"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Repost: Democrats Caused Wall Street Debacle

This was originally posted in October 2008. Just a stroll Down Memory Lane for some trolls:

The Democrats are up to their eyeballs with responsiblity for the current crisis on Wall Street over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Barack Obama was the no. 2 recipient of campaign donations from Fannie Mae (Sen. Christopher Dodd was no. 1).

Two former CEOs of Fannie Mae are now on Obama's staff as economic advisors: Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson. Those two raked in millions of dollars for themselves.

Another noted Democrat was involved (from Michael Reagan's article, link below):

Jamie Gorelick, an official in Clinton’s Justice Department — the woman who built the “wall” that prevented the FBI from targeting terrorists before 9/11 — worked for Fannie Mae and took home $26 million.

Gorelick should be familiar to us from the 9/11 Commission Report as she was the one responsible for keeping the CIA from sharing terrorist data with the FBI before 9/11 thanks to her wall.

The Wall Street Journal has a compendium of articles warning of the debacle and the involvement of Democrats: Wall Street Journal Compendium

The Obama campaign is currently trying to blame Republicans for this crisis, but that won't fly as the real facts are now coming out. In fact, McCain warned of a possible crisis (source: Michael Reagan):

Obama brazenly blames John McCain and the GOP for the current Wall Street mess when it’s clear none of it was due to Republican policies. The truth of the matter is that it was McCain and three GOP colleagues who sought to reform the government’s lending policies three long years ago after the Bush administration had failed two years earlier. On May 25, 2006, McCain spoke on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, and warned against the debacle we are now facing if it failed to pass.

He told the Senate that a report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight charged that “Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives.”

McCain warned, “If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”

McCain predicted the entire collapse we now are suffering through. He stressed the falsification of financial records to benefit executives, including Obama advisers Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson.

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online writes:

The current financial crisis stems in large part from the fact that people who shouldn’t have been buying a home, or who bought more home than they could afford, now can’t pay their bills. Their bad mortgages are mixed up with the good mortgages. And thanks in part to new accounting rules set up after Enron, the bad mortgages have contaminated the whole pile, reducing the value of even stable mortgages.

Of course, there are other important factors at work here, having to do with changing technology among other things. And even if the bad mortgages weren’t in the system, we’d still have the hangover from the end of the housing boom. But the financial system could have handled that with the usual corrections. The biggest dose of poison entered the financial bloodstream through Washington. And some people warned us. In 2005, Fannie Mae revealed it overstated earnings by $10.6 billion and that it didn’t really know what was going on. The Bush administration pushed for reforms, but those efforts were rebuffed by Congress, with Democrats Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd taking point, because Fannie and Freddie have spent millions in campaign contributions.

In 2005, McCain sponsored legislation to thwart what he later called “the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole.”

Obama, the Senate’s second-greatest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie after Dodd, did nothing.

Meanwhile, Raines, the head of a government-supported institution, made $52 million of his $90 million compensation package thanks in part to fraudulent earnings statements.

Hopefully, people will remember this when they go to the polls in November.

To see Michael Reagan's full article:
Michael Reagan: Democrats Own Wall Street Debacle

To see Jonah Goldberg's full article: Wall Street Fat Cats Aren't At Fault This Time

Since the above was posted, a YouTube video surfaced showing Barney Frank and Maxine Waters attacking "whistleblowers" who were sounding the warning over Fannie and Freddie with Waters injecting the "race card." Just do a search at YouTube for Barney Frank and Maxine Waters along with Fannie and Freddie and you'll find it.

The Chief and Me

Rummaging around my old photo albums yesterday, I came across the above photo of former Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police Ed Davis and myself at the Republican State Convention at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. The photo was taken in 1978.

Davis went on to become a state senator in the San Fernando Valley. At the time the photo was taken, he was running for governor of California. The photo was taken in his convention hospitality suite.

