Posted by: Scott Groves | March 6, 2012

A crazy field of Republicans-

Personally, I don’t think the field of Republican candidates are that crazy… but I thought I would field the question from one of my co-workers anyway.

Her question came via email while we were talking about interest rates (which are going up), the cost to extend her 30 day mortgage rate-lock (a cost which recently went up as a tradeoff for the payroll tax deduction), and her recent increase in health care costs (which are going up for everyone except those on Government programs).

She asked:

Sorry Scott, a beer will be fun but it would be impossible to swing us even a little towards center!  I will still try to like you even if you are a conservative nut.  How are you even dealing with your pool of candidates??????
I responded:

Sadly, I think Republicans thought it was a foregone conclusion in 2010 that Obama was going to win in 2012.  All the good candidates (who don’t rely on stupid social issue tactics) decided to wait until 2016.  Strong fiscal leaders like Christie and Jindal who are straight talkers and not crazy religious folks stayed on the sideline.

However, as we are seeing with unemployment still above 8%, healthcare costs sky-rocketing, gas prices sky-rocketing, companies still hording money because they don’t trust Obama’s policies, crony capitalism happening at a level that makes Bush & Cheney look like a saints, and the super rich not willing to invest in new infrastructure right now… it turns out Obama was more vulnerable than originally expected.

If only Romney or Santorum could stay out of the religious conversations… they both have some strong fiscal ideas that I like.  I also think they both generally feel America should be a stronger world power than it is today (financially).

I have several reason to dislike Obama… but here are the top 5 reasons (as a liberal) for you to uncomfortable with your 2012 candidate, President Obama:

·   Even though he campaigned on with strong rhetoric about Gitmo being a detention center that was factory of human rights violations –AND- he said closing it would be his #1 priority if elected – 3 years later it’s still open

·   President Obama is the first American President to order and carry out the execution of an American citizen without a trial or due process (this makes Bush’s “unconstitutional” wire taps under the homeland security bill look like a traffic violation in comparison to Obama’s murder of an American citizen)

·   Drone attacks against a country we aren’t even at war against (Pakistan) have increased 500% under Obama

·   If we can be honest with each other we can admit that Obama did not “kill” the Keystone Pipeline.  Obama simply tabled it until after the election.  He is going to pretend to be an environmentalist until after the election, then he will approve the pipeline as a payoff to union bosses (it’s really very intelligent – he satisfies the tree huggers today while conveying a message to the construction worker unions that they have to campaign for in 2012 if they want this large program green-lit).  Ironically, it is Obama and the Democrats (feeling the pressure of high gas prices and an unsatisfied public) that are now starting to repeat the Palin remarks of “drill-baby-drill” for 3 years ago

·   The process for handing out Green-Project funding, from the bloated stimulus, had little to do with merit and it’s now coming out that much of this money was handed out to those who gave the most campaign contributions in 2008 to Obama and his team.  The Chevy Volt / Solyndra / and about 10 other “green-projects” I can’t think of off the top of my head have already gone belly-up after obtaining government financing.  Yet real environmentalist have not gotten the funding they need to explore real forms of sustainable energey

This is a short list of reasons you AND I should be dissatisfied with our President.  But unfortunately, Rachel Maddow will keep convincing you that Republicans hate women… and you will vote for Obama in 2012 without looking at the other options.

Ironically, if you are really a socialist-leaning, anti-war, free-choice, hippie type of voter… you should be seriously considering Ron Paul.

Posted by: Scott Groves | March 6, 2012

Movie review: 30 Minutes or Less

As a disclaimer, I generally find Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson’s dry and vulgar sense of humor to be some of the funniest bits in comedy today.

Because of that, I probably enjoyed this movie more than most of my readers (all 4 of them) will.

The film, about a pizza boy, a bomb, a bank robbery and some retarded criminals is a fun ride.  The jokes are funny if not memorable, the characters are uninteresting but not unlikable, and plot is formulaic but fun.

