Archive for July, 2011


While countdown nears to an unprecedented national default, Congress members are still dragging out a debate on the debt-ceiling crisis that has not led to any resolve for the past three months.

When the United States hit a statutory debt limit of $14.3 trillion in May, President Barack Obama stated a need to raise the debt ceiling but the GOP wouldn’t jump onboard unless they could hold onto as many spending cuts  and a budget amendment plan.

As of now, the White House and congressional leaders are making a last-ditch attempt to reach compromise to avoid said disastrous government default that’s due for Aug. 2nd

As US Treasury experts put it, a default could lead to financial “Armageddon” if both parties fail to increase the national debt limit. This will also result in a loss of America’s AAA credit rating, rising interest rates, a declining dollar, a stock market plunge and the public could even lose out on their social security checks.  Both political parties know what is at stake but are failing to reach a bipartisan decision due to their personal and financial agendas regarding the 2012 elections.

Democrats are desperate for tax and revenue increases but the GOP are also vying for their spending cuts- a financial tug- of-war that has been going on for too long.

Fortunately, party leaders are working hard to come up with plans to ward off the financial doomsday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner came up with new plans to increase the debt limit after previous rejections from the House and Senate respectively.

According to CNN, Boehner’s plan, which has since been revised, proposed generating a total of $917 billion in savings while initially raising the debt ceiling by $900 billion. He also pledged to match any debt ceiling hike with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. Meanwhile, Reid’s revised version favors  reduced deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion that raises the debt ceiling by a similar amount. It includes $1 trillion in savings based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ultimately, whatever deal or compromise both political factions come up with, I think the most important thing that Congress should do is listen to the American people. According to the CNN/ORC  International poll, 64 percent of respondents to a July survey prefer a deal with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. It’s probably easier said than done but as President Obama put it “we are running out of time” and Congress needs to come up with a financial plan that is beneficial for the American economy.

 

Cyrax! Sektor! Totally kicking robot ass!

Hardcore fans  finally got their wish when Director Kevin Tancharoen of web-series Mortal Kombat Legacy revealed a shock ninth episode at Comic-Con 2011. It came as a pleasant surprise as to almost everyone thought season 1 ended with fan favorites Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Still, fans relentlessly hinted at seeing the Lin Kuei Cyborgs in action, but that day never came- until now.

Showcasing Cyrax and Sektor in action has been definitely one of the most entertaining episodes yet. Plus, it’s pretty cool how Cyrax and Sektor are modeled almost exactly like their video game counterparts in Mortal Kombat 9.

Apart from maybe apparently getting a bigger budget. I’ve been impressed with Tancharoen’s work and where he has taken the series so far. Hopefully we get to see more of this kick-ass stuff in season two- if there is a season 2. For now, enjoy the flying sparks and metallic-scrapping blows.

Hollywood may be an entirely different planet where the biggest movies come to life and celebrities live as over-glorified human beings. But Hollywood didn’t come to such a powerful status without having influencing society in America in several ways.

The historical evolution of the biggest film industry in the world is too broad to pinpoint but it probably starts from an era where Hollywood came to explosive prominence and solidified its place as an American landmark of tradition during the 1920-40s. During this time, Hollywood became very good at three things–entertainment, influence and profit.

The main objective and goal of Hollywood has always been to entertain and it has done so for decades. Throughout the course of black-and-white silent films of Charlie Chaplin to the 3D-rage that is bludgeoning theaters, we always gain some memorable experience (either good or bad) from watching production films or cinema blockbusters.  Throughout history, Hollywood has also given birth to some of the biggest entertainment studios such as Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures. Hollywood also brought us talented performers from musical geniuses Frank Sinatra to Oscar award-winning actors such as Gregory Peck and Michael Douglas. As a result, Hollywood consistently churned out many other celebrities who have become household names because they have given great performances that have entertained millions. Celebrities such as George Clooney have also created their own wave of influence and that is another reason why society looks up to Hollywood movie stars as role models, highly respected figures or people with crazy drug addictions. Point is, celebrities become a part of our lives in some way. Oprah anyone?

Apart from serving as a channel of entertainment, the Hollywood industry is one of the most powerful and influential enterprises in the world. Its voice is heard around the globe. From recollection of the Roaring 20’s and the Harlem Renaissance, Hollywood brought about trends that has impacted society heavily. Which other institution promoted smoking cigarettes as cool, attractive and “fashionable” and sent the tobacco industry laughing all the way to bank?

Icons such as Marilyn Monroe have even transcended a whole unique sense of fashion that people have copied for years. Because of Hollywood, there will always be parts of society that want to dress up or look like their favorite idols through make-up and work-out tips. In fact, Hollywood will always be an industry that can promote anything deemed stylish as a result of their influence. But fashion trends are not the only things Hollywood is known for but it has always been an industry that has created its own propaganda and political statements that affects governments, industry and communities.

