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Updates: Promised Land: They Say Don’t Bother and That’s Exactly Why You Should Go See It

Against just about everyone’s recommendation, I went to see Promised Land. The theater was not full, although the theater complex had it’s share of customers. Most people went to see Les Mis or Silver Linings Playbook or The Hobbit. Here are my quick reviews of those: Les Mis: If you are a fan of the the stage play, you may be disappointed as I was, if not, but you like musicals or opera, go see it. The Hobbit can probably be summed up as Lord of the Rings without Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler and David Wenham, and who’d want to see that? I still want to see Silver Linings Playbook.

All that being said and done,  here is my pitch to you of Promised Land. I’m going to pitch it as if it’s my screenplay, and you’re my Hollywood producer contact.

But first the bottom line on top: The smear campaign against the movie calls it preachy, bloated, factually incorrect about fracking, and just a plain old bad movie. Not only are these reviews wrong, the claims pretty much illustrate what the writers are trying to say to us about how conservatives sell their agenda.

Here’s my pitch:

The logline of a movie is the one-liner that screenwriters use to pitch their idea to potential producers. It’s supposed to be a shapshot of the premise with irony. Movie loglines are not generally distributed to the public, and are not to be confused with the tagline which is. However, they say the logline can be usually be gleaned from the movie poster. In the poster for Promised Land, Matt Damon, playing Steve Butler, the gas company fracking salesman protagonist, is looking over his shoulder. The tagline above is: “What’s your price?” I’m going to say the logline is: “A young man who lost his own farming community sells his own loss to other farming communities as their last best chance for survival.” Or in Save the Cat terms, it’s about a guy from a rural community that was lost when the plant closed, who now survives by selling short term thinking to people in other rural communities as their only hope to avoid his fate.

Steve Butler will tell you, he’s not a bad guy. He the protagonist for pete’s sake. He’s the golden boy of Global Crosspower Solutions, just chosen to be its new  regional manager. His partner is devoted single mom, Sue Thomason played by Frances McDormand. The pair travel around the country, costume as the locals, and sell natural gas leases to people unsure of their future.

As most successfully pitched screenplays go, the protagonist goes through a character arc. He starts out in one place with flaws, does his thing in the first half to get from place A to place B, confronts many antagonists, from his own flaws to other people with opposing goals, fails, learns his lesson, changes, and gets to place B, or perhaps place C which is better than place B. If the protagonist is Matt Damon, he usually gets a girl along the way, but not before he loses her. Yes, Steve Butler has his character arc.

Antagonists? There are several. First, there’s the truck rented by Sue that frequently fails to start. Then, there’s the girl, Alice, sweetly and sarcastically depicted by Rosemarie DeWitt. Alice plays coy, and puts Steve through a town hazing rite. Then she depicts all the traditional love-interest behavior expected since the days of Shakespeare. But, Alice is the character who gives us the theme of the movie: It’s about learning how to take care of something even when it’s not easy. High school science teacher/retired Boeing engineer, Hal Holbrook’s Frank Yates, is the science establishment’s representative, but a gentle antagonist to Steve Butler. He gets the science, and he gets the economics. Partner Sue is another antagonist as she has her own competing love story, and interest in that promotion.

Eventually, perhaps a bit later than needed, enters super-antagonist, Dustin Noble, rival for the hearts of all the movie’s young women, Alice, her friends, her young students, and all the women in the audience, played by John Krasinski (and his teeth).  Krasinski plays the environmental activist who bests Steve Butler every time. He’s a smart alec who seems to have all the moves, and all the answers. Given what this movie is supposed to be about, he should have been the protagonist, shouldn’t he? Well, there is something off about Dustin Nobel, and if you’ve ever done any activism yourself, and I’m sure many of you reading this post have, you’ll notice it just like Steve and Sue notice that there something just a bit off about the horses.

In a real pitch to a Hollywood producer,  I would not be shy about revealing the twist, or the end, but this is a review, and I do want you to see they movie, so I’ll stop here on the story description. But, here’s the rest of my pitch:

Word of mouth on Promised Land is that, even if you’re against fracking, this movie is just bad, and not worth your time.  Fracking proponents wanted it to be a big, bloated, false-fact-laden attack on them. But, there are only two short scenes attempting to explain fracking. One is the Holbrook’s very short scene advising the townspeople to ask questions before signing on, and the second is a comedic bit Krasinski’s Dustin Nobel does in front of school children, and it’s not exactly what it appears to be. Some claim writers Damon and Krasinski are laughing at the people in the community, the American idiots. That’s not true either. The people who sign on with Global are not vilified. They represent the Americans whose American dream has died, and who do what they think they have to do for their families.

