority leader, and gubernatorial candidate John Faso.  FWIW, I was hoping for Faso to get the nod, and take the seat.  It’s not that I don’t like Tedisco, I just thought the State was better served by having him remain Assembly minority leader, and having Faso go to Washington where his personal strengths would be best used.

This all has put Patterson in a difficult political position.  He’s getting plenty of flak from his own party as well as the GOP.  He’s getting beat in Quinnipiac polls in a theoretical primary against Andrew Cuomo, and is neck and neck in a theoretical match up against Rudy Guilliani.  Patterson is getting gruff from Silver and Smith, as well as loud mouth nimrods like Carolyn Maloney (over Gillibrand’s appointment).  Jim Tedisco has been hot on his heels over being excluded from the budget process, and even Dean Skelos has been seen on TV deriding the secretive nature of the triumvirate.  But he’s put the Democrat’s in the position of possibly losing a Congressional seat (the 20th), and perhaps even one of NY’s Senate seats to the GOP.  Tedisco can (and should) win the 20th, which had been held by Gillibrand.  As much appeal as Gillibrand has held in the 20th, I don;t think she can win State wide, between the growling of the NYC contingent, and the persistent rumor that Rep.Peter King (R-LI) will run for the seat.  If King does run, he should beat Gillibrand by a solid, but not spectacular margin in 2010.  He’s well liked in the City, and will have enough Upstate appeal to win.

Meanwhile, the allegations surrounding former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno have taken another twist.  The US Attorney has gotten an indictment on several charges against Bruno.  It is the “culmination”  of all the Spitzer inspired “investigations” when Bruno and Spitzer were at loggerheads.  At best these charges are tenuous.  At worst the spurious.  Even money says that 2/3 of the charges will be dropped, and Bruno gets acquitted of the rest.  If he doesn’t, then I hope the US Attorney turns his attention to all the other members of the NYS Senate and Assembly, as they are all equally guilty of exactly the same “charges.”  But I doubt this will happen, as the charges themselves are so nebulous as to be night impossible to get a conviction on.

Damnatus- The Movie

Fans of the Warhammer 40K Universe, be it through the table top miniatures games (WH40K, Epic), the Dark Heresy RPG, the Dawn of War PC game series, Final Liberation, or what ever, will by now, have heard of this fan movie.  It gets commented on the various messgaee boards at least once a month, sometimes more.  Those same people will also know of the legal challenges raised by Games Workshop, which effectively scuttled the release of the picture.  It can be found on the internet, just don’t ask me where or how to do so.  Though it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.  The trailer can be seen however (www.Damnatus.com):

There is a better quality trailer available on YouTube, but it doesn’t have the English subtitles.

GW’s stupid legal issues aside, this is an excellent fan movie IMO.  Yes the acting and fights scenes range from average to cheezey (like a LARP group really into their roles), but it’s a solid 40K story.  Even the “low budget” special effects and “wide shots” are worth while, better than many video games with a “real budget,” and 95% of what the SciFi channel puts out as Saturday night fare.  It is obvious that Damnatus was never quite finished in post-production.  This is really noticable in the CGI shots, which at times have an unifinished look to them.  But the legal challenge issued by GW’s nimrod marketing and legal departments probably scuttled that.

If you’ve seen it, then read on.  If you haven’t, well, this won’t make all that much sense to you.

As I was watching Event Horizon, I got to thinking about Damnatus.  Event Horizon is a good movie for a “40K feel,” and the perils of warp travel.  Which made me think about Damnatus, which I recently watched.  I got to thinking that if someone wanted to, they could turn Damnatus into a real Hollywood motion picture.  The elements are all there, and with a bit of Hollywood polish and shine, could be really awesome on the big screen.

My mian thoughts focused on casting the Damnatus as a major Hollywood production.  The rest of it really doesn’t matter.  It would all get the high end treatments by ILM or whoever for the effects.  Maybe a John Williams score as well.