Those were the days when we had (somewhat) a viable Republican Party in California. Now it is a virtual one-party state run by left-wing lunatics.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Early "Captain Rowdy" Frank Lunney

Above, Frank Lunney performing at the Portuguese Peddler in Torrance, California circa 1977. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back during my college days, I worked as a phone solicitor for the Los Angeles Times selling the newspaper to South Bay residents. The "boiler room" was located in Redondo Beach, California.

Above, yours truly in San Francisco in 1978.

One of my co-workers was Frank Lunney.

Frank found his "calling" (pun intended) as a comedian while calling to sell the paper and cracking jokes in the process. It was here he got the idea to try out being a stand-up comic.

So, he contacted local bars and clubs to see if he can try out his act. He'd have me come along for photography and morale-boosting.

I was going through my old photo albums today and found some pictures of Frank on-stage. These are the earliest photos (around 1977-78) of the comic who became successful on the circuit as "Captain Rowdy" (sometimes spelled "Captain Rowdie" as the ad at left shows).

Above, another shot of Frank at the Portuguese Peddler. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Frank's appearance at the Portuguese Peddler was probably his first as a comic in a professional public setting. Another location was the Sweetwater Cafe in Redondo Beach, California. If memory serves, Frank performed when the band, Sweethearts of the Rodeo took breaks.

Above, Frank at the Sweetwater Cafe in Redondo Beach. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Frank later went on to do talk radio and he currently does so during the wee hours of the night.

The above photos are some of his earliest comedic work (roughly 35 years ago). The rest is history.

Japan Aims At 18 Million Tourists By 2016

Above, the Landmark Tower in Yokohama. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Jiji Press reported that a new basic Japan tourism plan was adopted:

Tokyo, March 30 (Jiji Press)--Japan adopted a basic plan for national tourism promotion on Friday at a cabinet meeting that set a goal of boosting the annual number of foreign tourists to 18 million in 2016.

Under the five-year plan through 2016, Japan aims to rebuild from the March 2011 disaster and boost tourism consumption to 30 trillion yen.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monster Japan Travel Guide Newspaper Review In The Works

A writer for The Japan Times, "the most widely read English-language newspaper in Japan," has requested a review copy of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. It is now in the process of being sent.

In the request email, it was noted that two other books were under consideration for review, but were passed on. The Japan Times was very much interested in the travel guide.

Once the review article is published (in newspaper and online formats), I will post a notice at this blog.

"Gamera," Guardian of Japan's Airspace

Gamera is widely known as a giant turtle monster who is "the friend of children" and a protector of Japan in the movies. But "Gamera" is also known in real life as the "protector of Japan's airspace."

"Gamera" is based on a tiny island in the East China Sea at the Shimokoshikijima Sub Base of the Air Self-Defense Force.

To see "Gamera," Guardian of Japan's airspace, go here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

L.A. Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention In May

The Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention mailer arrived today. Their next show is set for May 6 at the Shrine Auditorium Expo Center and the special guest list is quite impressive.

Lara Parker (left), who played Angelique in ABC-TV's Dark Shadows.

Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Kathryn Leigh Scott (below right), who played Maggie Evans and Josette on ABC-TV's Dark Shadows.

Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Barbara Leigh, the original Vampirella cover model for the classic run of Warren's Vampirella magazine.

Ian Ogilvy, who starred as The Saint in the 1978-79 television series The Return of The Saint.

Audrey Dalton, who starred in Boris Karloff's Thriller and The Monster That Challenged The World.

Ann Robinson, who starred in the George Pal (and still the best) version of War of the Worlds.

Georges Jeanty, Dark Horse comics artist on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Last January, I had a table for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. I may just do it again at this show. I've a couple of weeks to decide.

It is timely that the show will feature two of the original Dark Shadows cast members as the Tim Burton movie version will be released the same month. Both actresses appear in a cameo.

Obamacare Headed For "Ash-heap of History"

It appears that the entire Obamacare package is headed for the "ash-heap of history," according to an article from the Los Angeles Times.

They wrote:

The Supreme Court's conservative justices said Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.

Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law's controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.