It’s become a prerequisite for Hollywood to have some sort social responsibility. Labeled mostly as liberal-thinking syndicate, Hollywood has projected political messages of anti-war when George Bush opted to move troops to Iraq in 2003 after 9/11. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Sheryl Crow and Martin Sheen made outspoken anti-war statements such as avoiding threats of nuclear warfare and pleaded with the US government to bring troops back. Such statements were also reiterated by every possible news outlet because of Hollywood’s extensive influence. Secondly, Hollywood can asks society to come to a call of action or engage in social responsibility. One simple example comes from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Celebrities and the Red Cross came together in a campaign to help victims of New Orleans and also pleaded with the public to make donations that helped in anyway. In summary, Hollywood marks itself as a great contributor to the American society that always voices its belief in political issues or worldly events.

Finally, despite its role as a leader in trends and a core landmark of influence, the most important thing that has always mattered to Hollywood is making money. Hollywood is objectively a business and a multi-billion dollar industry. The cost that goes into entire production of films is to just generate box office receipts in which you the consumers spend money on tickets that costs more than a Hanes T-shirts these days.

Currently, the American film industry is worth over $754 billion dollars, making Hollywood one of the largest and entertainment media markets to date. Thus its success marks a symbol of great capitalism and a free market which the American society greatly appreciates or can’t do without.

Ultimately, Hollywood’s impact on society is undeniable because of its ability to entertain, influence and continually make profits forever.

 

 

 

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Despite all the controversies of Satanism and evil that swarmed a young wizard and his school of magical enchantment at Hogwarts, Harry Potter has remained one of the most beloved franchises for 10 years now.

But aside from the fact Harry Potter has generated a massive following from some of the most dedicated (and rather obsessed) fans, JK Rowling’s work has always taken a classic approach to good vs. evil, which also carries a strong Christian message.

Throughout the course of the series, Rowling’s seven books and feature films have been working toward an epic conclusion that share biblical parallels that range from sacrificial love to resurrection. Sound familiar?

This was apparent to a lot of fans from the beginning but one particular scene in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 has struck viewers worldwide. But for Rowling, that was always the plan as she revealed certain details about her legacy.

“To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious,” she said. “But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going,” Rowling said at her Open Book Tour last Monday.

In fact, the movie goes as far as quoting phrases from the Bible that give Harry motivation and the heart to fight his long-term nemesis, Valdemort.

I’m not surprised by this for Harry Potter has always had compelling stories of faith and triumph. The earlier controversies that followed the series never held weight and came from mostly paranoid parents who never read the book.

Though kinesis-based spells and Quidditch may not be truly Christian in nature, I can truly appreciate the fact that Rowling was inspired by certain aspects of the Gospel that she chose to share with millions of people.

 

Arsene Wenger has made a sensational swoop to sign Jack Wilshere’s impregnated girlfriend who is set to give birth to a footballing prodigy in 9 months time. The Arsenal coach was reluctant to part with the cash but after witnessing the first kick, Wenger splashed a whopping 200 pounds for the unbirthed star.

“It’s a great bargain, I’ll tell you that. This will save us nine months of counter-balancing our wage structure with unreasonably high-priced contracts with that of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.” Wenger said

Wenger was full of praise for the child saying that he has so much potential and can not wait to work with the fetus. “I’ve seen the sonogram. He will add a lot of quality to our squad.”

Though he has been criticized heavily by fans for not diving into a voracious transfer market for more experienced and established players, Arsene Wenger assures fans that they are heading in the right direction and that they should have faith. With the departures of Gael Clichy to Manchester City and troubling rumors surrounding Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, Wenger claims this is the best piece of news  for the club.

“Yes, we haven’t achieved much in the past six years but we have always been very close and I understand their frustration. That is why I’m doing whatever it takes to secure Arsenal’s future at hand.”

With the likes of 17-year-old Carl Jenkison, and Ryo Miyaichi, the trio will become a team destined for trophies in 2030.

“It’s not always about signing the most expensive players, but you have look for cheap players nobody has ever heard or seen but also have explosive amounts of talent waiting to be tapped. How do you think I signed players like Hleb? Wilshere? Vermaelen and Koscielny?”

Asked whether he’d be looking to sign more players after rumors of Nasri leaving to Manchester City and Fabregas en route to Barcelona, the team that first rejected him in 2003, he smiled. “We’re fighting very hard to keep both Nasri and Fabregas but if they should leave, we’ll be very active this summer to sign more players of the baby’s quality,”

But not to worry Arsenal fans. Media sources have confirmed Wenger has also lined up a bid to sign Robin Van Persie’s 4-year-old son Shaqueel, who has also been dubbed a future world class striker.