Barbara Boxer

California Roundup: No Free Speech, No Tax Relief, Plenty of Nurses

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Which one's Jar Jar?

* Soaking rich bastards who craftily earn at or below the poverty line: Legislative Analysts Office says the Democrats' planned hikes in income tax would hit earners starting at $20,000 a year.

* Nay, Carly: Hewlett-Packard is giving more campaign money to Democratic Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer than to challenger and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

* Speech-reduction committee will protect us from Facebook: California's Fair Political Practices Commission (bet your state doesn't have one of those!) plans to suppress more online political speech and introduce disclosure rules for social media.

* Nursing home gets dunned for $677 million in a class-action lawsuit because it failed to comply with state-mandated ratio of nurse-hours per patient. CalWatchdog's Katy Grimes explains how this will set off a combing-the-time-sheets bonanza for personal injury lawyers around the state. Maybe we can finally get John Edwards to try his luck in the Golden State again.

* Bitter harvest at Skywalker Ranch: L.A. Times' Geoff Boucher catches up with Gary Kurtz, the Star Wars producer who fell out with George Lucas after Empire Strikes Back (or if you prefer, Lando Calrissian: Cloud City Entrepaneur or Everyday Cock-Blocker). Lucas buffs will enjoy Kurtz's refutation of Lucas' historical backfillings about how the series was always planned as a six-part franchise that opens with part four. (?!)

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  1. “Hewlett-Packard is giving more campaign money to Democratic Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer than to challenger and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.”

    Guess they took that whole “halving of our stock price” thing under her tenure pretty seriously…

    1. Yeah, that one was kind of obvious. All of the current and former HP employees I know have a special loathing for her.

    2. Huh. But they are giving her money nonetheless…

      1. Hedging their bets dude.

        1. Yes, that much was obvious…

          1. Sounds like a scam to me.

    3. They seem to have a lot of trouble picking CEOs.

  2. rich bastards who craftily earn at or below the poverty line

    Thanks. I had no idea peanut butter and jelly could come out of my nose.

  3. suppress more online political speech and introduce disclosure rules for social media.

    Boy, those dems sure love to rub Censorship Hot Sauce on their buttholes. How are the big two parties different again?

  4. From the nursing home shakedown article:

    Wroten said that if Skilled Healthcare is to pursue an appeal, state law requires that the company post a bond totaling 150 percent of the award, or 15 times the financial resources available to the entire business enterprise, which includes long-term care operators across several states. The bond for Skilled Healthcare would be more than $1 billion. “The company is wiped out before they can even appeal,” said Wroten.

    Somehow that has got to violate due process. Still, if that is the law, all you have to do is get an award that is so big it will bankrupt the defendant. Even if the case was a travesty and the judge was incompetent or biased or just plain wrong, you still win! And without all that messy followup legal action in appeals court. Maybe I should take up law and move to California….

    1. Yeah, drive the nursing home out of business! Fire the nurses and kick the old people out onto the streets! That’ll teach ’em to not have enough enough nurses to care for people! Oh, wait….

  5. From the nursing home shakedown article:

    Wroten said that if Skilled Healthcare is to pursue an appeal, state law requires that the company post a bond totaling 150 percent of the award, or 15 times the financial resources available to the entire business enterprise, which includes long-term care operators across several states. The bond for Skilled Healthcare would be more than $1 billion. “The company is wiped out before they can even appeal,” said Wroten.

    Somehow that has got to violate due process. Still, if that is the law, all you have to do is get an award that is so big it will bankrupt the defendant. Even if the case was a travesty and the judge was incompetent or biased or just plain wrong, you still win! And without all that messy followup legal action in appeals court. Maybe I should take up law and move to California….

  6. Nay, Carly: Hewlett-Packard is giving more campaign money to Democratic Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer than to challenger and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

    And here Lenin thought he’d have to actually *buy* that rope from the capitalists.