The one criticism that is true is that the movie was, in part, produced by Image Nation, a division of Abu Dhabi Media. The argument the frackers make is that this movie was made to smear fracking, and promote oil for the nation of UAE, as if natural gas and oil are the only energy possibilities that exist. The same critics don’t seem to be too disturbed that Men in Black 3 and The Help were produced by the same company, and what that might say about what happens when the money is sucked out of a country and expensive projects like film making have to be funded out of the country. Promised Land is part of a multi-film partnership Image Nation has with the other producer, Participant Media. They say they don’t care what the subject matter is when they choose the scripts. Their next joint film is a horror movie about an American oil company executive.

When the movie turned out to be a quieter statement that anticipated, giving both sides of the issue, and creating no real villains, the pro-fracking community ignored the reality, and continued on with their pre-release meme. Just Google the title, and you’ll see what I mean. But, writers, Damon and Krasinski (and Dave Eggers who came up with the original story along with Krasinski) were more clever than they are being given credit for in the reviews. They made their little quiet movie, and in doing so, it seems to me, they baited their opponents, and their opponents took the bait.  Opponents of the movie have done exactly what we in the left-leaning activist community have come to expect of them.  They don’t’ make their case by being correct, or telling the truth. They win, when they win, by reducing choices, and personally smearing individuals in the opposition. Global warming is false because Al Gore has a carbon footprint. The Clinton tax rates were bad because Bill was a cad with women. No need to ask questions about fracking because fracking opponents are all backed by the UAE, and dare to depict the American people stupid. There’s no honest debate on the issues, and there are no real choices. That is what Promised Land is about.

I give the movie 3 1/2 cat treats for a well-structured script, and setting things up so the chips will fall as they may (and usually do).

Updates: Harmony and Understanding — Sympathy and Trust Abounding

According to the Mayan calendar, the 21 of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth.~~Bolivian President Evo Morales

When I woke up Friday morning, there was no snow on the ground, and the world hadn’t come to an end. As December 21, 2012 rolled on, still nothing. The snow was easily explained by over enthusiastic weather teams at Chicago’s news stations. As for the end of the world–not, I decided to do a little investigation of what this Mayan Calendar was all about.

As it turns out, it’s unlikely the ancient Mayan’s thought December 21, 2012 was going to be the last day of life on the planet Earth. Mayans thought about time in terms of suns. This past Friday, to them, marked the shift from the fifth sun to the sixth sun. It’s supposed to mean change, not death. The good news, if you believe it, is that the sixth sun is an age of clarity and justice.

Ok, a lot of you might be thinking, Ellen’s lost it– she’s got the kittens writing her blog posts now. But, no–I don’t think we need to worship ancient Mayan gods, or sit around with a bunch of crystals waiting for a new age to happens. I do think we can create a new age, however, and I see signs of hope.

The first sign for me was the Supreme Court’s upholding the Affordable Care Act. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they did it for any good reason. I think that the insurance companies told their friends in the Supreme Court wing of the Republican Party that they sort of liked that mandate that forces people to purchase their high priced product. However, they also showed signs of not wanting to take the limited benefits of the ACA away. Perhaps Republicans are afraid of violating their two Santa Clause theory. The corporate Republicans beat out the Tea Party. Not much, but it’s a start.

The second sign was the decline of the Tea Party and the results of the 2012 election. We had a rare national moment of clarity when Mitt Romney and a slew of other Republicans went down in flames. Tea Party candidates, including Bob Dold, lost, and the Republican Tea Party Senate candidates saved the Democratic Senate for 2013. The results indicate that people are starting to distrust the whole trickle down/fake freedom thing. Other election signs of the new age included expanding rights in many states for the LGBT community and relaxed pot laws.