The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.

"One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto," said Justice Antonin Scalia.

Agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said it would be an "extreme proposition" to allow the various insurance regulations to stand after the mandate was struck down.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they shared the view of Scalia and Kennedy that the law should stand or fall in total. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, they would have a majority to strike down the entire statute as unconstitutional.

If so, good riddance!

To read the full article, go here.

Strife May Be Excuse To Keep Obama In Office Through Martial Law

Back on March 16, President Obama signed an executive order giving the White House absolute control over all the country’s natural resources in case of a natural disaster or during a time of war.

According to Fox Nation, Obama "granted to himself the authority to approve the dispensing of all domestic energy, production, transportation, food, and water supplies as he deems necessary to protect national security."

This action was troubling to a great many people. And it should.

Fox Nation posted:

Despite the national defense hurdle that ostensibly must be jumped in order for the order to take effect, the text of the document itself does not limit implementation to a time of war. In fact, the specific sections of the order make it clear that the President can take complete command and control of the country’s natural resources in peacetime, as well.

Jim Garrison at The Huffington Post (hardly a stronghold of conservative thought) goes even further:

President Obama's National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order of March 16 does to the country as a whole what the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act did to the Constitution in particular -- completely eviscerates any due process or judicial oversight for any action by the Government deemed in the interest of "national security." Like the NDAA, the new Executive Order puts the government completely above the law, which, in a democracy, is never supposed to happen. The United States is essentially now under martial law without the exigencies of a national emergency.

Even as the 2012 NDAA was rooted in the Patriot Act and the various executive orders and Congressional bills that ensued to broaden executive power in the "war on terror," so the new Executive Order is rooted in the Defense Production Act of 1950 which gave the Government powers to mobilize national resources in the event of national emergencies, except now virtually every aspect of American life falls under ultimate unchallengeable government control, to be exercised by the president and his secretaries at their discretion.

Isn't it interesting that this action took place during an election year in which Obama is in political trouble and is in danger of being tossed out of office?

Isn't it also interesting that we've seen an escalation of political strife that is being orchestrated by Leftist allies of Obama? The Occupy movement. The attacks on Rush Limbaugh/conservative talk radio, their sponsors and Fox News. The phony "War on Women" campaign. The thuggery involving the Trayvon Martin incident (the New Black Panthers putting a bounty on George Zimmerman's head, Spike Lee's posting of an erroneous Zimmerman address, etc.). Union thuggery. The fermenting of racial strife. And so on.

All the while, the White House has not denounced any of this.

With all this going on, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Obama loses the election in November or if his pre-election poll numbers show him about to lose, he invokes this order and declares martial law to keep himself in office (Garrison feels we're already in martial law). I am not saying this will happen. But it is interesting that recent events seem to be pointing to the White House and political operatives allied with Obama.

I'm just saying. It is definitely food for thought.

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2012/03/19/obamas-executive-order-authorizes-peacetime-martial-law#ixzz1qR4UimOa

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, Clamper

During today's arguments on Obamacare before the United State Supreme Court, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy said the following (Source: Real Clear Politics):

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But the reason, the reason this is concerning, is because it requires the individual to do an affirmative act. In the law of torts our tradition, our law, has been that you don't have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him absent some relation between you. And there is some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that's generally the rule.

And here the government is saying that the Federal Government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in the very fundamental way.

Kennedy is considered a conservative justice, but on occasion a "swing vote."

Besides that, he's also a member of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. Legend has it that he sponsored the guy who sponsored me into the Order.

If the Court splits along conservative/liberal lines (5-4), in their Obamacare decision it would be interesting (and amusing) that the swing vote may be from a Clamper.

"The Plot To Get Rush"

American Spectator has an interesting article on "The Plot To Get Rush."

They start it with:

It was a set up.

From start to finish.

A quite specific, quite detailed plot to get Rush Limbaugh, ruin his career, and drive him off the air.

Next targets? Sean Hannity and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Lots to cover here.