So, the cast:

Inquisitor Lessus: Sam Neill.  This character only appears at the begininning and the end of the film, and needs a certain screen presence.  Sam has the right look, and conveys the right appearance on screen.

The Inquisitorial Operative Leschias: The “younger version” should be Shia LaBouef. The “cultist” version should be Robbie Coltrane.  Not sure Shia can pull of the last third of the movie, but he at least looks right for the part.  I’m open to any more suggestions here.  The more I think about it, I really want someone other tha Shia LaBouef for this role.  Someone give me a name here!

Osmar Adeodatus: Sean Pertwee.  The son of the late Jon Pertwee (aka Dr.Who), has the right talents for this role.  He’s played military roles before, and can pull off the right fanatical attitude for the PDF commander.

Nira Gippus: Need a “babe” to play the role of the novice psyker.  She also need to be “young looking,” figuring the character to be no more than 24 years old.  Rose McGowan was my first choice, but I’m waffling a bit on her.  No actress is striking me as “ideal” at the moment.  So, suggestions are more than welcome.

Hiernoymous VI von Remus: Our ostensible hero must be a serious star, but one with action flick chops.  Given the nature of the character, and how he progresses in the story, my choice is Clive Owen.  His dry wit and presentation fits perfectly with the character’s almost resigned fatalism.

Sgt. Corris: James Marsters.  His role as Spike (Angel and Buffy), as well as his turn as Captain John in Torchwood, make him well suited for this role.  Corris is a bit of an odd ball, a semi-superstitious gun slinger with a rapier wit and just a touch of mental instability.  It’s a role made for Marsters IMO.

Wodan Dubrovnik: Adam Baldwin.  No, he’s not one of “those Baldwins.”  This is the guy who played Jayne on Firefly and in the movie Serenity.  Dubrovnik is not that much different from Jayne in terms of characters, so Adam was a natural fit for me.

Oktavian Stimme: The actual physical portrayer for the Techpriest just needs to have the right size.  The voice will be over dubbed, preferably by Laurence Fishburne.  I had thought of James Earl Jones, but that would have lead to some uncomfortable comparisons to Darth Vader, which is not what we’d be going for.  But Laurence Fishburne would do a stellar job of it.

Inquisitor Zyriakus Makkabeus: Rutger Hauer.  Few people can pull off the whole is he a good or bad guy type role.  It’s tough to switch between trying to be imposing and villainous, and then to being a somewhat sympathetic character.  Hauer has done this several times before in films (and TV), and would be ideal for this role.

Imperial Naval Officer: This unnamed character has several lines, and only appears with Inquisitor Lessus.  So, this is essentially a cameo role.  So who better than Christian Slater?  It’s right up there with his appearance in Star Trek VI, where he informs Captain Sulu about the USS Enterprise.

Everyone else in the movie is an extra, a target, cannon fodder.  They just need to die well on screen.

So that’s my casting call for this “what if” scenario.

The director was easy: Ridley Scott.  Between Alien and Blade Runner, and even Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven, Scott has the right approach, the right “feel,” and the right sort of directorial vision a project of this sort would need.

So, if I ever get a few hundred extra million to throw at this project…

Hmmmm..Interesting

http://www.newsmax.com/politics/Obama_Wants_NRA_Ads_Banne/2008/09/27/135118.html

http://faultlineusa.blogspot.com/2008/09/obamas-squad-threatens-freedom-of.html

 

If this was a Republican candidate doing this, or encouraging or supporting this sort of thing, the leftists would be up in arms, as would the mass media.  They’d all be screaming “fascism” and “censorship,” and “violations of first amendment right.”  Can you imagine the outcry?

But this isn’t a Republican doing this.  It’s Barack Obama’s campaign, and his well placed supporters.  Essentially, this boils down to threatening anyone who criticizes Obama in a TV, Radio, or print ad with criminal charges.  Can you say voter intimidation?  Can you say violation of free speach?  Ahhh, but according to those behind this assault, it’s all about “truth.” 