  7. Thanks, I just love these California roundups. My own state of GA is pretty fucked up–we have a Repub. nominee for governor who thinks gay people are the most serious threat facing the state, and a Dem. nominee who wants to protect teachers’ jobs and require “mandatory negotation” before foreclosures occur–but I look at Cal. and they are spectacularly worse.

    1. I couldn’t agree more.

    2. I couldn’t agree more.

      governor = (vote) ? (stupid) : (stupid && expensive)

      1. Wait a minute is that C++?

        1. Java (or in this case GA–)

          1. I believe it’s both, as well as C, Perl, and PHP.

            1. C, Obj-C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Ruby and probably more.

  8. Damn Cary Fisher was cute back in the day. When she was skinny and snorting coke every day, she really kind of had it going.

    1. She was really cute in Shampoo.

      1. I think she was like 17 when she made that. 17 year olds have a habit of being really cute.

  9. And if is it just me or does Ford kind of look like a young George W Bush in that picture?

    1. Ha, it’s true!

    2. That’s who I thought it was at first glance. Then I saw the midget, and Fisher, and thought either this is the cast of star wars or another article about how California loves to have crazy kinky funtime yah!

      1. Me to. My first thought was “I never realized Laura Bush was ever that skinny”. Then I saw the midget and Mark Hammel and figured it out.

        BTW, did Lucas ever bother explaining how Darth Vader went from being a six foot one whinny bitch to being a six foot seven monster after Obi Wan kicked his ass? I never saw the last two films.

        1. No, he didn’t. When you’re making a movie for retarded 6 year olds, you don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about consistency or “making sense.”

          It’s a shame Lucas gets so much credit for something he ruined.

          1. John,

            I suppose this is as good a time as any to make sure you’ve seen the James Plinkett reviews/deconstructions of the star wars prequels.

            If there is a funnier 70 minute destruction of all that is wrong with the prequels, Lucas and filmmaking in general I haven’t seen it.

            http://www.redlettermedia.com/phantom_menace.html

            1. I have heard of that but never watched it. I think part of the problem is that the first hour of Star Wars and the entirety of Empire were so good. It caused people to think that it was a serious movie series when in reality Lucas was trying to make a bad Saturday afternoon serial. Lucas didn’t so much ruin Star Wars as accidentally make part of it too good.

              1. Are you really going to be one of those snobs who disses Return?

                Sarlac, Second Death Star, Force Lightnihg, Home 1, “It’s A TRAP!!!”, Lando the hero, Ewoks, Shield generator, “You’re overconfidence is your weakness!” “You’re faith in your friends is yours!”, Darth redemption.

                ‘Nuff said.

            2. Those reviews are astonishingly well written and edited. And hilarious.

              1. I love those reviews.

            3. My favorite critic of Star Wars here. He lists the bad engineering flaws in SW

              Lightsabers
              Yes, I know, I want one too. But I tell you what: I want one with a hand guard. Otherwise every lightsaber battle would consist of sabers clashing and then their owners sliding as quickly as possible down the shaft to lop off their opponent’s fingers. You say: Lightsabers can slice through anything but another lightsaber, so what are you going to make a hand guard out of? I say: Dude, if you have the technology to make a lightsaber, you have the technology to make a light hand guard.

              Midi-Chlorians
              Oh, man, don’t get me started. Except to say this: If in fact a high concentration of midi-chlorians is the difference between being a common schmoe and being a dude who can Force Choke his enemies, the black market in midi-chlorian injections must be amazing.

          2. When I saw the second one with Hayden Christianson as Anikan I gave up. What a horrible casting choice. A young Darth Vader should be physically imposing and scary even though he is allegedly on the side of good. Christianson was downright comical every time he tried to be dark and menacing. He belonged in an 80s John Hughes flick telling the town bully he was going to beat him at that surfing contest next week not as one of the biggest villains in movie history.