Let's start with Mr. Angelo Carusone.

Who is Angelo Carusone? Today he is now the "Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters for America."

To read the full article, go here.

“One Nation Under Socialism”

Provo, Utah (CBSDC) – Jon McNaughton, a controversial artist who often mixes religion and politics in his work, has released a new painting.

In “One Nation Under Socialism,” President Obama holds the U.S. Constitution as it burns.

Talk show host Sean Hannity reportedly bought the original painting.

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2012/03/21/controversial-painter-depicts-obama-burning-constitution#ixzz1qMHeU1QC

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moon & Venus

Tonight features a bright crescent moon near the planet Venus in the western sky. I took this shot with my cell phone. I later took one with my digital camera (I'll post that later).

Here's the same photo, but cropped:

The white speck is Venus.

Rondo Awards Voting Ends This Sunday!

If you haven't voted for the 10th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, you have until this coming Sunday (April 1) at midnight to do so.

These awards are for "recognizing the best in monster research, creativity and film preservation."

To go directly to the ballot (make sure you follow the directions on voting), go here.

Kaiju historian August Ragone has a few vote suggestions. Go here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Japan Tourism Agency Starts New Tohoku Campaign

Above, Godaido temple at Matsushima Bay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the number of tourists fell 20 to 40% from pre-3/11 levels, according to an editorial in The Japan Times.

The Japan Tourism Agency has a new tourism campaign (started March 18) to try to drive up Tohoku tourism numbers.

The Japan Times wrote:

"Destination Tohoku," the tourism campaign to help promote and revive tourism in the Tohoku region, started March 18. The Japan Tourism Agency and the local governments and tourism industry in the region hope that the campaign will bring tourists back to the region, which was devastated by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The appeal of the campaign, which will last through March 31, 2013, is that people can help Tohoku recover from the effects of the disasters by enjoying hot springs, festivals, shopping, local food, cherry blossoms, and other attractions in the region.

It is hoped that as many people as possible will visit Tohoku. Schools are strongly encouraged to choose Tohoku as the destination of their excursions. Business enterprises should strive to hold their employee-training seminars in the region.

The Tohoku region is one of the most scenic in Japan. I visited the region in 2006. Matsushima Bay, a short train ride from Sendai, is one of the most scenic in Japan and is often compared to Carmel, California in scenery.

The family-run Bansuitei Ikoiso Ryokan (above) in Sendai was one of the nicest ryokans (Japanese inn) I've ever stayed in. It is one I don't have to hesitate to recommend!

To read the full editorial go here.

Atami City's Islands

Above, Atami Castle overlooks Atami City from its hilltop perch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

About an hour from Tokyo via shinkansen is Atami City. Atami's claim to fame were the final moments of the battle between Godzilla and King Kong in 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla. Atami Castle was demolished by both monsters.

Atami was also featured Monster From A Prehistoric Planet (1967) when the Gappas first came ashore.

Atami means "hot sea" and is noted for its hot spring onsens.

Above, Oshima Island can be seen on a clear day from Atami. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There are two islands visible from Atami. The biggest one is Oshima Island. It is noted for its volcano. It was here that Godzilla was lured to and ended up falling into the cauldron in Return of Godzilla (1984) (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985). There is a Godzilla statue at the Hamano Hot Springs Resort on the island. Oshima is 27 miles from Atami.

Above, Hatsushima Island as seen from from Atami Harbor. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Closer to Atami (about 7 miles) in Sagami Bay is the island of Hatsushima. It has hot spring resorts along with camping, cabins, aquarium, beaches, pool, surfing and diving. It is the closest island to Tokyo.

Atami is featured on page 35 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Whether for an overnight stay or just a day-trip, Atami City is a great place to visit.

Landmark Legal Foundation's Amicus Curae Brief On Obamacare

The issue of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of Obamacare is before the U.S. Supreme Court. Does Congress have the power to force people to purchase a good or service from a person or entity and can that person or entity impose a penalty on people for failing to purchase that good or service under the U.S. Constitution?

