by John Walters

Starting Five

Nancy’s Game

Remember a long, long time ago—perhaps it was February of 2016—when Supreme Court justice Anton Scalia died? We do. Remember what happened? President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed Scalia and all that was left, as spelled out in Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, was for the U.S. Senate to either confirm or reject him.

And what happened? Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, never bothered to take a vote. Garland withered on the vine for 293 days until at last the nomination expired, just three weeks before Donald Trump was inaugurated. What McConnell did was not expressly unconstitutional, since the Framers never set a hard deadline (e.g., what exactly is a “speedy trial?”), but certainly it opposed the spirit of the guidelines.

So here it is nearly four years later and McConnell is still head of the Senate. And he’s already indicated, even before the Democratic-led House impeached President Trump, that he would not conduct a fair Senate impeachment trial. And so House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi is pilfering McConnell’s patented move: she’s slow-walking the process and basically running a four corners offense by not sending the articles of impeachment onto the Senate—yes, it’s a mere formality, but it is observed—over to the Senate for them to stage their kangaroo court.

The maneuver is genius for a number of reasons: 1) It prevents Trump and his wacko Republicans from getting any sense of closure on this dark chapter (look, how many people talk about the Mueller report any more). 2) It keeps impeachment in the news and that will only help more witnesses to come forward—you think this is the only time Trump abused the power of his office? 3) It frustrates the hell out of “Individual 1” which causes him to rage-tweet which only demonstrates further how unfit he is to lead and finally, 4) It pisses McConnell off. Someone’s beating him at his own game.

The impeachment articles, as the political environment now stands, are dead in the water as soon as the Senate receives them. Men like McConnell and Lindsey Graham, who pleaded for an impartial, non-partisan process 20 years ago before Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, have openly stated, in not so many words, that they have no fear of being hypocrites now. So why even give them the chance?

Nancy Pelosi is the “nasty woman” Donald Trump and his GOP buddies have no answer for.


Is Tesla finally over the hump? Is stock in the battery-powered car manufacturer about to enjoy a half-decade run-up akin to that of Amazon the past five years?

This morning comes news that Tesla (TSLA), shares of which have risen more than 150% in the past six months, just secured a $1.29 billion-with-a-B loan from the Chinese government to assist in a Shanghai manufacturing plant.

Here are two features of China every investor should know: 1) It has lots and lots of people and 2) these people work cheap (“Yay! Totalitarianism!”).

Anyway, human-rights issues aside, Tesla will be able to make more cars for even less money. Also, in a related move, China is exempting a Tesla model from its buyers having to pay a purchase tax. Maybe China is finally getting serious about its dreadful air quality.

In January of 2015 shares of Amazon (AMZN) were available for $312. Five years later, the stock price has sextupled. Tesla, which was as low as $172 last June, opens this morning at close to $435. We see it doubling in at least the next two years.

We’ve been wrong before. But we’ve also been right. We’ll see.

Dance Fever

Dance as Mountbatten

If you’re watching Season 3 of The Crown on Netflix, you may recognize a familiar face from HBO in a familiar role. Charles Dance, who played sinister patriarch Tywin Lannister in Game Of Thrones, has assumed the role of dashing Navy captain (and uncle to Prince Phillip), Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Although one role was fictional and the other is historical, Dance is almost essentially playing the same character, with a tweak or two. Lannister was never king, but he was always close to the throne, he held enormous influence, and the Lord of Casterly Rock was a mentor to to his grandson, the sociopathic and diabolical Joffrey. He would be murdered by his dwarf son Tyrion after Tyrion found his love in bed with his dad. Seems fair.

As Tywin Lannister

Mountbatten was as dashing as Lannister, but not as evil (although the IRA would not agree with that assessment). Born in 1900, he lived an extremely colorful life—as a youth he spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, and became close with the Imperial family before the Bolshevik Revolution. He was related to them somehow.

Anyway, as we see in Season 3, he also acts as a mentor to a family member two generations removed, but here it is to his great-nephew, Prince Charles. Stick around for Season 4 because Mountbatten’s about to meet a grisly end of his own, although not by crossbow while visiting the W.C.

Dance, who stands 6’3″, is perfect for these roles as the aging aristocratic lion.

