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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
As far as Ukraine goes, I think Mark Shields had the best line when he said that all we can do is hope for the best there. And that means some peaceful agreement that calls for real elections, with the opposition having a real shot at winning, not stealing or having the elections stolen from them, but actually winning the elections with the ruling party, with the current Ukrainian administration accepting the results of the elections, and that means stepping down from power if they lose or continue to govern if they win.

As far as free trade goes, something I tend to favor, especially as someone who lives in a country of 310 million people that is part of a world of six billion people, we simply can’t afford to close our borders. Our companies and economy, including workers, would be denied billions of dollars every year for not trading with other countries that can afford to buy our products.  I think even organized labor now understands that we must trade with other countries.

The real question is how you trade with other countries and have trade agreements that give your products the same access in foreign markets as foreign countries have in this country. Do you encourage companies, foreign and domestic, to invest in America or take those jobs overseas? So of course I want free trade, but we also need to stop encouraging companies to send good American jobs overseas in order for trade to work for America.

Ukraine

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You would think people who call themselves conservatives (and I say that because it is debatable whether these people are conservatives), but to finish this point, you would think these so-called conservatives who are opposed to public assistance or even the minimum wage would be in favor of raising it modestly, because it would mean these workers would have more income to pay their own bills and as a result need less in public assistance.

 

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Grumpy Old Men
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

What else do two lonely grumpy old men who also happen to be played by one of the best comedy teams of all time,Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, need more than Ann Margret. But that is exactly what this movie is about: two lonely guys who happen to live across the street from each other, their worst enemy, and yet probably couldn’t explain why they do not like each other. And there just happens to be this gorgeous sexy redhead played by Ann Margret who moves into their little rural Minnesota town and energizes both their lives.

I haven’t seen this movie in a while but if memory serves, these two senior citizens are in their late sixties or seventies and hate the hell out of each other but also happen to have lived across the street from each other in a rural small town in Minnesota for 40 years or more. They hate each other but don’t know why and are also lonely widowers with kids, and  Jack Lemmon’s character is a grandfather as well, with a son-in-law, and they have plenty of time to play childish pranks on each other.

Things change when Ann Margret comes to smallville Minnesota to live up the street from Walter and Jack and gives both of these lonely widowers something to live for. They are both old enough to be Ann’s father but both make a big play for her and take her out in the hope of starting a romance. This movie becomes a competition over who will be Ann Margret’s next boyfriend.
Movie Clips: Grumpy Old Men 1993 Official Trailer

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4dd7e-7705642814_8f28e32522_oSource: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

First, with this movie, just to get a little personal, what other reason do you need to watch a movie, especially if you are a guy, than to know that both Raquel Welch and Dyan Cannon are featured at the top of their game (well, Raquel Welch has always been at the top of her game), but these two gorgeous sexy goddesses in the same damn movie acting together?

Now, in case you are actually interested in this movie, even with Raquel and Dyan in it, it is still not a great movie, but a very entertaining and funny detective movie played by actors who are playing actors and not detectives. A Hollywood director, James Coburn, gives up his yacht to Hollywood friends and associates in Hollywood who play detective and solve the mystery.

The excellent cast numbers 10 or more. Richard Benjamin, a terrific comedian and very good if not great actor, plays Tom, a film writer, who thinks he knows who killed the women and gets a lot of it right about who could have done it, who had the access, and so forth. Phillip, played by the great James Mason (North by Northwest among other great movies) is reserved throughout the movie but at the end figures it out. Raquel and Dyan are basically just along for the ride and clueless, but, as I said earlier, very welcome additions .

Ned Erama: The Last of Sheila 1973 Trailer

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Canadian Football League expansion, or CFL expansion in America, was a great idea because the CFL, lets face it, was a 9-team league back in the early 1990s, before they expanded inside the United States. From a country (Canada) of roughly 30 million people struggling just to pay their bills, let alone save a few dollars, they needed American fans and American dollars spent on the CFL to pay their bills. At the time, there were plenty of major markets inside the U.S. that could afford and want to support major league gridiron football.

The problem with the CFL expansion was that it was poorly executed and poorly thought out, which is what happens when you get 10-20 thousand fans at CFL games inside 65 thousand-seat stadiums, which is what they had in Memphis and San Antonio, because they didn’t have the right marketing for America or the right management groups for the American teams.  Only Baltimore was profitable in the CFL, while Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Shreveport, Memphis, and Birmingham all folded in the CFL.

Thanks to the new United States Football League, the CFL, I believe, will have the opportunity to merge with the USFL, especially if they agree to play in the spring and summer instead of summer and fall. And you could have an American Football Conference and a Canadian Football Conference in this united league in the future. There will be a future blog about that, but bringing in an American conference would more than save the CFL financially and give lots of Canadian and American football fans teams to root for and follow.

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The whole debt limit debate in Congress was really about the 2014 mid-term congressional elections for House and Senate Republicans who want to add to their House majority and win back the Senate and not see another fight on this issue, especially if they lose. House Speaker John Boehner brought a clean debt limit bill to the House floor and told his Republican Conference to vote the way they wanted on it, because enough House Democrats will vote in favor of it anyway and he could send it to the Senate.

As far as Senate Republicans go, who are still in the minority but can block legislation from coming up for votes if they are united, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rounded up enough Republican votes to allow for the debt ceiling bill to be voted on and then told his conference to vote the way they wanted, but we are not going to block this bill and we are going to move onto other issues where we can score political points.

With the Affordable Care Act, more Americans are getting health insurance than would have if nothing was done and we still have the health care system that we had pre-2010. The progress is slower than Democrats would like, obviously, but the progress is real and Americans are starting to feel it to the point that it may not cost Senate Democrats the Senate in 2014 alone and may give them a fighting chance to hold onto the Senate if they are able to make their elections about the economy, including immigration, where they have clear advantages.

 

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

If Senator Tim Scott is talking about expanding educational choice in the public school systems including charter schools, then I’m all for that as long as the Federal Government is not mandating this without the funds to pay for them. And I would also expand educational and job training opportunities for low-skilled workers and low-skilled adults who aren’t currently working so they acquire the skills to find good jobs.

If Senator Scott is saying that we should do those things plus school vouchers and mandating them from the Federal Government and taking the decision away from States and localities about whether to use taxpayer funds that would normally go to public education to pay for private schools instead, then I’m not in favor of that on the Federal level, and if States and locals want to do that, then that is their business. But for the Feds to be involved in education at all it should be in public education as a helper and funder but not as a director.

 

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