The third sign unfortunately came out of tragedy, and is a very mixed signal, but there is some hope. The horrible Sandy Hook shooting has revived the national call for gun control. It even caused the right-wing-nut Governor of Michigan to veto a guns in the schools bill.  I imagine that for all his bluster, he doesn’t want to be that guy who created the situation for another tragedy. Yes, a lot of these people know pushing guns on everyone is wrong, even as they support it.

The takeaway is that gun control discussion had become taboo, but now everyone is talking about it. Even some Republicans see the need to talk and many NRA members want to see some laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Sadly, the elementary shooting also also sparked record sales of guns. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA got a large amount of news coverage calling for a gun solution to the gun problem. He was criticized and protested, but got his beware of the boogeyman point across. However, his solution is untenable and unsustainable, and everyone knows it. There aren’t enough of those gun-laden good guys around for every school door and window, not the mention the malls and movie theaters. Not everyone can shoot well, even with training, and no one wants to give up the freedom of going out and about. The NRA, and their bought and paid for politicians, might win the first few rounds on gun control, but they won’t win in the end. They might even join the Tea Party in bringing the Republican Party back to reality, or bringing it down completely.

A holiday sign of a dawning new age–yes there is one. The annual war on Christmas isn’t going so well this year. The primary warriors have lost their allure, Fox and Friends fake Santa interview was stupid, they used a dubious Santa-for hire, and many are realizing that the real Scrooges are not atheists  homosexuals or liberals, but giant corporations sucking every hour they can out of beleaguer employees.

My final sign of a new dawn is about scientific discovery. Many in this country have rejected science for religion. There are currently existing religious-based school books that tell children that no one knows where electricity comes from. But, not everyone has rejected science. The realities of global climate change makes it a lot harder for people to argue that it doesn’t exist.  We landed a rover on Mars, and continue to learn about the galaxy. There have also been further discoveries in genetics. The Higgs Boson discovery helps explain things about the universe, and ourselves, that were previously only explained by religion.

I don’t think there’s anything magical about December 21, 2012, and I don’t think a new age just sprouts up from nothing, but I do think we can make an age of clarity and justice happen. We have to keep working at it, spreading logical argument and truth. We cannot allow false equivalencies to go unchallenged, and we cannot be intimidated into silence. We can create a new age, or we can go with that Oreo Cookie meme.

Updates: No Way to Live

Since the Connecticut school shooting, there have been many arguments about guns and gun control on television, on the Internet and in homes across the country. The NRA has been silent, claiming they are waiting for more facts about the case to come out, and still claiming that even though it’s the Monday after, and a lot has already come out. NRA supporters have not, however, remained silent, and continued to spread their talking points:

  • more people die in car accidents–not so true anymore
  • guns save lives–never true
  • the Second Amendment protects all gun ownership–no and I’ll give you more on this later
  • the founding fathers said so–no they didn’t
  • gun control does not work–again, not true
  • all we need is more gun education–at best, that only helps when the people with the guns do not want to use them, and many feel that would glamorize guns.

Gun advocates bottom line is that more guns in a gun saturated society will eliminate gun risk. They also argue that there is a some  acceptable level of dead first graders that we have not yet crossed–that these deaths are an acceptable cost of protecting gun rights. Do you believe these arguments make sense? If so, why when so much that we know counters these arguments?

Some people have said the only discussion worth having after this shooting is one about mental illness. I agree that mental illness is a very important issue that needs to be discussed. However, in the case of Sandy Hook, mental illness was not the only issue. Despite the very moving article I am Adam Lanza’s Mother about one mom’s struggle with her still undiagnosed son (possible Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder), that’s not the whole story in Connecticut.

It now appears that Nancy Lanza herself was a survivalist or prepper as they now call it. She was preparing for the end of civilized society. She believed that economic upheaval would cause shortages and dangers, and stocked food, water and weapons to protect her family. We’ll never know what she told Adam or why he took her guns, shot her and left for a grade school.

Apparently, there are a lot of preppers these days. Some of this is just another extreme reaction to the numerous end of world predictions that have gone on for hundreds of years, but a lot of it is new. Many people, egged on by religious zealots, and extremist right-wing media outlets, pundits and websites, have been convinced that the election, and now re-election, of Barack Obama is a reason to stockpile weapons. The societal disconnect that causes people to stockpile, and specifically stockpile weapons, has increased since the shooting last Friday. Gun sales have since soared. We are left to wonder what people with his point of view are thinking or planning. Why would we want to arm them?

