The Dark Knight


So…

I stood in line first for tickets, then to enter the theater.

Showtime for the movie was scheduled for 5:00 PM. At 5:30 PM the ads and trailers were just ending.

And so began the epic journey of The Dark Knight.

Had an interesting story been written into this movie, the 152 minute running time may not have felt so epic.

Considering I got to the theater at 3:45 PM to get in line for a 5:00 PM showing and walked outside the doors of the theater at the end of the movie (didn’t even stay for all of the credits) at 7:45 PM, I wanted so badly to be feeling like I had just seen one of the best movies ever.

But

(Heavy sigh) That was not the case.

The GOOD news is that Heath Ledger is beyond outstanding in this film. His portrayal of the Joker is worth every ounce of praise he is getting. He simply was the genius of talent and if you missed his incredible performance in Brokeback Mountain or any of his other films, DO NOT MISS his performance in The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight is worth the price of admission and the time spent sitting through a movie lacking a good story.

I know that is an odd thing to say, but in this case it fits.

Christian Bale, again, plays a wonderful Batman. The best casting of Batman since Michael Keaton. However, the story is so unengaging that all of the other characters pale in comparison to Heath Ledger’s Joker.

So as to not give away details before the majority of the world has had the opportunity to see the movie, I will leave my commentary at that until the film has been in theaters longer. Although, I don’t think NOT knowing anything about the movie will help the story get any better or feel like it could be moving along much faster.

That said, if you go with high expectations regarding Heath Ledger’s performance and low expectations regarding a good story line to follow, you will probably leave the theater feeling satisfied (butt sore, but satisfied).

Mad Men

How could I forget Mad Men ??

My apologies to the fans of Mad Men

And

To all of you who emailed me to ask why I didn’t include Mad Men on my list of this summer’s television shows to watch.

Mad Men most definitely should have been on the list!

For those of us with childhood memories of the 1960’s, this show is truly like stepping back in time. While Jon Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper is absolutely deserving of his Golden Globe win, all of the other actors in Mad Men are equally engaging and deserving of a sweep at both the Emmy’s and the Golden Globe’s. Mad Men premieres Sunday, July 27 on AMC at 10PM.

A Resolution to Impeach President George W. Bush

An interesting and provocative contribution today from guest author Al Feldstein:

Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio
In the United States House of Representatives
Monday, June 9th, 2008
A Resolution

Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.

Article I
Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.

Article II
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.

Article III
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.

Article IV
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.

Article V
Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.

Article VI
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.

Article VII
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.

Article IX
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor.

Article X
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes.

Article XI
Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq.

Article XII
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources.

Article XIIII
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries.

Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq.

Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors.

Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives.

Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.

Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.

Article XX
Imprisoning Children.

Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government.

Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws.

Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.

Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.

Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements.

Article XXVII
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply.

Article XXVIII
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice.

Article XXIX
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.

Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency.

Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.

Article XXXIII
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001.

Article XXXV
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.

Vital Ground Protects Wetland Acreage

As a member of the Board of Advisors and the Development Committee for The Vital Ground Foundation, I am happy to share the following news:

Missoula, MT – The Vital Ground Foundation announced today that it has acquired 90 acres of crucial grizzly bear habitat at northern Idaho’s Bismark Meadows. Located just west of Priest Lake, Bismark Meadows is an 1,100-acre complex of meadows and wetlands that features a dramatic array of rare flora and fauna. It supports several endangered plant species and provides habitat for moose, elk, deer, black bear, wolves, lynx, westslope cutthroat trout, and eagles, as well as grizzlies.

The project complements a 19-acre parcel bordering State Highway 57 ─ a location especially vulnerable to commercial development ─ that the organization purchased in 2005. Both projects fall under Vital Ground’s Selkirk Grizzly Bear Habitat Conservation Initiative, which is designed to help bolster the “Threatened” grizzly sub-population. It is estimated that the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone hosts only 40-50 animals.

“The greatest threat to wildlife today is human intrusion into their habitat,” states Gary Wolfe, Vital Ground’s executive director. “Our conservation efforts in Bismark Meadows provide an increasingly rare wild refuge for imperiled animals and plants in a growing sea of development.”

As the surrounding Selkirk Mountains are often snowbound until early June, grizzlies must seek food in lower elevations when they emerge from hibernation. “This makes the meadowlands vitally important for the bears,” continued Wolfe. “Without continued access to these and other low elevation food sources in spring and again in autumn, the Selkirk population may fail.”