            1. Dolph Lundgren was the obvious choice.

              1. A young Wilt Chamberlain or someone like that. Darth should have been a huge menacing black man.

                1. Plus, Wilt is much more believable as a guy who could get with Natalie Portman.

                  I mean, he does hold multiple “scoring” titles… if ya know what I mean…

                2. Plus, Wilt is much more believable as a guy who could get with Natalie Portman.

                  I mean, he does hold multiple “scoring” titles… if ya know what I mean…

                  1. Heh. I hear ya. He’s also had sex with lots and lots of women.

                3. Darth should have been a huge menacing black man.

                  If they hadn’t cast an actor who was whiter than Donny Osmond in the originals, that would have been a possibility. Personally I think Vin Diesel should have been given the role.

        2. “WHAT ABOUT PADME? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

        3. You’re better off filling in the gaps with your imagination instead of hearing what Lucas came up with for the prequels.

          1. Everything gets remade eventually. One of these days Lucas will die. And then his idiot sons and daughters will spend all the money and sell out for a remake. If done properly, the movies could be could. What is especially frustating is the Lucas can be a good film maker. As bad as the Phantom Menace was, there were some scenes in it that where really well directed. And I think American Graffiti is one of the great youth movies ever made. I just don’t get how he could then fuck up so badly.

            1. As bad as the Phantom Menace was, there were some scenes in it that where really well directed.

              [citation needed]

              1. The scene with Lian Neison and the stith where they are divided and waiting to fight and the stith if pacing and Neison is meditating is actually a very clever seen and well made.

                But it was a movie that ten years on I can’t tell you a single facet of the story line. Not one. I have no idea what the hell that movie was about. That was how forgettable it was.

                1. If Darth Maul wasn’t the most pointless character ever, I’m not sure who is. Even that stupid Binks thing was intended to be comic relief. Darth Maul was intended to be a marketing face and toy. Period.

                2. Check out the video about at 52:50 in, he addresses the ridiculousness of that whole scene directly. Seriously, the whole thing is a masterpiece.

                  1. Yeah, you mean the part about how ridiculous the setting was for the fight? Darth Vader and Obi-Wan fought in a corridor. Simple, direct, poorly choreographed. But it worked ten thousand times better than any fight in the prequels.

            2. Yeah, I’ve had that same puzzlement: How did the writer of American Graffiti with all of its memorable dialogue and original characters end up sculpting the embarrassing banter in Attack of the Clones?

              1. Bajillions in merchandising turned him to the Dark Side. See? Even libertarians can see a negative to motives only tied to revenues. If you don’t give a shit about the artistic merits of your creation, then sure, squeeze the shit dry.

                1. I used to have my own purported insights into this, but Plinkett hit it right on the head when he pinned Lucas’ fall on the fact that in the prequel trilogy he had few limits on what he could do. If you look at what his original outline of the plot for Star Wars was when he wrote it in the 1970s, it’s like huh? This would have sucked! Luke Skywalker was supposed to be a middle aged ex-Imperial fleet captain, Darth Vader was a minor character shaped like a giant insect, etc. He was forced into a lot of significant plot changes by his bosses from the studio. Also, he was extremely limited in the special effects he could do by both budgetary and technological constraints. While I was aware of how cluttered with CGI objects seemingly every scene in the prequel trilogy became, it wasn’t until Plinkett’s review that I realized how ridiculously often light sabers were activated in the prequels compared to the original trilogy, to the point where this seriously cool weapon became ho-hum.

                2. Yes. I was watching the third prequel and thinking ” I like all of these actors in other movies, why do they seem to suck here.” I realized the scenes were too short for anyone to do anything. They were all just cut scenes for the video game. That and Anakin’s whining brought everyone down. Of course that’s the only emotion Hayden has.

              2. In American Grafiti he was writing what he knew. He grew up in a small town in Northern California. My guess is he based all the characters on people he knew and the dialog on actual conversations. That is why everyone in that movie is so damned believable. Sadly, he has never traveled to a galaxy far far away and we are left with his imagination.

                1. I think Darth Maul illustrates just how they messed up the trilogy(and yes, I realize that I commenting way too much on this, but dude… it’s STAR WARS).