Some claim the survivalists and preppers only want to protect themselves as allowed, or even commanded by the U.S. Constitution. They say that the Second Amendment guarantees gun freedom. If that’s true, why can the government prevent a person from bringing a gun into a government building, or on an airplane? It’s not true, and we already have some constitutional gun control–even under some very skimpy construction of the Constitution. You are searched for guns every time you go into a courthouse, statehouse or federal building. Is it only because the legislators and judges don’t want to fight the battles they find acceptable for a first and second grade class?

However, a true reading of the Second Amendment does not necessarily require such a limited ruling. The Second Amendment says this:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Many people want to ignore the first phrase about the “well regulated militia”. When interpreting the Second Amendment, however, you are supposed to interpret it as any law would be interpreted. There are rules of statutory construction. When interpreting a law, an interpretation that renders a portion meaningless is disfavored. The words “well regulated militia” are not to be ignored.

You’re also supposed to look at the context of a law. In 1788-1789, when the Bill of Rights was written and debated, the country was focused on its recent war with Great Britain, and the militias that helped with the war effort. The post-war debate was whether these militias were adequate to protect the country or was a regular army necessary, or preferable. George Washington, as the General of the regular Continental Army, experienced working with the rag-tag, untrained militias during the Revolution, felt the militias were dangerous, and did more harm than good. The matter was eventually settled in the U.S. Congress by the passage of laws regulating the militias–to get them under the wing of the Army, mandate uniform skills, training and weapons, and create a chain of command. The purpose of the Second Amendment was not to protect the individual’s right to commit mass murder, but to make it possible for colonies/states to put together reasonably functional militias, and make sure they were well regulated.

As a side note, James Madison found the militias to be a disaster when they failed to provide any sort of protection from the British during the War of 1812. After that, the regular army became the primary military body in the country.

When they’re not pointing to an incorrect interpretation of the U.S. founding, or U.S. Constitution, gun advocates point to a romanticized version of the Old West, but it’s not altogether true. Right after the Civil War, and during the Indian wars, guns were more common, but by the 1880s, most cowboys were not heavily armed. Some were not armed at all. Ranch bosses didn’t like heavily armed hands–too much trouble. Small western towns often had gun checks because they didn’t want drunken cowboys shooting up the place. There were gunfighters (loathed by residents of the west)  and target shooters in western shows (who we think of when we think of the Old West), but for the average person, guns were inconvenient and expensive. The weapons, ammo, and required paraphernalia were heavy and bulky. A loaded gun, ready to shoot, was very dangerous during a bumpy horse or carriage ride, so no one would have carried one around just for potential protection. Also, average farmers, farm hands and cowboys could not afford lots of guns and ammo. The average gun of the time cost several months of cowboy pay, and farmers had a lot of other expenses. These people were  not part of an affluent middle class. There was no affluent middle class as there was no labor, employment or financial regulation, and up until the late mid nineteenth century slavery, and post-slavery black unemployment, and the panics of the post Civil War era kept wages and crop prices low.

All history taken into account, we live in the modern era. Gun advocates want us to live in some modern automatic and super charged, bizarro version the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the movie version where no one sees the blood. The solution to gun violence is more guns– arm everybody with automatic weapons–except in the buildings where the gun laws are made–and let everyone shoot it out. Teachers, store clerks, homeowners, passers by, and school children are supposed to take the law into their own hands, and dispense street justice. If you or your child gets in the way, it’s a cost of doing business. Not everyone is going to be a good and steady shots with good judgment, but a gun class or two will fix that, won’t it? To top it all off, it’s conceal carry in most places, so no one ever knows who has a gun.

And it doesn’t end there because with all the concealed weapons around, the police argue for military hardware worthy of an elite military squad. We’re left with cops using that equipment against peaceful protesters, tear gassing students, and tasing unarmed young men, grandmas and pregnant women because, after all, with any stray movement, they could be pulling out a gun.

The gun advocate’s vision for this country is the street-level, and concealed, version of mutual deterrence, the nuclear policy of the 1950s and 1960. That policy led to great ideas like duck and cover, if by great you mean greatly stupid, and unhelpful. Now there are so many nuclear weapons left over that cannot be easily eliminated that we have to worry about terrorists and rogue nations getting ahold of one of them, because one is all they would need.