During 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Idaho Fish and Game Department biologists received reports indicating that up to three grizzly females with cubs were utilizing the meadows during the spring season. One female had two cubs and the other two females reportedly had three cubs each.

Vital Ground’s work in the Selkirks is supported in part through a grant from the Canmore, Alberta-based Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). Through this partnership, Vital Ground is contributing to Y2Y’s Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy, which is designed help strengthen ecosystem connectivity so that grizzlies in the Idaho Panhandle and northwestern Montana can move about safely and intermingle with the more robust populations in Canada.

Vital Ground is also negotiating an option to purchase a third parcel within Bismark Meadows in 2010 and has already completed a 1,647-acre conservation easement near Bonners Ferry, Idaho and additional acquisitions near the U.S./Canada border.

With the grizzly bear as its compass, Vital Ground works to reconnect fragmented landscapes in the U.S. and Canada critical to wildlife movement and biodiversity. Since its founding in 1990, Vital Ground has helped to protect and enhance more than 467,000 acres of habitat crucial to grizzly and other wildlife in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and British Columbia.

For more information, visit www.vitalground.org or phone 406-549-8650.

Jericho and America’s Deployed Troops

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again…I LOVE these people!

Here’s the latest from the Jericho fandom:

SECOND ROUND OF DVDS HEADED TO DEPLOYED TROOPS

Thank-you messages from Jericho execs to accompany DVD shipment

There’s more to fans of the serial post-apocalyptic show Jericho than shipments of nuts. They’re also good for hundreds of DVDs being shipped to deployed service men and women who need a little entertainment and relief while serving their tours of duty in harm’s way. It is just the latest in Jericho fans’ continuous drive for humanitarian efforts via the Internet, while they also forge ahead in the quest for a new home for their canceled show and a more accurate ratings system to measure TV viewership.


On the heels of a successful DVD campaign that garnered more than 100 Jericho Season 1 DVDs for members of the military over the last Christmas holiday season, Jericho fans — intent on reminding our brave soldiers that they are never far from their hearts or minds — have come together in the second leg of their efforts to double their first-time total. With $5,380 in donations gathered through an Amazon.com gift wish program, Jericho fans, or Rangers, as they are often called, wrapped up the DVDs for the Troops 2 campaign last week with 219 Jericho Season 2 DVDs. They will be shipped directly to the troops from the Staten Island Project Homefront (SIPH), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting U.S. troops with frequently requested items such as snacks, CDs, books, and personal items.


As with the first effort, the DVDs will be accompanied by messages of support from Jericho fans all over the
country. As a special additional treat, each DVD also will include words of encouragement and gratitude from writers and producers of Jericho. They’ll hear messages, such as Co-Executive Producer Dan Shotz’s:
“Jericho, at its core, is a show about hope. You guys define hope. Thank you for all you do,”or from Executive Producer Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure,” National Treasure: Book of Secrets”): “You’re an
inspiration to all of us.”


Of the 219 total Season 2 DVDs, 21 of them came from a middle school classroom in Boca Raton, Florida, where teacher Susan Oyer challenged her students to help make a difference. Through money earned by doing chores and hunting for spare change on schoolroom floors, they raised nearly $450 for the cause. The Jericho4Kids site (www.Jericho4Kids.com), created for and by young Jericho fans, raised $267 for the effort, and an auction of show memorabilia obtained and donated by Jericho on-set dresser Mike Loomer produced an additional $975 for the campaign.


Beyond the DVDs for the Troops effort, Jericho fans have made an impact with other humanitarian fundraising efforts as well, including:


  • A $20,667 donation in 2007, with the assistance of http://www.Nutsonline.com, to Greensburg, KS to aid in a massive rebuilding effort following a catastrophic F5 tornado;
  • Ongoing care package shipments of toiletries, games, books, DVDs, etc. to a designated military contact and Jericho fan on behalf of other troops serving in Iraq;
  • The current Spreading the Nutty Love campaign, in which nearly $1,080 worth of peanut butter (378 jars) and other food essentials are being donated to the Kansas Food Bank (in a state especially hard-hit by tornadoes); and,
  • Various smaller efforts on behalf of individual Jericho fans who suffered various medical and/or financial difficulties.


It is estimated that Jericho Rangers have raised at least $32,000 total in the past year for philanthropic endeavors, though the figure is probably much higher.


If you would like more information about DVDs for the Troops and plans for further expansion of those efforts, please visit www.jerichorangers4ourtroops.com.