Within days the Court will be hearing oral arguments in support of and in opposition to Obamacare.

A number of states have filed suit against Obamacare. Public interest law firm Landmark Legal Foundation has filed an Amicus Curae brief in opposition to Obamacare challenging the individual mandate and penalty provisions.

For your information, here's the link to Landmark Legal Foundation's Amicus Curae brief: http://www.landmarklegal.org/uploads/11-398bsacLandmarkLegalFoundation_FILED.pdf

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Witness Says Trayvon Martin Was Aggressor

It appears that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor in the incident with community watch officer George Zimmerman.

MyFox-Tampa Bay reports:

ORLANDO - A witness we haven't heard from before paints a much different picture than we've seen so far of what happened the night 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

The night of that shooting, police say there was a witness who saw it all.

Our sister station, FOX 35 in Orlando, has spoken to that witness.

"The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: 'help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911," he said.

Trayvon Martin was in a hoodie; Zimmerman was in red.

"When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point," John said.

Zimmerman says the shooting was self defense. According to information released on the Sanford city website, Zimmerman said he was going back to his SUV when he was attacked by the teen.

Sanford police say Zimmerman was bloody in his face and head, and the back of his shirt was wet and had grass stains, indicating a struggle took place before the shooting.

If the above is correct, Zimmerman appears to have acted in self-defense and the shooting was justified. That is, IF he had no other recourse.

There a doctrine called escalation of force used by the police, probation officers and security officers. This doctrine requires that non-lethal methods be used first, if available, and if the situation warrants it. For instance, if an officer (police or security) has pepper spray (or mace), that is used first. Then, the next degree of force is with a PR-24 or Asp baton. The last recourse is a firearm.

If Zimmerman was attacked by Martin as the witness states, he should have used pepper spray or a baton (if he had them on him) on Martin first. But if Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating him, and those non-lethal weapons weren't available, then Zimmerman was justified. Especially, if Martin were trying to take Zimmerman's gun.

Still, it is tragic that a 17-year-old was killed. But, it may be that he was killed in self-defense. The investigation needs to be completed before we can say for certainty.

Hiroshima, A Tourism Oasis

Above, the A-Bomb Dome. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hiroshima was an interesting Japanese city to visit. Going there now one would not know that an atomic bomb was dropped there in August 1945 leveling the city. I visited Hiroshima in 2004.

Today, Hiroshima is a thriving metropolis with few reminders of that August day.

The National has posted an article on Hiroshima, "Its Grim Past Left Far Behind, Hiroshima A Welcoming Tourism Oasis."

The article begins with:

When an event of the magnitude of August 6, 1945, happens, it's hard for a place to ever shake off the association. But a visit to modern-day Hiroshima shows that even if the name evokes images of nuclear annihilation, it's possible to not only survive catastrophe, but thrive into the future. The city, located at the western end of Honshu, Japan's biggest island, is today as healthy and happy as any in the country, famous for its food, scenery and love of sports. In truth, unless they wanted you to, you'd never know that the world's first nuclear bomb was dropped here. And for many people in today's Japan, the city's ability to rise again gives hope to the rest of the country after the great earthquake last year.

The article then highlights some of the features of Hiroshima, including meeting the locals:

Hiroshima's residents are famously gregarious, and if you don't mind fighting for elbow room, then the best place to meet them is Okonomi-mura (www.okonomimura.jp), a hodgepodge of 25 food stalls spread over three floors. As well as having the chance to chat to the locals - those under 30 will generally speak more English - you'll have the chance to try Hiroshima's famous okonomiyaki, often misleadingly referred to as Japanese pizza. It's actually more like an omelette with almost a dozen ingredients, all fried together in layers and served hot from the communal grill in front of the diners. Hiroshima and Osaka constantly bicker about whose version is best, but the former has a good deal more vegetables and less mayonnaise, so is at least comfortably more virtuous.

Besides the features that the article mentions, there is also nearby Miyajima Island to explore.