And, alll this gets even worse because gun advocates are really telling us that, unless we want to be in automatic weapon  gunfight with any person who passes the very limited gun ownership requirements–or simply takes the gun from their mother, we should stay in our homes, stay out of malls, out of  movie theaters, out of libraries, out of meeting halls, out of schools. Sounds more like a good way to control people than the way of a free people. They want us to live under the threat of automatic weapons in every aspect of our lives, but just like the Founding Fathers who struggled with the unhelpful and dangerous militias, the western ranch bosses and small western town officials who struggled with armed drunken cowboys and lawless gunfighters, and nuclear powers that struggle with how to safely get rid of their warheads, we know that living at the business end of a deadly weapon is no way to live.

Updates: Imagine What a Second Term President can do With a Lame Duck Congress: A Movie Review

(I tried to reduce spoilers, but if you’re sensitive about such things, read at your own risk.)

I went to see Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  It’s the more realistic version of Lincoln’s Civil War struggles than say Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the box office bomb that came from the most sought after script in Hollywood per script consultant, Danny Manus. I guess Americans, even present day Democrats, are still reluctant to believe that southerners are vampires. Although, many might believe that Illinois congressmen or lawyers are, but that’s a whole other story.

In any event, there is still a lot of interest in the real story of Abraham Lincoln. The Spielberg version made it to the top of the charts last weekend, bested only by some other vampires and James Bond. The Northbrook Court theatre was packed when I went to see it. I think people are still interested because his story is applicable to our current problems with a fractured country. While Abe would detest that there’s still talk of secession, he’d probably enjoy his story being reviewed for solutions to our current problems with war, taxes and need.

Lincoln came from a screenplay by Angels in America writer Tony Kushner, and was influenced by the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. In the movie, the war is all but won, and we see Abraham Lincoln, not as the hunter of vampires, but as the storyteller.

Wrapped in a plaid wool blanket over his suit during the winter of 1865, Lincoln, as played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is trying to tell just the right stories to convince enough Northern Democrats to join Republicans in voting for the Thirteenth Amendment before the southern states re-enter the union and make its passage impossible. At the same time, the president has to prevent the Radical Republicans, led by Tommy Lee Jones’ version of Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, from jumping ship because the Amendment does not include full rights and the vote. Tensions mount as Francis Preston Blair, depicted by a former Lincoln himself, Hal Holbrook, suggests he has enough his influence with the leaders in Richmond to end the war and urges the president to authorize him to begin negotiations.

How could they not end the war when so many have died? How could they end slavery when trying to negotiate a peace? How could they not, and leave it to yet another generation? The “so many have died” argument cut every way.

Some of his advisers tell Lincoln that ending the war is more important than ending slavery, but he responds,

Abolishing slavery settles the fate for all coming time, not only of the millions in bondage but of unborn millions to come. Shall we stop this bleeding? We must cure ourselves of slavery. This amendment is that cure. Here stepped out upon the world’s stage now with the fate of human dignity upon our hands. Blood’s been spilled to afford us this moment.

It’s powerful stuff and sort of belittles the argument that we should compromise to expediency in our own present-day struggles. Can anyone say “Public Option” or “Medicare for All”?

I liked the story of  Lincoln’s father moving the family out of Kentucky because a non-slave-owning farmer cannot compete with a slave-owning plantation owner. It’s a teachable moment on our own economy based on low low prices and low low wages. But, the most moving scenes for me were the one with Lincoln alone in the communications room with two young soldiers, and the one where Mary has words for Thad Stevens, showing she still has it despite all her problems.

There is some comic relief in the movie as Democratic operative WN Bilbo, along with a cohort, works to get Democratic support for the Amendment, member by member. They’ve been given some leeway toward corruption by the William Seward character so long as the president can remain out of it. Bilbo is a real historical character who actually refused a subsequently offered post for his efforts, although James Spader plays him like a Shakespearean fool, or his characters from Boston Legal and The Office. After Star Wars, every Hollywood movie seems to need its R2D2 and C3PO.

