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Archive for June, 2012

Bring Forth the Anthropomorphic Space Raccoon!

There  were rumors for the bet­ter part of a year, and the appear­ance of “Thanos” at the finale of “The Avengers” ear­lier this sum­mer seemed to imply Mar­vel Stu­dios wanted to go cos­mic.

And appar­ently they will.  Vari­ety is report­ing that next month at the San Diego Comic-Con, Mar­vel will announce that for its May 2014 release — fol­low­ing the release of Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 next sum­mer — will be “Guardians of the Galaxy,” with 2008 ver­sion of the team being the like­li­est line-up to go with.

Cap­tain Amer­ica 2 will be released later on in late spring, pos­si­bly April of 2014.  Any sort of sequel to “The Avengers” would likely be released in late 2014 or sum­mer of 2015.

Mar­vel Stu­dios is ready to assem­ble its next group of super­heroes for the bigscreen: The Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Dis­ney divi­sion is expected to announce a “Guardians” film as its next tent­pole that would launch a new set of char­ac­ters on May 16, 2014. Stu­dio had pre­vi­ously planted a flag on that date for an unti­tled Mar­vel pic.

The Guardians are aliens in the 31st cen­tury — each the last of their kind — who travel back in time to enlist help to bat­tle the Badoon, an evil alien race that attempts to con­quer Earth’s solar sys­tem. First intro­duced in 1969 and again in 2008, the newer set includes Star-Lord, Drax, gun-toting Rocket Rac­coon and Groot, a tree. Char­ac­ters were recently fea­tured in an episode of the ani­mated series “The Avengers: Earth’s Might­i­est Heroes.”

In the comic­books, the char­ac­ters have crossed over into the “The Avengers” uni­verse, mak­ing them fit in eas­ily with Marvel’s bigscreen plans to expand the super­hero fran­chise — as would Ant-Man, another Avenger. And like its other Mar­vel prop­er­ties, Dis­ney can exploit the Guardians across all of the Mouse House’s divi­sions as TV shows, videogames, con­sumer prod­ucts and pos­si­bly theme park attractions.

Nicole Perl­man, who came out of Disney’s screen­writ­ing pro­gram, penned a ver­sion of the script that Mar­vel has been high on.

While Mar­vel will focus much of its Comic-Con pre­sen­ta­tion on “Iron Man 3,” lens­ing now in North Car­olina under the direc­tion of Shane Black, the com­pany will spend some time high­light­ing how it plans to intro­duce new char­ac­ters to auds the way it did with Iron Man, the Incred­i­ble Hulk, Thor and Cap­tain Amer­ica. Ses­sion wraps up Hollywood’s film pan­els on July 14.

The web­site Latino Review first reported Marvel’s plan to announce a Guardians pic at Comic-Con. Mar­vel declined to com­ment, although sources con­firm to Vari­ety that Dis­ney and Mar­vel are zero­ing in on the project, rather than a stand­alone Black Pan­ther project at this point.

Mar­vel top­per Kevin Feige has long dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a Guardians film, want­ing to pro­duce a big-budget space adven­ture. And Dis­ney recently secured trade­mark rights to pro­duce an array of con­sumer prod­ucts tied to the pic and its characters.

I own three of the four trade paper­backs (work­ing on get­ting the fourth, which is few and far between, even at comic book retail­ers) of the 2008 series which only lasted 25 issues.  Despite its short run, it was a fun read.

After all, when two of the main char­ac­ters are a foul-mouthed, gun-totting space rac­coon and a tree who can only say three words, what’s not to love?

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Sandusky Could Get $59,000 in Annual Pension in Prison

Let’s call a spade a spade here.  This isn’t the type of black eye gov­ern­ment unions want right now.

Too bad.  They’re prob­a­bly going to get one.