That’s the linguistic game being played.  It’s a double standard, all in how you spin it.  If a Republican does something like this, it’s all about “censorship” and “fascism.”  When a democrat does it, it’s about “promoting truth,” and “honesty.”  Bah.   It’s the same action, just spun differently.

And people honestly think that Obama is some sort of “new and fresh poltician.”  Nope, he’s an old school Chicago politician, in the best Richard Daly traditions.  Heck, his campaign staff are probably rumaging through cemetaries for additional voters.

Trooper-Gate information released

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/aug/06/0806_troopergate/

http://capitalnews9.com/content/top_stories/121504/more-details-gleaned-from-troopergate-papers/Default.aspx

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062008/postopinion/editorials/soares_troopergate_swill_123282.htm

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=709537&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=8/6/2008

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S534883.shtml?cat=10114

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062008/news/regionalnews/papers_bare_soares_lovefest_with_spitzer_123249.htm

For a couple of guys who promised to “clean up Albany,” both ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer and Albany County DA David Soares fell far short of the mark.  The 8500+ pages of interviews, emails, and other documents from Soares’ “investigation” of the Trooper-gate scandal show exactly how Soares and his office bent over backwards to assist and white wash what Spitzer and his top aides did.  How this is supposed to be “better” than what previously went on in Albany is lost on me.

Spitzer is likely to be facing charges from this, not from the DA, who may also face ethics charges, but from the Public Integrity Commission, which has already charged several former Spitzer aides in the scandal.  The Commission has already taken copies of those documents to review for further charges.  The real intersting bits are from former SP Superintendent Preston Felton (who apparently was pissed off about the leak), and the internal emails about making statements “perjury proof,” and that there was a concerted effort to damage Bruno through potentially illegal means.

Of course, according to Eliot Spitzer, laws are for little people, those with out power.  He certainly acted that way.  Laws applied to others, not him.  If one bothers to look, one can see that this was a clear trend, and attitude, dating back to his assistant DA days in NYC.  He thought he was immune to any sort of legal action.  He was the “Sheriff of Wall Street” after all.

Soares is just a chump.  He tried to distract attention away from local issues, from the Spitzer scandal to local crime issues, through his Steroid investigation, which garnered him a lot of national, and even international attention.  He wants the limelight, to be a news figure, but not actually do the job he was elected to do.  He needed the support of the ex-Governor to maintain his position, thorugh political and fund raising contacts, so he bent over for Spitzer to help try and diffuse and white wash the Trooper-gate scandal.

Spitzer’s inaugural address had the line “On day one, everything changes.”  He was right, just not in the way he intended.  His fiefdom was destroyed in a little over four days.  His opponents sailed off into the sunset, holding thier heads up high.  He’s still slinking off, avoiding everyone.

First Military Execution in 50 years is approved

Today, President Bush approved the death penalty for Pvt. Ronald Gray, convicted of multiple homicides and rape in the late 1980’s.  Military detah penalties are fairly rare, even in times of war.  The Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), allows greater latitude for giving out the death penalty, but it usually takes extreme situations for it to come into play.

Ronald Gray was convicted of 2 murders, and 5 rapes in North Carolina State court.  He then faced a Military Courts-Martial for his actions against three other women, including two service women.  He was convicted on all counts, and the panel unanimously reccomended the death penalty.

The appeals process works differently for military court-martials.  His sentence must be approved by his command (the 82nd Airborne in this case), the Army Military Court of Review, the Secretary of the Army, then finally the President.  The Secretary of the Army must submit to the President a request for approval.  The Supreme Court may intervene, but declined in this case.  Today, the President, after consultation with the Attorney General (not a requirement), approved the death senetence.

Full story here:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/12129.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/07/28/military.execution/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,392982,00.html