If you want to talk about performances, you have to credit Sally Field for hers as Mary Todd Lincoln, a tragic figure usually ignored or mocked. Todd Lincoln is still drowning in agony over Willy’s death and lack of attention from her husband, but is not so impractical as to want her husband to miss the opportunity for greatness. She stresses his mandate, and love from the nation, or half the nation, but that’s enough, isn’t it?

Robert is portrayed as sick of all of them and looking toward his own future. The real Robert Lincoln’s  subsequent treatment of his mother points to that being a fair depiction. I think his character represents the nation’s youth, or what’s left of it, wanting to get past everything so they can live. Perhaps we owe some moving on to our own era’s youth.

I could not help but think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked a lot like pictures I’ve seen of Robert Lincoln. In fact, the movie appeared very realistic in all its visual aspects, from Daniel Day-Lewis’ hair and Lincoln-esque stoop to Mary’s dresses and hairstyle to the hospital and just about every detail in every exterior and room shown. The city was supposed to be DC, but I was taken back to Springfield, IL. Everything looked like the Lincoln Herndon Law Office still standing at 1 South Old State Capitol Plaza and the Old State Capitol building. Kearns-Goodwin tells of taking Day-Lewis to Springfield to help him get into his role. She said he felt claustrophobic in the Lincoln house. He should have seen (or smelled) it before the feds took it over and cleaned it up.

Yes, the movie has enough Hollywood tension, and that’s hard to do in a movie devoid of vampires with a story to which everyone already knows the end. We know the task is accomplished, but how was it done? Would Stevens melt down on the House floor? Would the vote be delayed? Would the South demand the chance to kill the Amendment before surrendering? Would Blair ask his followers to abandon the amendment? Even if you are a historian and already know the answers to these questions, you want to watch it play out for its storytelling appeal. I’d like to imagine that Lincoln himself was enjoying the movie in the theatre along with us, but perhaps we should keep him out of theatres altogether.

All that being said the third to last scene was entirely gratuitous and unnecessary in my humble opinion.

Lincoln is the story of how the half-popular President Abraham Lincoln managed to get a necessary, but not necessarily politically expedient or popular, vote out of a lame duck U.S. House of Representatives. The end of slavery was long overdue. Our forefathers kicked the can down the dirt road in 1776, 1781 and 1787. There was always some issue considered too big and too important to risk.  There was always some political deal that had to be made that was considered more important. Lincoln had his own problems to worry about, but he finally said enough… now… stop the bleeding.

Today, we have to get past that fiscal cliff. Rumblings out of the White House, and even Dick Durbin’s office,  seem to indicate that the social safety net, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are on the table. Durbin seems to be trying to prepare us to give up most of our values. He doesn’t seem to get that we expect to win something after we won so big this past election. He also doesn’t seem to get that the policy win is critical for the entire country.

We liberals have always known that it’s a demand side economy and that the social safety net contributes to it. Supply side measures have been implemented time and time again, and always fail, yet they are still forced down our throats while our Democratic leaders repeatedly tell us it’s not time to make our move yet. Four years ago, we had to create mandates and insurance exchanges to benefit the health care and health insurance industries before we could help people. Talk of public options or single payer was blasphemy equated to Tea Party ramblings about false freedoms in guns and oil. Two years before that, we had to convince people that global warming in fact existed, even as waters rose and storms became more violent. Two years before that we had to worry about Iraq’s false connection to al Qaeda, proving that rich people needed more tax cuts and corporations more welfare, and everyone else needed to go shopping, on credit. The fallout from coasting on false controversy in all these issues grows every day.

Now, we’re told we have to tolerate tax breaks for the wealthy and a shrinking the middle class mired in foreign-produced products, and unregulated financial markets because if we ask for too much we’ll lose… well, it’s pretty unclear now what exactly we will lose that we haven’t lost already. But, I’ll go out on a limb and ask here, as Lincoln asked over 147 years ago, shall we stop this bleeding?

In the tradition of my old blog, I’ll rate the movie as I always have, in cat treats on a 5 cat treat scale. Lincoln gets 4 1/2 cat treats for good tension, wonderfully portrayed characters, and meticulous attention to detail, not to mention the roadmap old Abe gives to Barack Obama–a direct beneficiary of Abe’s hard work.


Updates: Why Obama Now


An animated short about the big choice in 2012’s presidential election – by Simpsons / Family Guy animator Lucas Gray – also available at