For­mer Penn State foot­ball coach Jerry San­dusky will likely receive his $58,898-a-year state pen­sion while in prison, unless a bill stalled in Pennsylvania’s sen­ate finance com­mit­tee is quickly passed by the leg­is­la­ture and signed by the governor.

The bill would pre­vent employ­ees con­victed of sex­ual offenses related to their jobs from receiv­ing their state pen­sions, said Cameron Kline, a spokesper­son for State Sen. Larry Far­nese, D-Philadelphia, who intro­duced the bill before San­dusky was charged with sex­u­ally abus­ing boys in his Sec­ond Mile program.

This was intro­duced on Oct. 18, 2011, well before Sandusky’s crimes came to light,” Kline said. “It’s some­thing we think would be very appro­pri­ate for a case such as this. Now that it’s over, we’re a lit­tle con­cerned, con­fused and angry it’s still stuck there. Appar­ently it’s not a pri­or­ity so the leg­is­la­tion still stays in committee.”

Kline said pass­ing the bill at this point would “be a tall order” given the process and the fact there are only a few days left in the senate.

Under cur­rent law, the pen­sions of pub­lic employ­ees can be seized when a mem­ber is con­victed of an Act 140 crime. That act includes crimes such as extor­tion, per­jury and bribery but does not include sex­ual abuse, accord­ing to the Penn­syl­va­nia State Employ­ees Retire­ment Sys­tem website.

Pam Phile, spokesper­son for the Penn­syl­va­nia State Employ­ees Retire­ment Sys­tem, said she could not spec­u­late on whether San­dusky will have to for­feit his pen­sion under the exist­ing law, which was passed in 1978.

SERS reviews the sen­tenc­ing doc­u­ments in reach­ing a for­fei­ture deter­mi­na­tion and there has been no sen­tenc­ing yet in this par­tic­u­lar case,” Phile said.

The obvi­ous ques­tion is some­thing along the lines of “Why didn’t this guy work to get his bill on the fast-track once the San­dusky trial started going?”  The law­maker him­self dropped the ball.  His lead­er­ship — which is Demo­c­ra­tic, which means it’s the bitch of the Penn­syl­va­nia pub­lic unions — let this bill die.

This embar­rass­ment is as much this lawmaker’s as it’s about to be the state of Pennsylvania’s.

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A Legal Victory, but a Likely Political Headache

Con­grat­u­la­tion lib­er­als. You have your health care law.

Too bad you had to lie to get it passed.

A tax is a tax, is a tax, is a tax after all.

While con­ser­v­a­tives might not like the way the rul­ing came down, how the hell do Democ­rats now defend on the stump that what they just spent three years fight­ing and defend­ing what may just end up being the grand­est tax increase in the his­tory of the republic.

In the mean­time, the Rom­ney cam­paign if hav­ing a mon­ey­bomb of Ron Paul pro­por­tions thanks to the ruling.

Am I dis­ap­pointed in the way the chief jus­tice ruled?  Yes but, like Charles Krautham­mer, I think he’s also telling Con­gress and those opposed to the law that they have an avenue for repeal — New Pres­i­dent, New Con­gress — and it’s not the court’s job to han­dle pub­lic policy.

(In a way, I feel today is a lot like when con­ser­v­a­tives were shocked McCain-Feingold was upheld when it first went to the high court.  They have the right argu­ment, just not the means or the avenue to get the job done until the open­ing Cit­i­zens United gave them.)

It’s now up to Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates to cam­paign on full repeal, to high­light the Dems and Obama just jacked their taxes $1,200-plus per­son, and have the pol­icy wiz­ards actu­ally have to come up with an alter­na­tive.  The “Hey, we’ll think of some­thing once we have the Sen­ate and the White House” idea is great in the­ory, but even­tu­ally you have to deliver.

Con­ser­v­a­tives can win this debate against the lib­eral argu­ment of “Health care is a right!,” because the left’s argu­ment is weak when put past the emotions.

Oba­maCare is a hor­rid law. The opin­ion polls con­firm that.  So, it’s all about what hap­pens next.