Above, the famous torii gate at Miyajima's Itsukushima Shrine. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan devotes a page on Hiroshima due to its inspiration for Godzilla (it was also featured in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah).

I consider Hiroshima a must-see Japanese city.

To see the full article, go here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

As Japan's Tourism Industry Recovers, Travel Guide Sales Increase

Above, "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" in the Japan travel section of Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo store.

Recent reports on the recovery of Japan's tourism industry (many of which I've written about here) seems to coincide with the uptick in sales of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

There was another such report today from DFNIonline.com.

As I mentioned sometime back, the sales of the travel guide has been moving upward for the first couple of months of 2012. And, so far, March is no exception.

I recently requested payment from ComiXpress. Before doing so, I generally wait for the amounts owed to accumulate. Several orders came in immediately following my payment request. It appears that the amounts are accumulating at a faster pace which will lead to more frequent payment requests. No complaints here on that score!

As we get nearer to this year's vacation season, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Demands Probe of IRS's Harassment of Tea Party

Michelle Malkin is reporting that talk-show host Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation is demanding a probe into the harassment of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service.

At her blog, Malkin wrote:

Earlier this month, I reported on President Obama’s campaign bully brigade — and I noted the IRS intimidation of Tea Party groups across the country.

The Landmark Legal Foundation is not taking it lying down.

Today, conservative talk radio giant and movement warrior Mark Levin’s group requested an immediate investigation “into possible misconduct by the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organization (EO) Division that calls into question the integrity of federal tax administration and IRS programs.” Specifically, the letter cites the feds’ information demands that went “far beyond the appropriate level of inquiry regarding the religious, charitable and/or educational activities of a tax exempt entity. The inquiries are not relevant to these permitted activities. Inquiries extend to organizational policy positions and priorities, personal and political affiliations, and associations of staff, board members and even family members of staff and board members.”

Levin has published two best-selling books, Liberty and Tyranny and Ameritopia.

To read the full article, go here.

Santorum's Dumb Comment: Time To Hang It Up!

Former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum stepped in it yesterday when he said (about a choice between rival Mitt Romney and Barack Obama), “We might as well stay with what we have.”

This comment disappointed Santorum supporters, including columnist Michelle Malkin, who wrote, "I remain a Rick Santorum supporter, but I do not agree with the comments he reportedly made earlier tonight about Barack Obama being preferable to Mitt Romney."

Romney answered Santorum during an interview with Hugh Hewitt:

HH: Well, I’ve got to talk to you about something Rick Santorum said today. He shocked a lot of people when he said that you know, we might as well stick with President Obama rather than elect Mitt Romney if you’re the nominee. That’s a paraphrase. But what do you think of that statement?

MR: Well, I’m afraid Rick is confusing the nature of this race. This race is not about one person. This is a race about the direction for the country. The country is going in a very seriously wrong direction under President Obama. And I’m afraid that Rick increasingly thinks this race is about him. It’s not about him. It’s not about me. It’s not about a personality. It’s about the country. And I’m really disappointed in Rick’s statement. Obviously, he endorsed me three years ago when I was running for president. He had no problem calling me a real conservative, a solid conservative. But now that he’s in the race, it has become all about Rick. And that’s just not right for the party, it’s not right for the country.

HH: Governor Romney, the exact quote from Senator Santorum is “We might as well stay with what we have.” You have talked about the consequences of a second term for Barack Obama. Now one of two people are going to be president a year from now – you or Barack Obama. What difference will it make?

MR: Well, first of all, under Barack Obama, we’d keep Obamacare. If I’m president, we’ll get rid of Obamacare. Under President Obama, we’ll have probably two, maybe even three new Supreme Court justices, liberals, progressives, so to speak. If I’m president, we’ll have strict constructionists on the Court. Under Barack Obama, we’ll have more restriction on fossil fuels, and a higher cost of gasoline. If I’m president, we’ll take advantage of our energy resources. Under Barack Obama, we’ll continue to tilt the playing field towards organized labor. If I’m president, we’ll allow individuals to have a secret ballot to decide if they want a union or not. I mean, my list goes on. You could not have much more differences than those that add up, for instance, to a deficit under Barack Obama of a trillion dollars a year, with America ultimately hitting a Greek-like wall. If I’m president, we will finally balance our budget, we will secure Social Security and Medicare without bankrupting the next generation. It’s a wholly different course if I’m president than if Barack Obama is president.

