Halfway There

So, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (one of the unfortunate “will THIS get you assholes off my fucking back?” toxic-compromise maneuvers of the Clinton era) in key areas, ruling that the Federal Government is Constitutionally prohibited from denying any federal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples married in states where such marriages are legal.

A big win, to be sure, and another step on the inevitable path to full equal marriage for all. But the court also stopped short of ruling one way or the other on a challenge to California’s repeal of the gay marriage ban Proposition 8, finding the issue improperly brought before the court and punting it back to the state. So California gets to keep equal marriage… but for now, other states get to keep banning it. The DOMA provision allowing less-enlightened states to refuse to recognize marriages conducted in states with differing laws is also still in-effect; though that will almost-certainly fall on a separate challenge (for example: a military same-sex family is reassigned to a marriage-ban state sues to avoid losing multiple legal protections) either to this court or by the Justice Department.

This is a big, big step and should be recognized as such; but it’s not a slam-dunk. The troubling thing about both this and the shameful gutting of the Voting Rights Act yesterday is that both give heavy credence to the prehistoric notion of “State’s Rights” conservatism as envisioned by Bush II appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito. As I’ve said elsewhere, “State’s Rights” is a nice idea for small, local issues but for big broad-effect stuff has no functional place in a modern society of instant communication and coast-to-coast air travel;  and the nonsense we saw go down in the Texas legislature overnight is rather illustrative of that.

So, then, what we have now is a country once again divided between states where all citizens are equal and states where only some are equal; and the last time we were in that place it went pretty bad for all involved and really, really bad for the states/people who were on the wrong side of history. Hopefully it won’t come to that – hopefully we’ve evolved in that regard, too.

Wendy Davis: American Hero (UPDATED)

UPDATE II: It is done. Thanks to he courageous efforts of Wendy Davis, her fellows Texas Democrats and a massive throng of supporters acting to shout-down Republicans and run out the clock, the SB5 bill that would have effectively banned abortion in Texas has been killed.

There are two kinds of people in the word: Thinkers and Believers. Tonight, the Thinkers were also the Fighters – and they won. Thanks to them (for now) no woman in Texas can be forced into a life she did not choose because of someone else’s beliefs she may not share or subscribe to.

This was a massive victory for progress and for reason, driven by genuine grassroots, bottom-up, digital-age activism and good old fashioned popular-outrage… and it happened in Texas. Not DC. Not New York. Not Boston. Not LA. Not even Oregon. TEXAS. You think your angry Fox News watching uncles were feeling obsolete and panicky before? Now they know they can’t even get away with this shit in Texas anymore.

UPDATE I: The live-stream has ended, it is well past midnight in Texas but it is still chaos in the Texas State Legislature – no one is sure exactly what has or has not happened…

Just under two hours before Wendy Davis’ filibuster time would’ve needed to conclude, the Republican legislators mobilized a series of dubiously-relevant parliamentary maneuvers to shut her down – one relating to her need of a back-brace (and of a second person to help apply it) constituted breaking the “remain standing under your own power” rule regarding filibusters in Texas.

During the ensuing debate over this (during which time she remained standing) her fellow Democrats worked to use parliamentary shenanigans of their own to delay the vote past the 12:00am CST deadline. As the clock rolled over to 12:01, however, Republicans had already begun a roll-call as lead-in to a vote; interrupted constantly by deafening cheers and jeers from pro-choice protesters who had assembled in the gallery. As of 1:27am in Texas, NONE of the major U.S. cable news networks has opted to interupt their reruns of the previous evening’s editorial programs to cover the story; but at it’s height 160,000 people were watching it unfold on internet livestream.

The situation as of right now is thus: The timestamp on the “official” (according to Republicans) vote is AFTER Midnight, meaning that legally it should be invalid. Republicans are (supposedly) claiming that allowable time can be/was extended because of the interruptions from the crowd. Democrats are (apparently) saying that the law does not afford that option – others are offering screenshots claiming that Republicans physically changed the timestamp from illegal to legal – and they will challenge any attempt to enshrine it as such when business officially re-opens.

In other words: This fight is going to continue, and will likely wind up either in the courts, under review of the Justice Department or both. Some serious shit went down here – and it was watched (and make no mistake captured) live on the web by hundreds of thousands. This is going to get ugly, interesting and will likely not be resolved anytime soon.

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS:

There are, fundamentally, two kinds of people in the world: Thinkers and Believers.* Thinkers may not have all the solutions, but in the modern world Believers cause almost all of the problems. Today, Thinkers have a heroine in Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.

Background: Right-wing anti-abortion zealots (but I repeat myself) in Texas have used legislative control of the state government (because there’s nothing “States Rights!!!!”-absolutist conservatism can’t destroy if it puts its mind to it) to push through a draconian bill that will effectively ban reproductive choice in the state. Republicans have an iron grip on the whole of the state’s political machinery, and would be able to simply force this thing through save for one thing: A now seven-hour long and counting fillibuster by ONE Senator, Wendy Davis.