I would have like some more buddy time between the pair of criminals, and Fred Ward’s cameo should have been longer.

Overall a 3 out of 5 stars for its dirty humor and fun plot.

Posted by: Scott Groves | March 6, 2012

I mean it… I really mean it

I don’t have time to write a long post about Obama and all his missteps with Iran.  Starting with his comical campaign promise, which no conservative actually believed, about sitting down with the leaders of Iran – to his ignorance on Iran’s desire to build nuclear weapons – on this particular foreign affair Obama just doesn’t seem to “get it”.

I won’t bore you with details you that can read about on CNN here regarding Obama’s recent meetings with Israel diplomats.  However, I did want to briefly comment about how Obama, in his remarks about using military force against Iran, seems to be like the grade school kid who can’t stand up for himself.

Remember the kid from 4th grade who constantly got bullied.  Every once in a while he would stand up and tell the bully he was going to punch him back… or tell the teacher… or have his uncle come to school and beat up the bullies dad… remember that kid?

Well, at my school, we always knew that poor kid who was getting bullied was just spewing empty threats.  Sad as it was, he was never going to bunch back, or go tell the teacher and his uncle probably wasn’t very tough.

When Obama addresses his critics as it pertains to Iran, he reminds me of the same timid kid who is happy to sling empty threat as the bully gets stronger and continues to steal his lunch money.

It’s sad that the leader of the free world can’t find a stronger stance to take against a country who has the stated goal of whipping one of our closest allies off the face of the globe.

Posted by: Scott Groves | March 6, 2012

Movie review: The Source Code

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan did everything they could to make this somewhat confusing script as interesting as possible.

I can’t say much more about the movie (other than what is revealed in the trailer) without giving away what are some major, yet predictable, plot-twists.

You might have to trust me on this one.  It’s a good flick with a new idea that I enjoyed dissecting throughout the movie.

The ending may make you say “that was cool”, or it might make you say “that was stupid”.   Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the film and the characters.

Definitely checking out on Netflix sometime.

Posted by: Scott Groves | March 6, 2012

Thoughts from a fellow Republican

A friend of mine recently wrote in with some interesting thoughts about how to fix the Government.

I thought I would share them here and expand on them a bit based on previous conversations we’ve had.

Scott – Here’s my plan for America’s recovery and success going forward

The very simple goal should be to reduce federal spending by 40%.  I’m not ignorant enough to think we could do this by just “trimming the fat” or getting rid of the 10 layers of bureaucracy that riddle every Government Agency (although this might account for 10-15% of our total goal); we need to re-examine every department and cut several of them completely.

Most of this can be done via cutting out both unnecessary functions and dead-weight employees.  Some of it can be done by taking away civil service and union rights for public employees (at all levels).  There are 5 or 6 government laws, programs or agencies I can think of off the top of my head that already protect employees throughout the US (both Private and Gov’t).  Government employee unions have become a source of political fundraising and not a voice for beleaguered workers.  Some can be done by giving functions back to the states, who can (if they have the will) do them more cost efficiently.