Romney has an overwhelming lead in the delegate count. Santorum has virtually no chance in overtaking Romney.

Rick, it's time to hang it up!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Original "Dark Shadows" Cast Members In Cameo

Whether or not the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Dark Shadows movie (opening May 22) is a boxoffice and/or critical hit, at least the producers saw fit to include members of the original soap opera cast in the movie. They will appear in a cameo during a party scene.

The photo at top is of (left to right) David Selby, Lara Parker, Johnny Depp, Jonathan Frid, Tim Burton and (partially cut) Kathryn Leigh Scott.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monster Japan Travel Guide Banner Ad In JREF

Above, the home page of Japan Reference containing the banner ad for "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" (upper right corner).

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan now has a banner ad at Japan Reference (JREF) website. Clicking on the ad will take you to the "About The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" page. I've been a JREF member since 2004.

JREF is a Japanophile's paradise. It has many features, including a forum (containing a wide rage of topics to choose from), photo galleries, news, job information, JREF Friends (relationships), classified ads and others.

To visit Japan Reference, go here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Democrat Operatives Engaging In Tortious Interference

Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh Tweeted a screenshot of a Left Wing website who is organizing the harassment of Rush's sponsors.

He Tweeted this message:

Dem Operatives astroturf the boycott Pt 2. See screen shot

They are having people contact his sponsors feigning "outrage" over the Sandra Fluke matter. This is all being organized by Democrat operatives. This being the case, it would seem that Rush would have a good cause of action against them in a lawsuit for tortious interference with his business.

Here's the screenshot Rush included in his Tweet:

To see a big version of the screenshot, go here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Are The Odds?!

Back on March 11, I read a Twitter "tweet" by actress/model Christing Nguyen wishing her mom a Happy Birthday.

Right, Christine Nguyen. Photo courtesy of Christine Nguyen.

It just so happens that my mom was born on March 11. So, I sent Christine a note: "Is your mom's b.d. today? Today would have been my mom's 79th."

Today, I received this reply from Christine:

"Yes, it was. What?!? You and I share the same birthday and our madres share theirs as well? Crazy!"

What are the odds of that? Now, if both of our dads were born on June 29, then it would be really freaky!

Maybe we should pool our resources and buy some Lotto tickets!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Burton's "Dark Shadows" A Comedy?

The trailer (above) for the new Tim Burton Dark Shadows movie, with Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, has people talking.

The trailer indicates to some that the movie would be played as a comedy or spoof.

Over on Twitter, I asked original series cast member David (Quentin Collins) Selby, "Is the DS movie "comedic" or not?"

His webmaster responded:

Production was all very hush hush. Not sure even the original series actors with cameos know. (I'm David's webmaster.)

Wonder why details are so hush-hush? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

UPDATE: I watched the trailer several times and this is my gut reaction (as posted over at the Classic Horror Film Board):

I enjoyed Ed Wood. It was a very entertaining movie. It could have been a depressing movie given its subject matter.

I watched both Dan Curtis television series (1967-71 & 1991) and the two feature films.

From what I can tell from the trailer, this is definitely a movie whose approach is from the comedic side. Is that bad? I don't think so. It looks to me that this will be entertaining. Maybe hardcore Dark Shadows devotees won't particularly like it, but I think this may be a fun movie.

Japan February Tourism Numbers

Above, autumn colors adorn a shopping mall in Atami. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan's tourist numbers are in for February. There was a dip in the number of foreign tourists to Japan.