By law, so long as she remains standing (without even so much as leaning) and speaking and/or taking questions from fellow Democrat Senators until the end of the day, she can hold up the special legislative session and the bill will not be able to pass at this time. If she succeeds, it will have taken her 13 hours to do so. You can watch the livestream of this even HERE.
Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to gut the most important Civil Rights legislation since Abolition because, in their view, enough time had passed that certain historically-problematic States no longer required the extra oversight of the federal government to keep them from pulling regressive bullshit in regards to Civil Rights. That this kind of bill can still happen, with only the arcane notion of a physical endurance test to stop it, should be illustration enough of just how disastrously wrong they were.

*Not that I should need to explain this again, but “Thinkers vs Believers” is not about religion or atheism. It’s about an approach to the world – critical thinking, logic, reason, acknowledgment of reality and the primacy of science. There are plenty of Thinkers who are religious, and a great number of Believers who call themselves “atheists.”

Is "Jurassic Park 4" Just a Remake of "Jurassic Park?"

I’ve had a standing-policy about “Jurassic Park 4” for as long as “Jurassic Park 4” has been a possible thing: I will remain nominally positive about the idea of “Jurassic Park 4” up until the (inevitable) point where they decide – for the third fucking time – to waste one of the most potential-laden premises in modern scifi (an excuse for any dinosaur ever to show up anywhere in the world and cause mayhem) by just setting the whole damn thing on the island. Again.

Yes, we all loved the first movie, but why they seem to assume that it was the theme-park location and not the awesome fucking dinosaurs that made it so popular. We’ve seen the island (no, Part 2 technically being a different island doesn’t matter) three times, once was enough, I wanna see a Triceratops stomping around a major city with one or more dudes impaled on his horns, or something similarly awesome.

So, anyway, Joblo thinks they have the basic plot details of the now-in-pre-production JP4; and not only are we back on Isla Nublar again… we’re basically back in the first movie again:


According to Joblo’s source, the big pitch this time is “what if the first movie had been BIGGER?” Set an unspecified number of years after Part 3, the main setting is supposedly a completed, open and fully-functioning Jurassic Park built on the site of the original. The rides are working, most of the animals have been tamed and it’s a huge international tourist destination just like John Hammond had envisioned.

I’ll admit: I’m morbidly curious to see this movie (or just read this script) to find out what kind of epic handwave is invoked to justify the idea of anyone re-starting Jurassic Park after everything that’s already happened. Interestingly, it seems to borrow at least some basic DNA from John Sayles’ infamous JP4 treatment featuring humanoid, weapon-toting dinosaur commandos as heroes: The action apparently involves a new strain of aggressive dinos causing trouble at the park and the use of “tamed” Velociraptors to resist them.

Maybe this is legit, maybe not, but what it does sound like is a disappointing mix of boring and dumb. Okay, fine, I got like 75% of what I’ve been hoping for out of a “Jurassic Park” sequel from “Dragon Wars;” but I’d still been hoping for more than this…

Unsubbed "Gatchaman" Trailer Hits

Here’s a nifty Japanese trailer for the live-action film adaptation of 70s anime staple “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman,” which U.S. fans may be more familiar with under the titles of “Battle of The Planets,” “G-Force,” or “Eagle Riders.” Pic opens in Japan in August, no word on a U.S. distributor. New uniforms certainly look nifty, though they do kind of lose the “dressed-as-a-bird” angle. Interestingly, this comes to us from the director of “Grave of The Fireflies” and “Pom-Poko.”

SGC 2013: Day Zero

SGC hasn’t even officially begun yet, but I’ve already gotten to meet lot’s of great fans and colleagues. This is going to be a good one, I can feel it.

Regarding my book: I can happily announce that copies of “Super Mario Bros. 3: Brick-By-Brick” (available online soon exclusively from Fangamer.net) will be available for purchase at the ScrewAttack booth in the Dealer Room starting tomorrow (note: cash only). Some fans have already purchased copies from me “in the wild,” and if you see me around lugging a briefcase or boxes chances are I’ve got some and I’d be happy to sell you a copy providing I have the cash onhand to make change; so please don’t hesitate to ask.

In addition, I will hopefully be able to sell some copies (supply-contingent, obviously) before and after my panels and possibly also during the autograph session, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll likely be re-stocking the booth as needed and to the degree that I am able (supplies are limited) so check back and watch my twitter feed (@the_moviebob) in the event of selling-out. The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive, and if it ends up that I simply didn’t bring enough with me (again, online sales coming soon to Fangamer.net) well… there are worse problems for an author to have.

Stay tuned for updates, and if you’re here for the con I look forward to seeing you later today 🙂

MovieBob’s SGC Schedule

So here’s where and when I’m scheduled to be places during SGC2013. I’m planning to always have copies of The Book on me for sale while I’m on the floor, though it also looks like it’ll have some space at the ScrewAttack sales booth as well, and I’m looking to do some selling before/after my panels and during autograph sessions if at all possible; so those looking keep a look out.

FRIDAY 6/21:
2:00 PM Game OverThinker Autograph Session (Autograph Area Landmark B&C)
9:30 PM “OverThinking It” Panel with Matthew from GameTheory and others (Main Stage 2 Landmark D)

SATURDAY 6/22:
1:00 PM THE GAME OVERTHINKER RETURNS solo/Q&A panel (Main Stage 2 Landmark D)
7:30 PM Gaming On YouTube panel with GameTheory and others (Panel Room 3 Cumberland K&L)

SUNDAY 6/23:
Nothing officially scheduled, but you never know 🙂