                  Basically, in the original trilogy, you had one consistent bad guy(Darth Vader) and one even more evil bad guy(Palpatine). In the new trilogy, you had Palpatine as the reoccuring behind the scenes bad guy, like in the original, but you never had one consistent face-man villian.

                  First it was Maul, then Dooku, then Grievous… and instead of us going, “Man, that guy is a jerk/badass!” we all just went, “Meh, when does he go all Vader on us?”

                  1. Good point. Maybe they should have found a contrived way for Maul to escape at the end of episode 1 like they did for Vader in episode 4…

          2. “Star Wars” opened with a title sequence that announced it as “Episode IV” as a winking nod to the old serials, not a film franchise underway,

            That was certainly the way I took it when I saw it. I enjoyed the movie mostly as an exercise in recreating that style with better prod’n values, granted that it succeeded, never wanted to see any more of them. I was like, “You’ve already shown you could do it, why do it again?”

    3. CONDOLEIA: You’re starting a land war in Asia on purpose?

      HAN BUSHO: Al Qaeda would be crazy to try to follow us there.

      C3-POWELL: Sir, the chances of producing a stable democracy in Iraq are 1 in ….

      HAN BUSHO: Never tell me the odds!

    4. ((Watching a news report detailing casualties in Iraq in the past month))

      C3-POWELL: Sir, it’s quite possible the situation in Iraq is not entirely stable.

      HAN BUSHO: Not entirely stable? I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things. Cheney, take the professor back and get him on the phone with the surrender monkeys.

      C3-POWELL: Oh! Sometimes I don’t understand presidential behavior. I’m only trying to do my job…

      CHENEYBACCA: Raaaawwwwrrrrr.

  10. Nursing home gets dunned for $677 million in a class-action lawsuit because it failed to comply with state-mandated ratio of nurse-hours per patient.

    Another black mark for unions. The mandated ratio thing was rammed through by unions (and they are pushing it in other states) as a way to entrench inefficiency in healthcare and featherbed their membership.

    And here we see it bankrupting a nursing home provider. I’d love to know how taking $677 billion out of the nursing home industry is going to improve the care in that industry. Perhaps one of our union-fellators could explain?

  11. Taxation will continue until the economy improves. – attributed to Louis XVI

    1. And don’t forget the regulation.

      +10

  12. “I don’t like the idea of prequels, they make the filmmakers back in to material they’ve already covered and it boxes in the story,” Kurtz said. “I think they did a pretty good job with them although I have to admit I never liked Hayden Christensen in the role of Anakin Skywalker. I just wished the stories had been stronger and that the dialogue had been stronger.

    I hate to break it to you, Kurtz, but while the two Star Wars movies you worked on have their virtues, good dialogue is not among them.

    1. Let’s be fair, Jesse. He said stronger. As a relative matter, the dialogue in the first two films was much, much stronger than the prequels.

      Not that any of it was, say, Apocalypse Now, but we’re talking about a fun action adventure film, not a character study. Though I suppose Elmore Leonard could write a new version of the first film called Get Droidy.

    2. Cary Fisher says that her two biggest concerns when she started on Star Wars was that they figure out her face was too fat and call Jody Foster or that she wouldn’t be able to say her lines with straight face.

      Although, Solo answering Lea’s claim that she loved him with “I know” is one the great mack daddy lines of all time. So there was some good dialog.

      1. According to the commentary on the DVD, Lucas’ script originally had “I love you too,” in that spot…but Ford didn’t think it fit Han’s character, so he ad libbed. Irv Kirshner liked it too and allowed it to stay in.

        So, probably the most cleverly done line of dialogue in the OT was not written by Lucas.

        1. Lots of great lines in movie history have been ad libed. Ford really knew his character. That was definitely clever. What is great about the line is that it is so egotistical and offensive but doesn’t sound that way when you hear it. It kind of goes right passed you and then about five seconds later you think WTF?