Five Films: 1982

I’m trying to determine if this is a matter of my age at the time or just this particular year, but while there’s no CLASSIC film here (other than perhaps No. 1), the year is very deep with quality, so you’ll see below how we handle it.

  1. E. T. The Extra Terrestrial: Magical, and also a very early glimpse at what a fascist state our MIC was turning us into. Spielberg had Raiders and this in consecutive years. He was walking on water. 2. Tootsie: Funny, and one of the smartest scripts you’ll ever find. We see our protagonist’s dilemma (he’s a good actor but he’s a pain in the ass), then he solves it in a clever way only to create an even bigger problem. It’s like Save The Cat by putting the cat on a higher branch on the tree. I still want someone to produce “Return To Love Canal.” 3. My Favorite Year: Based on Mel Brooks’ early, early years as a comedy writer, this is sharp and funny and Peter O’Toole is simply endearing and intoxicated. 4. An Officer And A Gentleman: Louis Gossett, Jr., is the perfect drill sergeant. Richard Gere and Debra Winger are terrific. “I got no place else to go….I got…no…place…else…to …go.” 5. Fast Times At Ridgemont High: “Isn’t it OUR time, Mr. Hand?” The film that launched Sean Penn, and also that dude who wrote it, Cameron Crowe, wasn’t half bad himself.

Five More Films: 1982

  1. Diner: Young dudes coming of age in early Sixties Baltimore. Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke, Tim Daly, Steve Guttenberg and there’s that Daniel Stern guy again. 2. Blade Runner: I’ve never seen it. I know. I will. 3.. The Verdict: Paul Newman in yet another Oscar-worthy performance for which he did not win. 4. Gandhi: If you ever get the chance, watch this and Sexy Beast in the same week. Man, Ben Kingsley has some range to him. 5. Sophie’s Choice: Meryl Streep does an accent. I’d argue this title rivals Gaslight in its legacy for creating a term with an actual meaning.

Popular movies that didn’t make either list cuz they just weren’t as good as they are popular: Poltergeist, Rambo: First Blood, Rocky III. Movies that belong in your art house cinema that I still wanna see: The King Of Comedy, Fitzcarraldo, Koyaanisqatsi, The Year Of Living Dangerously.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “It’s the hard-knock life for us
    It’s the hard-knock life for us!”

    “When I’m stuck in a day
    That’s gray
    And lonely,
    I just stick out my chin
    And grin
    And say,
    So ya gotta hang on
    Till tomorrow
    Come what may

    I LOVE YA,
    You’re always a day away.” 🙂

    So, Annie is one of the few Broadway musical hits of the last 30 years I’ve never actually seen on stage & this movie version is certainly not the best musical of all time, but I did leave the movie theatre hummin’ & it’s on MY list.

    1982 was banner year for film! E.T. tops my list too & all your other picks are also on my list (yeah, well, *I* don’t have to limit MY list to just 5). When the current Xfinity ‘E.T part II’ commercial debuted during Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I had not known it was coming & thus, was shocked & despite the commercialization, I loved it, even while welling up with tears. (However, the version with narration is horrible!)

    Blade Runner stayed with me a long time, especially the film set, the cinematography & the constant rain. Apocalyptic films were still a fairly new genre at the time & perhaps this film is what started the seemingly nonstop proliferation since.

    Rocky 3 is actually on my list as Stallone looked MAGNIFICENT in this one! Let’s just say it was HOT in that theatre. 🙂


    48 Hours – movie stardom began for Eddie Murphy. His comedy/action/drama partner in this ‘buddy cop’ flick was Nick Nolte.

    Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan. Even if you weren’t a childhood fan of the TV show, watching Ricardo Montalvan chew up the scenery was a fine way to pass an afternoon. Plus, there’s the now CLASSIC scene of the ‘eel-bug’ thing going into Chekov’s brain via his ear’ that stays with one for a loooooooooonnnnnnngggg damn time. OMG, it STILL gives me the heebie-jeebies! And there’s heroic self-sacrifice at the end that will MAKE you cry. The best of the original cast’s Star Trek movies.

    And finally, Night Shift – directed by Ron Howard & starring Henry Winkler & Michael Keaton in the STAR MAKING role of Bill “Blaze” Blazekowski, an “idea man”. One wouldn’t think a movie about the “prostitution business” could be a comedy but that one would be wrong. 🙂

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