Con­ser­v­a­tives have a real oppor­tu­nity here and it is in Novem­ber.  That’s because when peo­ple look at the Amer­i­can health care sys­tem now, they see that it is bro­ken and that the same folks who gave us the IRS and the Post Office are not the same ones who ought to be run­ning what their doc­tor tells to do when they get sick.  They must offer a real alter­na­tive, one that works, and one they can cap­i­tal­ize on in November.

Because the biggest polit­i­cal headache the White House now faces is that they’ve just reawaken the very giant which took down the Demo­c­ra­tic House in 2010, and it looks like it might be open for a repeat per­for­mance in 2012.

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Cartoon of the Day

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SCOWI: Government Can’t Hide Behind Redacting Costs">SCOWI: Government Can’t Hide Behind Redacting Costs

My sin­cere snark-filled apolo­gies to Demo­c­ra­tic law­mak­ers like State Sen­a­tor Jon Erpen­bach and State Rep. Mark Pocan who have hid behind redact­ing costs as a way to get out of open-records requests.  No longer can they try to force a watch­dog into bank­ruptcy because of what they’re afraid of might come forward.

Amaz­ing that it was the Jour­nal Sen­tinel going against the City of Mil­wau­kee Police Depart­ment which will end the party of stonewalling for the two lib­eral icons of Madison.

Gov­ern­ment enti­ties can’t charge the pub­lic for time spent delet­ing con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion from records, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednes­day in a major vic­tory for open gov­ern­ment advocates.

The deci­sion set­tles a dis­pute between the Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel news­pa­per and the Mil­wau­kee Police Depart­ment. The news­pa­per sued the depart­ment after the agency charged it thou­sands of dol­lars to cover staff time spent redact­ing infor­ma­tion from hun­dreds of reports the news­pa­per had requested.

Mil­wau­kee County Cir­cuit Judge Thomas R. Cooper sided with the city, autho­riz­ing it to charge the news­pa­per for all costs of com­ply­ing with the requests, includ­ing time spent on redac­tions. The Jour­nal Sen­tinel asked the Supreme Court to take the case directly with­out a stop at the appeals court level and the high court agreed.

Chief Jus­tice Shirley Abra­ham­son wrote in Wednesday’s rul­ing that Wisconsin’s open records law allows record cus­to­di­ans to charge for repro­duc­ing, pho­tograph­ing, locat­ing and ship­ping records.

The city con­tended redac­tions equate to repro­duc­ing and locat­ing records, but Abra­ham­son wrote that dele­tions don’t fit into any of those categories.

Don’t believe me?  Maybe the guys at MacIver can fill you in on the details about Erpen­bach try­ing to stonewall and bank­rupt them with an insane cost attached to an open records request regard­ing his office’s emails dur­ing the flee­ing to Illinois.

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DCCC Nearing “Every Man for Himself!” Phase of Campaign">DCCC Nearing “Every Man for Himself!” Phase of Campaign

Fas­ci­nat­ing find by the team at the Weekly Stan­dard.  Seems the head of the DCCC, NY Con­gress­man Steve Israel, whose job is to make sure that Barack Obama has con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives after Novem­ber (not likely, but hey a man can dream) has pretty much acknowl­edged the pres­i­dent might not have the coat­tails they thought he might have.

In fact, he’s almost say­ing he approves with all these Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates announc­ing they won’t be in Char­lotte for the DNC in early September.

I don’t care if the pres­i­dent was at 122 per­cent favor­a­bil­ity right now,” he said. “I think (can­di­dates) should be in their dis­tricts,” rather than spend time at the con­ven­tion, which will be in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, Sep­tem­ber 3–6.

A trip to Char­lotte may be inter­est­ing,” Israel said, “but why leave your districts?”

The Demo­c­ra­tic con­ven­tion, dur­ing which Obama will for­mally be nom­i­nated as the Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial choice, is viewed war­ily by some of the party’s candidates.