          1. It’s even more clever given that, throughout the film, Han is trying to trick Leia into saying she has feelings for him, and she steadfastly refuses. But with that line, Han acts like it wasn’t important for her to say it.

      2. Empire Strikes Back. Best of all.

        I love that humorous 2 hour video(which I won’t link to) where the guy does the scene-by-scene take down of the ‘new’ movies, and says “If you’re 14 years old and think that the Empire Strikes Back is the worst movie because it’s the boringest, let me explain to you why you’re a fucking idiot”.

        1. It was only 70 minutes actually, but why not give Mr. Plinkett the linkage he deserves?

          1. I thought he did several which, when all totaled added up to like two hours? Maybe it just seemed like two hours…

      3. Thing is, the original movie was supposed to be a loving tribute to corny ’40s serials like Flash Gordon, so the goofy dialogue was part of the deal. “Empire Strikes Back” has a lot of that same quality.

        Once Lucas threw out that original concept and decided to try and turn Star Wars into a complex drama (laughable, I know) the corniness became grating.

        I suspect a lot of people who bag on the early movies weren’t even born yet when they came out. If you were a kid in the late ’70s, Star Wars was a *big deal*. There had simply been nothing like it before.

        1. Yeah, in yet another reminder that I’m fast becoming an oldster, today’s 18 year olds were 7 when Phantom Menace came out, probably too young to understand the original trilogy even if their overprotective parents allowed them to see it. (My mother took me to see ESB when I was 3 and allowed me to watch Watership Down when I was 4, but my sister still won’t let my 8-year-old niece watch The Wizard of Oz because she considers the flying monkeys too scary.)

          1. Kung Fu Panda was rated PG-13 for “sequences of martial arts action”. That is all you need to know about where society has gone.

            1. My parents watched Star Wars to make sure it was okay for me to see (I was ten when it came out). Even with the chopped off arm, they figured it was something I could handle.

              What Lucas has against limbs, I don’t know.

              1. HA! Now I know you’re old… exactly as old as… I am. I remember that the arm being cut off was kind of a big deal. Like real edgy stuff. My eight-year-old just watched Princess Mononoke, an animated feature where in the first 20 minutes, a couple of Samurai mercenaries lose their arms, and one is decapitated.

                It was rated PG-13.

                1. Around here, I’m positively ag-ed.

                  I think there’s something to be said for not immersing kids in violence, sex, and stupidity. Note the use of the word “immerse.”

            2. There’s a reason why I like pre-Codes like Night Nurse so much.

    3. I disagree. There’s plenty of clunky dialogue in the first two films that the actors had to plow through, but plenty of memorable lines and speeches. Among them:
      “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” and pretty much all of Vader’s dialogue.
      The whole scene with Han solo and the guy he shoots at the bar.
      Yoda’s explanation of the force.

      Does none of this impress you?

      1. Reason even used one of the better ones yesterday “I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it further”. Vader was awesome. Which makes the fact that they made him into a whinny spoiled teenager in the prequals all the more infuriating.

        1. The whole business was handled horribly. The Anakin we saw made no sense as a hero or as someone who would turn to evil. And talk about abrupt falls–“Uh, I don’t know, I’m worried about my wife” to “Kill children, yes, master.”

          1. It all goes back to the casting of Christianson. If the actor can’t convincingly show a dark side, there is no good way to transform him into a villain.

          2. It all goes back to the casting of Christianson. If the actor can’t convincingly show a dark side, there is no good way to transform him into a villain.

          3. The funny thing is, a lot of seemingly intelligent 17/18 year olds these days opine that the prequels were better because the plot was more “complex” than the original trilogy which was just “good vs. evil”. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a budding intellect to mistake convoluted incoherence for nuanced sophistication. Which may explain their love for all things Obama too.

            1. I weep for our future. Incoherence is not complexity. And Anikan Skywalker is one of the the least nuanced least interesting villain in movie history. Haven’t these morons even seen the Godfather? Or Red River?

