Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Johnny Reb Funds Lincoln Bio-pic?

Would Greece provide support for a Turkish filmmaker producing a film about the Ottoman empire?

Would Germany fund a movie about Stalin?

Would Israel help produce a move about Arafat?

No. But believe it or not, Virginia is going to provide Steven Spielberg with more than $4 million in tax credits and other funds to make a movie about none other than Abraham Lincoln, the very man who directed the devastation of Virginia about 150 years ago. (See Wapo story here.)

Hey, we think it shows that the Commonwealth is mature. South Carolina sure wouldn't do such a thing (they don't have the $4 million).

While we have nothing against Spielberg making his movie in Richmond and Petersburg--despite the fact that Lincoln's Union Army left both in utter devastation in 1865--we do have a problem with spending $4 million in state funds to support billionaire Spielberg and his Hollywood multi-millionaire friends in this endeavor.

For some reason, even supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans have a blind spot when it comes to spending taxpayer money on films (and sports teams). The supposed rationale is that filming in the state provides jobs. So what? Every other business in the state provides jobs, too, but they aren't getting some huge windfall from the state (okay, some are, but they shouldn't).

Film jobs, in particular, are notably temporary. Once Spielberg is finished with a few weeks of filming, everything will be shipped back to Hollywood to be finished and those "jobs" will disappear.

We'd love to know the cost per job of this corporate welfare scheme.

Presidential Apprentice

With so many Republicans--many obscure--vying for their party's presidential nomination, there just has to be a better way than slogging through a series of primaries, caucuses and "debates." And there is.

We now introduce a new system: Presidential Apprentice. Not only will this get the Republicans the best nominee, but it will be entertaining and provide a large windfall profit to one of the television networks in keeping with GOP principles.

Here's how it works. Each week, the aspiring nominees will be given a presidential task to complete. One week it might be reducing the deficit; the next it might be dealing with high gas prices, or taking out a wanted terrorist. After each task is completed, a panel of Republicans will decide which contender is fired. (Obviously, since Donald Trump is running--and believe us, he is--he can't be the one making the judgments.) The panel will be assisted by voting (a la American Idol style) of the public, with the voting counting as 50% of the score.

So then, each week the weakest contender will be eliminated. At first, the candidates will have to work as teams--this is fine: a President has to work with a team of advisors anyway. It will be easy enough to see who is working and who is sabotaging and we'll learn a lot about each contestant, er aspirant. Later in the competition, when we're down to three or four, they'll work individually.

This format will give relatively unknown candidates a chance to distinguish themselves on the merits.

Oh, and each week the candidates on the winning team will get a significant campaign donation as well.

We can't wait to tune in!