Barack Obama’s Legacy: Part Two – After the Supreme Court’s Health Care Reform Ruling

Published: PolicyMic (June 28, 2012)

Two months ago, in my editorial detailing the positive legacy President Obama will leave behind at the end of his first term, I deliberately avoided mentioning his health care reform bill, given that it was at that time “on the Supreme Court chopping block.” Now that it has been officially deemed constitutional, I think it is important to note the two-fold impact it will have on Obama’s historical reputation:

1. It will forever associate Obama’s name with the cause of health care reform. While most people take this for granted today, it is worth remembering that this issue was not at the top of the American policy agenda when Obama took office. The general public was focused primarily on the spiraling economic crash (which Obama has addressed much better than his critics are willing to admit) and, to a lesser extent, on the war on terror (especially Iraq), with the rest fracturing into small minorities when it came to the premium they placed on other major policy questions. Although Obama had mentioned his health care proposals often during his 2008 campaign, there was no reason to believe that he would necessarily prioritize that issue over the numerous others he broached once he actually took office. He wasn’t facing any particularly acute circumstantial or political pressure to act on it, as he was with the economic crisis or the Iraq War. read more

Movie Review for ‘Auschwitz’

Published: PolicyMic (June 28, 2012)

As the closing credits started rolling on the new German documentary Auschwitz, I found myself thinking – of all things – of a line from the 2007 Pixar feature Ratatouille, one of my favorite movies:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”

While films about the Holocaust aren’t usually magnets for negative criticism, Auschwitz is unique in that it was written and directed by Uwe Boll, a notorious B-movie schlockmeister whose resume includes celluloid atrocities like House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, and Blubberella. Specializing primarily in video game adaptations, Boll’s reputation is so poor that he is widely considered one of the worst filmmakers of all time. Inevitably, this has turned his work into catnip for aficionados of uproariously scathing movie reviews: See Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly writing that “when the giant, intelligent bees of the future sift through the ashes of our civilization, they will find Alone in the Dark, and they will understand,” or Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel viewing BloodRayne and simply asking, “Who is Uwe Boll and why does he hate moviegoers so?” Boll, in turn, has responded to this universal disdain in a number of unflattering ways, from bitterly lashing out against the writers and actors he blames for his failures, to challenging five of his fiercest critics to a series of boxing matches (an experienced pugilist, Boll won each time). read more

Feminist Musings of a Fat Man

Published: PolicyMic (June 17, 2012) 

I like to eat, and I don’t like to move.

That is why, roughly one year ago, I was sixty pounds heavier than I am today. For this, I have no one and nothing to blame but myself. In a nation plagued by a worsening obesity epidemic, excuses have become as common as credit card debt, which is why I make a conscious effort to avoid joining the chorus of people blaming their corpulence on elusive “glandular disorders” or needing to “eat to dull the pain.” While I don’t deny that problems such as these indeed exist, they are also overly used as excuses. That’s why I own that my past weight problems were due to my own poor discipline and lifestyle choices, a fact I continue to keep in mind as I struggle to lose the lingering twenty or so extra pounds today. read more

The Failures of Romneynomics

Published: PolicyMic (June 11, 2012)

The American people have made it clear that unemployment will be the dominant issue of this election. Polls consistently show voters prioritizing it far above every other policy question, with nothing else – not health care reform, not balancing the budget, not international relations, not gay rights – managing to place even a close second by comparison. Consequently, voters need to be made aware of some ugly truths about Romneynomics if they are to make an informed choice in November. read more

Why Mitt Romney is a Coward

Published: PolicyMic (June 6, 2012)

Back in 1964, a Republican Governor named George Romney performed an act of rare political courage. As party delegates convened in San Francisco to coronate Senator Barry Goldwater as their presidential nominee, Romney noted Goldwater’s opposition to civil rights legislation and announced that because “his [Goldwater’s] views deviate as indicated from the heritage of our Party, I will do everything within my power to keep him from becoming the Party’s next candidate.” Despite the vicious racism of the extreme right-wing (which had taken over the GOP through Goldwater’s candidacy), Romney stood by his vow, even willfully incurring their wrath by refusing to endorse Goldwater. read more