The gath­er­ing to fete Obama is a par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive issue for Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates who are in close races in states or dis­tricts where Obama trails Repub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney in voter surveys.

Has any­one asked if Jaime Wall or Pat Kre­it­low will be in North Car­olina later this sum­mer?  I’m fully expect­ing Tammy Bald­win to be there, if not have a speak­ing role at the con­ven­tion.  She’s had such a role at pre­vi­ous DNC Conventions.

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Today’s Sign the End is Nigh

A New Jer­sey cou­ple is suing an 13 year old lit­tle lea­guer (The boy was 11 at the time) for the wife get­ting hit by a errant throw.  Her hus­band has included a suing with his own count because…well…the injury denied him sex.

(I wish I were kid­ding on that last part, but I’m not.)

A New Jer­sey woman who was struck in the face with a base­ball at a Lit­tle League game is suing the young catcher who threw it.

Eliz­a­beth Lloyd is seek­ing more than $150,000 in dam­ages to cover med­ical costs stem­ming from the inci­dent at a Man­ches­ter Lit­tle League game two years ago. She’s also seek­ing an unde­fined amount for pain and suffering.

Lloyd was sit­ting at a pic­nic table near a fenced-in bullpen when she was hit with the ball.

Catcher Matthew Migli­ac­cio was 11 years old at the time and was warm­ing up a pitcher.

The law­suit filed April 24 alleges Migliaccio’s errant throw was inten­tional and reck­less, “assaulted and bat­tered” Lloyd and caused “severe, painful and per­ma­nent” injuries.

A sec­ond count alleges Migliaccio’s actions were neg­li­gent and care­less through “engag­ing in inap­pro­pri­ate phys­i­cal and/or sport­ing activ­ity” near Lloyd. She con­tin­ues to suf­fer pain and anguish, incur med­ical expenses and has been unable to carry out her usual duties and activ­i­ties, the law­suit says.

And Lloyd’s hus­band, in a third count, is suing for the loss of “ser­vices, soci­ety and con­sor­tium” of his wife. They’ve demanded a jury trial.

Anthony Pagano, a lawyer for the Migli­ac­cios, said the law­suit is friv­o­lous and with­out merit.

I just think that it’s dis­gust­ing that you have peo­ple suing an 11-year-old kid for over­throw­ing his pitcher in the bullpen,” Pagano said. “It’s hor­ri­ble this can actu­ally hap­pen and get this far. Ulti­mately, hope­fully, jus­tice will prevail.”

Who said tort law wasn’t full of inter­est­ing B.S?

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Obama Booed Over Red Sox Joke

Know your audi­ence folks.  Know your audience.

(Though for an encore, I hear he cracks jokes about dead fam­ily mem­bers at the Kennedy Com­pound over the Fourth of July holiday.)

Pres­i­dent Obama, speak­ing to what was sup­posed to be a crowd of avid sup­port­ers, elicited sev­eral sec­onds of loud boos.

At a fundraiser Mon­day in Boston, the pres­i­dent thanked the infa­mously sports-crazed city for trad­ing Red Sox player Kevin Youk­ilis to his beloved Chicago White Sox.

Finally, Boston I just want to say – Thank you for Youk­ilis,” he said. “I’m just say­ing. He’s going to have to change the color of his ‘sox’  —ha, ha.”

But as the audi­ence out­cry grew, he quickly added, “I didn’t think I’d get any “boos” out of here, but — I guess I shouldn’t have — I should not have brought up base­ball. I understand.

My mis­take. My mis­take,” he said. “You’ve got to know your crowd.”

Then, in the audi­ence, a woman yelled, “We still love you!”

Of all my Boston-based friends, you learn fast you don’t make jokes about the Red Sox…or Tom Brady either.

That last one is rather depress­ing, since his post-marriage hair-style, male model look really calls for it.

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