              “You should’ve let him kill me, ’cause I’m gonna kill you. I’ll catch up with ya! I don’t know when, but I’ll catch up. Every time you turn around, expect to see me. ‘Cause one time you’ll turn around and I’ll be there. I’ll kill ya, Matt.”

              Imagine that whinney shit saying a line like that.

              1. Haven’t these morons even seen the Godfather? Or Red River?

                I doubt it.

                But hopefully it’s just a phase. At that age I had the attitude that any black and white movies was automatically going to be boring and irrelevant. Today’s teenagers probably have the same attitude about movies with non-CGI special effects like puppets, scale models, painted backgrounds, etc.

            2. That’s complete bullshit. Kids sure are screwed up today.

              As for Hayden Christensen, I think he was miscast, but I also think the dialogue for him and the overall view of his character was horrible.

        2. It’s a message to all the whiny teenagers out there that if they work hard, stay in school, kill a bunch of little kids, strangle their wives, and get themselves set on fire on a lava planet that they too can become badass.

          1. Isn’t it, though?

            1. Oh, I forgot: you have to pledge eternal allegiance to the current head of state, too.

              1. Yep, Lucas is programming our children to be slaves to the American Empire.

              2. In exchange for impossible promises of better health care.

      2. I’ve disliked every installment worse than the last. That said, I recall telling myself and a few others after the first one that Ford was going to be a BIG star . . . the way he delivered that line “I can imagine a LOT of money” was classic. Too bad he never learned to act.

        1. Yeah but he gave us “GET OFF MY PLANE!!!!!!!” so I think he gets a pass.

    4. Has anyone ever seen the Star Wars holiday special where they celebrate “Life day”? That is hard to get through. Just awful.

      1. Still beats the prequels. At least the Special-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named had Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur.

        1. I take it I’m the only one here who thought the Ewoks were cool. My older brother hated them with a passion, to the point of having that image of the dead Ewok in ROTJ as his desktop background for a while…but even he was pissed when they replaced the Ewok song at the end of ROTJ with some bland cinematic muzak in the revised version.

          1. Of course the best thing about the Ewoks is that in the LEGO Star Wars video games, their attack is to fling their feces at their opponents. Well, that’s just my interpretation, but it’s something solid, brown, and they have an endless supply of it, so you tell me.

          2. I’m in total agreement dude. I thought the Ewoks were kickass, using contraptions to take down big robots. I got a little choked up when that one dies and his friend is trying to wake him up.

            Of course, Return of the Jedi is my favorite of the movies, while most people seem to go for either the first one or Empire.

            1. My son and I still crack up whenever we watch a movie with an uplifting end after a hard struggle against a cruel foe, by doing that little Ewok Victory Dance Motif–do-ta-do-ta-do–dute-dute!

  13. Chipotle was sued b/c the counter is too high for the wheelchaired to fully enjoy their burrito experience. This nursing home corporation’s stock dropped 75%.

    Does California have net negative new business creation?

  14. Speech-reduction committee will protect us from Facebook: California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (bet your state doesn’t have one of those!) plans to suppress more online political speech and introduce disclosure rules for social media.

    I guess cat herding just wasn’t challenging enough.

    1. What would antisocial media be, anyway?

  15. I hate the Star Wars prequels a helluva lot, but I contend that they do have their watchable moments. Of course, I’m mostly referring to Episodes I and III.

    1. Yeah, AOTC was like the mirror universe ESB, with goatee and all. But usually the middle movie in a trilogy is the worst, so maybe ESB is the exception.

  16. The democrats simply can’t help themselves when it comes to taxing the ‘so-called’ rich. I think they intended increase taxes on earners at $20,000 and up all along, not $200,000 and up. They either forgot to take off a zero or they are simply bad at math – or probably both.

  17. I seem to recall that Lucas talked about Star Wars being a 6-part series as far back as reading the backs of the trading cards when I was a kid in ’77-’78. Maybe I’m misremembering that, but I don’t think so.

  18. Thank you for the great information, It was precisely what I was looking for, and really helpful.

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