Archive for May, 2009

Not so fast on Sonia Sotomayor

Would you want a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court whose majority opinions while on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rulings were reversed by the Supreme Court 60 percent of the time?

I don’t have the soundbyte, but yesterday on The Laura Ingraham Show, they stated that President George H.W. Bush appointing Sotomayor to the federal bench in 1992 was actually something orchestrated by then-New York Senator Patrick Moynahan. (Sorry, I don’t know the details, but it had to do with the president approving judges submitted by senators).

Matt Drudge dug up this interesting article from the archives of the New York Times and posted it on his website.


Review of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”

I saw this last night, checking it out from my local library. It’s one of those movies I chose to give the benefit of the doubt, a film critics lashed out at.

For once, they were actually right. You know the old saying–a broken clock is right twice a day.

In a nutshell: Adam Sandler plays a superskilled (and perhaps superhuman) Mossad agent who tires of fighting terrorism, fakes his death and moves to New York to pursue his dream job as a hair dresser. He eventually finds work in a salon that includes the token gay hair stylist.

What I liked about You Don’t Mess with the Zohan: The Rocky montage spoof where John Turturro (an Italian who plays a “Palestinian” in this film and another one of my favorite actors) gets back into shape. He gets out of bed, pushing through the pile of his many wives, goes to eat two raw eggs that turn out to be two baby chicks, then goes out to pound on sides of beef (including a live cow) and then races through the desert up the stairs of the Middle Eastern equivalent of Philadelphia’s Freedom Hall. I laughed myself silly at this.

What I didn’t like about Zohan: Unfortunately, just about everything else, including Rob Schneider as the Palestinian cab driver.

Yes, I like Adam Sandler and have heard he’s one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, but this film was just too, well, gross. I’m not Jewish, but I am very fond of Israel and the Jewish people. Why would Sandler (who, granted, makes a lot of self-deprecating humor) choose to make a movie that depicts Jews as sex fiends and electronics store employees who cheat their customers? Who knows, maybe it’s possible I’m missing something. It’s also possible the movie just wasn’t funny.

I think this film would’ve worked better as a serious drama. I liked the premise: Mossad agent fakes his own death and moves to another country to pursue his dream job.

And, yes, when Zohan falls in love with a Palestinian girl, it reminded me of the passage in Judges 14:2-3 where Samson’s parents wonder why he wants to marry a girl from their enemy nation instead of finding a girl in Israel. Yes, I know sometimes people find love where they least expect it, but this just came across as too, well, politically correct for me.

Adam Sandler is an endearing man, but overall I found myself disappointed he resorted to so many sex jokes in this film (even more so than The Water Boy, which I didn’t really care for). It made me want to boil my eyes and ears and, frankly, I’m now very reluctant to see any more of his films if they’re of this ilk.

Is Sonia Sotomayor the right choice for Supreme Court?

May 26, 2009 1 comment

President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice David Souter. If elected, she would become the first Hispanic to sit on the high court.

She’s from New York and comes from a humble background, including having been a diabetic since eight years old and having a father who died early in her life. She’s 54 and has been announced as highly qualified by the president. Word is she’s very liberal who makes an issue of race and gender and is a judicial activist.

Some in Michigan say confirmation should go smoothly although there are some Republicans who want to check her background to see how she’s voted, decided, etc. Well, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do before giving a person the power to be a judge on the nation’s highest court?

Another TV reporter up here said some GOP senators might be reluctant to vote against her out of fear it could create a negative backlash against their Hispanic constituents* (in the next few decades, the Hispanic population is said to become the largest ethnic group in the nation). Well, I don’t remember any Democrats taking this advice when they tried unsuccessfully to stonewall African-American Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas (who was narrowly confirmed).

Bottom line, GOP leaders: if you feel she’s far too liberal or too unqualified, you owe it to say so and vote that way. Please stop treating your job like a popularity contest. Yes, I know it’s about political survival, but bad judges make for even worse laws.

* My wife’s a quarter Hispanic. She tells me Supreme Court nominees should be judged by their qualifications and not their skin color or ethnicity. She’s fed up with politicians playing the race card.