  • Eliminate public  (government) education – simple.  The Madison Wisconsin School District is a perfect example of how a true voucher system can work in even the worst district in country.  The movie Waiting for Superman and an evaluation of what’s going on with the LAUSD should be evidence enough that our current top down eduction model is an epic failure
  •  Massively reduce business and labor regulations.  Require Federal regulation to fall into one of three limited categories to qualify for passage (safety to employes bodily health and welfare, protection of the natural environment, safety against true industry monopolies)
  • Strengthen the military via the Reagan doctrine of increased technology and increased financial leverage against our enemies.   This includes deterrent strength operations, security of space-based assets, increase of specialized urban warfare units like the Rangers and Seals and strong missile defense protecting our allies like Israel
  • Change immigration law to allow a marked increase in visas (and ultimately citizenship) for applicants with the post secondary education and hard skills we need to excel in business and scientific development.  It doesn’t make a lick of sense to turn a blind-eye to a wave of low-skilled illegal-immigrants entering our country, while simultaneously increasing the barrier to entry of skilled immigrants who can get here legally and help grow the economy
  • Markedly increase domestic energy production.  The goal should be a 50% increase in domestic energy production by 2020 by any means possible (drilling, fracking, solar, whatever).  This is not so much for energy “security” as it is to drive down world-wide prices and achieve a positive trade balance for energy against countries who generally hate us.  Think of how quickly GDP would double if we got a gallon of gas down to $1.10 a gallon.  For the last 30 years democrats have been holding up production of new energy producing plants using the argument “it won’t change things today” – Well now we are here and it’s time to plan for tomorrow
  • Implement a rational and pro-growth tax policy
  • Probably this means a combination of a low, flat, unitary tax on all income – all brackets, investment gains and corporate profits (say, 10%) and
  • A low, flat national sales tax (a much-scaled down version of the Fair Tax, say 5%)—a consumption-only tax with elimination of all income taxes (and the IRS) would be feasible with a few tweaks to eliminate tax on house purchases and a break for retirees (since they already paid tax on their savings during their working years).  Eliminating the IRS alone could save billions of dollars in government spending and wasteful intellectual capital in the private sector
  • If we retain an income tax, eliminate all deductions:   mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charity – NOTHING.  Everyone pays their fair share
  • If we retain an income tax, have unlimited IRA contributions so those who save are rewarded for investing in the markets

There is probably lots of other stuff, but I’m out of time…

Posted by: Scott Groves | March 4, 2012

Who cares if judges are gay-

In 2006 a bill was signed into law that required all judges in California to fill out demographic surveys.  These surveys require that the judges identify themselves by name.  The bill stemmed from concern by some law-makers in Sacramento that Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t appointing “enough” women and minority judges to the bench.

Without going into 20 paragraphs about how ridiculous this claim against Schwarzenegger is, I just have to say that this is the type of march towards affirmative action paranoia that makes it so annoying to live in California.  The only reason we would need to “track” the demographics of state Judges is if politicians have some master plan to institute mandatory minority hiring.   As with any job, the goal should be to attract the most talented, skilled and hard-working person to the position.  Sex, ethnicity, financial demographic and/or sexual orientation should have nothing to do with the process.  Appointing a judge should be about education, intelligence, case-history, experience and a devotion to up-holding the laws of the state.  Nothing else should matter.

The survey, although objectionable, has been in place with little or no coverage from the media at large.  However, recent changes to the survey in 2011 may bring this issue to the front of page of the Los Angeles Times very shortly.  Starting this year, judges will need to identify their sexual orientation as part of the questionnaire.

In my opinion this is absolutely disgusting.

No-one should care about the sexual orientation of the state’s judges and it should not be required reporting for a judgeship.  If I’m standing trial for some crime, it absolutely does not matter and there should be no consideration whether the person behind the raised podium is attracted to a man or a woman.

The most disturbing part about this survey is that they it is not anonymous.  If the surveys were anonymous, one could almost argue that legislators are using this reporting to get a snapshot regarding the demographics of the people who interrupt our laws.  However, with Judges having to identify themselves by name, this raises real concern and I have to imagine is illegal.

What if this information is ever leaked?  Can you imagine the backlash if the judge assigned to rule on Prop 8 happens to be gay?  Will prosecutor start to push for straight judges in hate crimes against gays in fear that a gay judge can’t hand down a fair legal ruling?  Will legislators now use their knowledge about judges sexual orientation while deciding on promotions and special assignments?  The negative implications are vast, this sets a horrible precedent and should concerns both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

How can advocates for the gay community not be completely offended by this bill.  I happened to come across it deep on the web on some obscure libertarian site I visit.  California’s law-makers are so out of control it’s mind-boggling. Who cares if judges are gay or straight. There is absolutely no reason for this law or its corresponding “survey” to exist. This survey can only do one of two things 1) Alienate judges on certain cases due to their sexual orientation 2) Set up some type of march towards affirmative action hiring for judges – both of which are unacceptable.