According to The Mainichi Daily News:

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in February totaled an estimated 548,200, down 19.3 percent from a year earlier, largely because the Lunar New Year holidays fell in January this year instead of February, the government's tourism promotion agency said Friday.

The Japan National Tourism Organization also attributed the drop in arrivals, down for the 12th straight month and at a much sharper rate than January's 4.1 percent, to travelers' concerns about radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, as well as the strong yen.

Given the recent weakening of the Japanese currency, agency officials expressed hope for a recovery in March and beyond when the cherry blossom season begins.

Japan wasn't the only country to see a decline in foreign tourism, according to the article.

However, Japan's decline (with January and February's figures combined) wasn't as bad as the year earlier. It was roughly 11.5%.

To read the full article, go here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barebones "Godzilla vs. Megalon" Ok'd

Media Blasters announced on their Facebook page that Toho has approved a "barebones" edition of Godzilla vs. Megalon.

This is due to a screw-up by Media Blasters in including some extras that Toho did not approve in their Destroy All Monsters release.

Media Blasters will announce a release date shortly.

A ‘Ronald Reagan’ St. Patrick’s Day

As today is St. Patrick's Day, here's an article of a St. Patrick's Day celebration with President Ronald Reagan.

It is the story of President Reagan’s surprise visit to Pat Troy’s Irish pub in Alexandria, Va.

To read it, go here.

Shinkansen 300 Series Retired

It's the end of the line for 300 series shinkansen trains.

News On Japan reported:

About 1,000 train enthusiasts gathered on the platform at Tokyo Station at 10:47 on Friday morning to see off the last 300 series shinkansen service for Shin-Osaka.

JR Tokai said the 300 series trains will be retired and replaced with more energy-efficient models for the Tokaido and Sanyo lines.

The 300 series was introduced in 1992. My first shinkansen ride was on a 300 series train from Tokyo Station to Atami in 2001.

For the full story (and video), go here.

Sumida River Cruise

Category: Travel

Above, the Asahi Beer Hall and the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction in 2010. The water taxi station is just behind the building with the blue roof.

When visiting Tokyo, Japan, there are always plenty of things to see and do in the city.

One of the most pleasant activities I undertook during a visit to Tokyo was a cruise down the Sumida river to Tokyo Bay.

The cruise boat was comfortable and offered great views on both sides. The water taxi station is located at Asakusa, directly across the river from the Asahi Beer Hall with its gleaming "Golden Flame" sculpture.

Above, the Asahi Beer Hall in 2005.

After leaving the water taxi station, the cruise boat passes docked Yakatabune dinner/party boats (below).

The cruise passes under several bridges as it heads towards Tokyo Bay. Along the way, it passed an encampment of Tokyo's homeless under an overpass (below).

As the cruise boat makes its way to Tokyo bay, it passes both commercial and residential buildings. The photo below is of a large riverside apartment building (some call these "rabbit hutches").

Tokyo Tower can be seen in the distance as the cruise boat gets closer to Tokyo Bay (below). Tokyo Tower was featured in several Japanese monster movies including Mothra (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967), Gamera, Guardian of the Universe (1995) and Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003). Tokyo Tower is spotlighted on page 30 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Along the way, the cruise passes the famed Tsukiji Fish Market. It also passes under the Kachidoki Bridge (the bridge that was toppled over in Godzilla (1954)). The Kachidoki Bridge is spotlighted on page 29 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

When the cruise boat enters Tokyo Bay, passengers are treated to a view of the Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba (below). Both the bridge and Odaiba were featured in Godzilla x Megaguirus (2000) and are spotlighted in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan on page 25.

As the cruise boat turns to dock at the Hama Rikyu Gardens, the passengers are able to see an upriver view of the Kachidoki Bridge (below). The bridge is dwarfed by many commerical and apartment buildings.

I highly recommend taking a Sumida River Cruise. It is relaxing and kaiju fans can see several monster movie landmarks during the cruise. There are several Sumida River cruise boat companies to choose from. For more information on Sumida River cruises, go here.

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