Kim Jong-Il, Jim Morrison and other thoughts

Yes, I think North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il is crazy. I also think he conducted his recent nuclear test as a way of testing the West to see what he can get away with. I’m curious to see what President Obama’s response will be…

…I’m reading a biography on Jim Morrison, the late lead singer of The Doors. Morrison died at 27 back in 1971 and would be 65 if he were still alive. The book, The Lizard King, describes Morrison as a cerebral man whose inteligence made him bored with life. When I look at Morrison, all I can think is what a sad waste of talent. He was a gifted thinker and poet, and because of his untimely death* we’ll never know how far he could’ve gone.

* French authorities officially ruled Morrison’s death a heart attack, but other reports say Morrison accidentally snorted heroin thinking it was cocaine and that the heroin combined with his alcoholic stupor led to his death. We’ll never know for sure since the only witness, his girlfriend Pamela Courson, died in 1974 at 27 and never really revealed those last moments…

…No full-time job yet, but I’m sending out resumes, applying for jobs online and calling people to nudge them. We’ll see what happens.

‘Paul Blart: Mallcop’ review

I actually saw this film when it was in the theaters a few months ago.

What I liked: Kevin James is a great physical comedian, the type of character you love to cheer for. (I must admit, though, I’m not a huge King of Queens fan since it’s another cookie-cutter “Husband is an idiot” show).

What I disliked: The plot of this film, while overall new, was very much formula-driven. Man is doing a remedial job instead of his dream one, he saves the day, wins the girl and lives happily ever after.

Overall, I liked it. No, I doubt there should be a sequel, but this movie was ok.

Fall TV Lineup

NCIS has a spin-off called NCIS: Los Angeles. It’ll star LL Cool J, one of those musicians whose acting skills show he could quit his day job if he wanted. This probably means J (real name: James Todd Smith) is probably practicing the West Coast equivalent of the famed Gibbs Head Slap.

Jenna Elfman, who was wonderful as Dharma Freedom Finkelstein Montgomery on Dharma and Greg, will return to CBS in the fall in Accidentally On Purpose, a sitcom where she’s a film critic who gets pregnant shortly after dating a guy. Dunno about that one. One has to hope it’s an improvement over Courting Alex.

Medium is moving to CBS. While I don’t always agree with the subject matter, I’ve found this to be a fascinating show. I wonder if NBC will regret this the way they regretted letting JAG get away.

24 season finale


I found this one to be, well, different. I must admit that probably my favorite 24 season finale was the end of Day Five where Jack is taken to China by Cheng Zhi as revenge for his part in the botched kidnapping that resulted in the death of a Chinese official (attention, 24 producers, please find a way to work Tzi Ma back into the script. He’s so far my favorite 24 villain).

As we watched the two-hour season finale, there was a retread of a common 24 story line along with a retread of a common television and movie idea.

Jack is threatened with the death of his daughter if he doesn’t give Tony Almeida over to the bad guys. So, Jack turns rogue cop and forces the others at gunpoint to let him and Tony get away. Sigh. Hasn’t this been done to death already?

Then, we find out Tony’s true intentions. First we thought he was a villain. Then we realized he was a double agent. Then we realized he was a triple agent. Turns out, he was a quadruple agent. His intent was to get to the top of the bad guy list by pretending to be a rogue who had everyone believing he worked for them and then that he was a traitor. So, Tony finally gets the Head Honcho Alan Wilson (played by Will Patton) where he wants him and then, instead of killing him to avenge the death of his wife Michelle and their unborn son, he goes through a lengthy explanation of how and why he’s done what he did. And, yes, as Tony prepares to pull the trigger, he is shot by cops who take the Head Honcho into custody. If this Talkative, “Why and How I did it” criminal sounds familiar, it’s pretty much what we’ve seen in Diagnosis: Murder.

So, the season ends with Jack getting a bone marrow transplant from his once-estranged daughter and Tony being taken off to jail and with agent Renee Walker (played by Anne Wersching) closing off a room to confront Wilson, a la Jack Bauer. We presume she’ll torture him into giving up the others in his secret society. Perhaps through broken fingers, electricity or endless reruns of Seinfeld.*

What does next season hold? I wonder if we’ll see the kid who played Behrooz in Season 4 resurface as a terrorist who wants revenge on Jack. This and we have no concrete proof that Jack’s terrorist Dad is actually dead.

Yes, I know that some think the show’s been going too soft on Islam lately, but if every season featured threats by Muslims, that would get old also.

* Yes, I hated Seinfeld and think it’s the most overrated, unfunny “comedy” in television history. And since I love to laugh, I’m not being a stick-in-the-mud.