Posted by: Scott Groves | February 29, 2012

Movie review: Murder Ball

Murderball is a documentary that focuses primarily on a sports rivalry between Canada and the US.

Yes, the game which the movie focuses on is played by inspirational quadriplegics who have turned their tragedy into something positive.  However, at the end of the day this movie is really about American athletes who can’t wait to beat their rivals.

Rugby, in a wheelchair, is somewhat compelling – yet even at the Olympic level the game seems fairly rudimentary and not as violent as the preview who would have you believe.  Some of the personal stories about the athletes are both tragic and uplifting, but he film doesn’t really dig deep enough into their life’s for us to really care that much.

The pacing is so-so and you can tell it was probably a rookie who made this film.  Worth checking out if it makes its way to Netflix streaming, but probably not worth burning up a slot in your DVD queue.

Posted by: Scott Groves | February 27, 2012

Movie review: Last Night

Last night I watched the film Last Night staring Keira Knightley and that guy from Avatar.

Contrary to scenes in the trailer, this movie is not about a happy couple who somehow end up having simultaneous affairs on the same night.

The movie is more about a slightly dysfunctional couple who have serious trust issues.   The movie conveniently begins on the evening before they both allow their insecurities to lead to their indiscretions.

As much as I enjoy all the actors who starred in the movie, the script was really lacking and the pacing had me falling asleep at times.  The ending is horrible and this is a film I would skip.

Here is the trailer if you must:

If it wasn’t happening at the expense of setting up an honest series of debates between President Obama and the Republican nominee for President in 2012, the media’s over-reaction to the GOP’s so-called ‘assault on women’ would be comical.

Here are the three biggest talking points of the last several weeks which liberals are using as a platform to label all Republicans as sexist pigs stuck who are clearly stuck in the 1950’s and hate women:

  • Republicans generally sided with the rights of a private foundations to stop its funding of Planned Parenthood (another ‘private’ company that somehow gets an overwhelming amount of its funding from the Government)
  • Republicans generally sided with the rights of private insurance companies, privately owned corporations and religious institutions when it came to deciding which drugs they would, and would not provide for their employees and/or their insured
  • Some Republicans even went so far to state the scientific fact that the only form or 100% guaranteed birth control is a personal policy of abstinence

The rest, the arguments over whether birth control is a human right, the re-hashed and bias arguments over abortion, the attacks against Santorum and Romney’s religious comments – it’s all political pandering and the same old liberal talking points designed to scare people into rallying against the ‘evil’ Republicans.

The bottom line is that the economy is not getting better fast enough, the endless government spending and stimulus of the last 4-years have made things marginally better but have not delivered on the promised results, Obama and his supporters are scared.  Because Obama it looking vulnerable, it’s time for the MSNBC team and the Rachel Maddows of the country to step-up their personal attacks against any GOP candidate who gains in the polls.

Republicans, even the far right religious ones, don’t hate women.

And just out of curiosity.  I would pose the following question to my left-leaning friends.  What is a greater ‘assault’ against women?  Having an honest political debate about what drugs the government can force private employers to cover through their insurance plans -OR- a President using his position of power to coerce a woman into getting vaginally violated with a cigar in her bosses office?

Posted by: Scott Groves | February 27, 2012

Fake movie review: The Artist

Tonight, The Artist will probably sweep the Oscars.  I’ve seen most the best picture nominees but refuse to watch a silent film made in 2011.

Come on, does it get any more gimmicky than this?

There is a reason they stopped making silent movies 70 years ago.  Once the technology of sound was merged with film, it became basically moronic to make a film without sound.

Kudos to the The Artist for exploiting the system, finding a gimmick and (presumably) winning a few Oscars with what is (probably) a very average movie.  I hope the The Help, a book and film every woman I’ve ever met absolutely loves, can pull off the upset.  My vote with go to Moneyball.

I mean seriously, which of the following would you rather watch?


Older Posts »