John Hayward

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Ukraine situation improving, or maybe not

Yesterday afternoon there was talk of a new agreement been Ukraine's Russia-aligned strongman, President Viktor Yanukovych, and the protesters gathered for an increasingly violent showdown in Kiev's Independence Square.  The last "truce" lasted a matter of hours before demonstrators, believing it to be a delaying tactic while the regime gathered forces for a crackdown, rushed to retake the entire square, and security forces responded by picking them off with sniper fire - a tactic which led to a series of horrifying YouTube videos. Feb 22, 2014 7:19 AM PT

40 hour work weeks: too much, or not enough?

If you noodle around liberal web sites a bit, you'll come across a talking point designed to cushion the blow of ObamaCare job losses: a lot of those cuts, such as the 2.5 million "job equivalent" losses predicted by the CBO in their bombshell forecast, are more about reduced hours than outright termination.  The old-and-busted O-bot talking point was that business owners would never cut hours to get under the 30-hour threshold needed to escape the worst Affordable Care Act mandates, and any executive who explicitly stated he was carrying out such plans was a lying Republican hack.  Presumably the hundreds of thousands of employees who said their hours were indeed trimmed to 29 or less were also lying Republican hacks.   Feb 21, 2014 7:01 AM PT

The Hunger Games, Cuba edition

One of the things I like about the "Hunger Games" series of books and movies is that author Suzanne Collins did her homework on the use of enforced starvation as a control mechanism.  Virtually every totalitarian government deliberately starves its people sooner or later, to say nothing of the deprivation that comes from basket-case communist economics. Feb 20, 2014 7:28 AM PT

'Guardians of the Galaxy' trailer: Marvel gets big, weird, and crazy

When I was a kid, conventional wisdom held that DC Comics was the dominant force behind pop-culture penetration.  DC characters got on TV, and became the stars of A-list Hollywood productions.  Everyone knew who Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were; the Marvel characters were known mostly to comic-book fans, which at the time meant primarily children. Feb 19, 2014 9:16 AM PT

Further controversy for 'Noah'

I see that John Nolte's "Hollywood Playbook" mentioned the latest bad news for the upcoming Biblical film "Noah," to wit a survey from a religious group that purported to show strong disapproval for the as-yet-unseen movie, based on what people have heard about it.   Feb 19, 2014 9:02 AM PT

Biden: 'On every major issue, the American people agree with the Democratic Party'

Yes, yes, Joe Biden is a dunce, and he's objectively wrong; there has rarely been a moment when polls show the American people more firmly opposed to everything his Party stands for, right down to the very crucial question of whether government is too large.  The ObamaCare debacle, which is certainly one of the issues America strenuously disagrees with Team Biden on, has pushed overall disdain for Big Government past 70 percent, a high in recent history. Feb 15, 2014 7:05 AM PT

The Establishment perspective

Consider this a companion to "The Cruz perspective," because the GOP Establishment does have some good points to make.  The Republican primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Matt Bevin, told Glenn Beck, "I'd be willing to risk losing the Senate if we could keep America."  This is wrong on so many levels that Bevin might want to think about suspending his long-shot campaign and coming back in a few years when he's ready for prime time. Feb 15, 2014 6:32 AM PT

The Cruz perspective

This seems like a moment when everyone is taking stock of grassroots conservatism in general, and Senator Ted Cruz in particular.  He acted to force a vote on raising the debt ceiling that the GOP leadership would rather have conducted as a quiet, anonymous surrender.  The leadership is angry at him over it.  Pragmatic Republicans accuse Cruz of boosting his own personal brand at the expense of the party, or leading people into doomed ideological battles the GOP is not positioned to win, committing the cardinal tactical sin of wasting political capital without hope of a return on the investment. Feb 14, 2014 2:25 PM PT

'Noah' director faces criticism for artistic license

The Hollywood Reporter has a long article about the backlash director Darren Aronofsky has been getting from some Christians in the test audiences for his upcoming "Noah" epic, starring Russell Crowe as the Bible hero.  Aronofsky says only ten or twenty percent of his test audience has criticized the license he took with the story, but clearly their resistance bothers him.  (He's also distinctly grumpy about the idea of screening his unfinished film for test audiences, something forced upon him by the studio; he reasonably maintains that it's unfair to judge a massive special-effects film with most of the visuals waiting to be spliced in.) Feb 13, 2014 9:00 PM PT

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