Sunday, March 02, 2014

And The Winners Are.....

The Academy Awards have just ended and The Shadow can tell you this was one of the better shows in the past few years.  But before we get into a final review of the show, here are the winners from tonight (as always, there were a few pleasant surprises):
  • Best Picture - 12 Years A Slave
  • Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  • Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Actress - Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave)
  • Original Screenplay - Her
  • Adapted Screenplay - 12 Years A Slave
  • Animated Feature - Frozen
  • Cinematography - Gravity
  • Original Score - Gravity
  • Original Song - Let It Go (Frozen)
Watching Ellen DeGeneres hosting tonight's awards was a breath of fresh air compared to last year's show.  Ellen took advantage of her relationship with many of the nominees to provide comedy relief during the show.  In one instance, she posted the following selfie with several A-listers which literally crashed Twitter briefly:

This pic has been retweeted more than 2 million times as of this writing, making it the most retweeted picture of all time.

Ellen's antics tonight were funny, in good taste, and made for a great show tonight.  We only have to wonder why it took seven years for her to come back to host the Oscars again.  We do hope to see her again soon.

Good night and good luck.

And The Oscar Goes To......

As has been tradition on this blog for years, The Shadow has now prepared his predictions for the 2014 Academy Awards.  This has been a difficult year, with nine pictures in the running for Best Picture.  Our picks are listed below:
  • Best Picture - American Hustle
  • Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  • Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Actress - Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
  • Original Screenplay - Blue Jasmine
  • Adopted Screenplay - 12 Years A Slave
  • Animated Feature - Frozen
  • Cinematography - Gravity
  • Original Score - Philomena
  • Original Song - Let It Go (Frozen)
We are extremely pleased that the Academy has chosen Ellen DeGeneris to host this year's program.  After the disaster that Seth MacFarlane produced last year, Ellen will be a breath of fresh air and we are looking forward to this year's production -- which is now about 5 hours away at the time of this writing.

We will return at the end of the broadcast with the final winners list and our final thoughts on the year.

Good night and good luck.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Good Luck Batkid!!

Unless you have been under a rock in the last week or so, an amazing event is about to happen in San Francisco tomorrow.  And it involves the Make A Wish Foundation and a 5 year old boy who loves The Batman.

Five year old Miles Scott will have the experience of his lifetime tomorrow in San Francisco!  Miles will become Batkid!!!!!

Miles was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old,  He is now in remission.

Miles went to the Make A Wish Foundation with a specific wish.  The Foundation's mission is

Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.

The Batkid (Miles Scott)
San Francisco has responded like you would not believe.  Over 11,000 volunteers will be in San Francisco tomorrow to watch the Batkid (Miles) capture the Riddler and the Penguin in Gotham City (San Francisco).

Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco will present Miles with a key to the city.  San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr will play Police Commissioner Gordon and ask for the Batkid's assistance.  In fact, the Bat Signal has been lit tonight.

ABC7 reporter Ama Daetz, who will be participating tomorrow in this scenario, interviewed Matt and his family tonight.

As another superhero, The Shadow wishes The Batkid luck tomorrow.  We know you will do well.

Privately, The Shadow commends the over 11,000 volunteers who will be participating in this scenario tomorrow.  This is the biggest wish that the Make A Wish Foundation has ever granted.  We commend the citizens of San Francisco and the other volunteers from around the world who are coming to San Francisco for making this child's wish come true.  You are definitely heroes.

 Of course after this ends, there are still other wishes to be granted.  If you wish to help out, the Make A Wish Foundation's website is available here.

We will report on the Batkid's efforts soon.

Good night and good luck.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Three Days and No End in Sight

And so it continues.

We are now at day three of the government shutdown and there is no end in sight.  It appears that the GOP is still not willing to pass a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.  Instead, they are trying to take a piecemeal approach to funding the government -- first by trying to fund national parks and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  But the House cannot even get enough votes to do that.

A piecemeal approach to funding the government does not work.  The government does not work works as one unit.  One department is not more important than another.

The Shadow urges the Congress to get your act together and end this shutdown.  We are watching you.

Good night and good luck.

Monday, September 30, 2013

No United States Government....

Just a few minutes ago, the United States government lost the authority to spend money and is now shut down.

We never thought we would see this again.  It has been 17 years since the last government shutdown.

The immediate impact:  800,000 people who work for the federal government will be furlough....probably without pay.  National parks will close.  People seeking mortgages and first time home buyers will have to wait.

However, Congress did one good thing tonight.  They passed a bill that will allow our troops who are in harm's way to be paid on time during this shutdown.  President Obama has signed the bill.

How long will this shutdown last?  We do not know.

This is very irresponsible and could have been avoided.

We will continue to monitor this over the next few hours and days and report as we know more.

Good night and good luck.

And so it begins....

Breaking News:  With five minute to go until the shutdown, the President has ordered government agencies to begin shutting down.

More soon.....

Good night and good luck.

There Is No Excuse For This!!!

As we write this post, we are less than one hour from the time that the government of the United States of America is forced to shut down because they will not be authorize to spend money to operate the federal government.

As most of you are aware, the U.S. government's fiscal year starts of October 1st.  However, in order for the government to operate, 12 spending bills must be passed every year by September 30th to authorize the government to operate.  If that cannot be done, Congress will usually pass what is called a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep funding at current levels so that the government can continue operations.

Usually, this is a routine procedure for the government to pass a CR so that the government can keep operating and services to the American people are not affected.  This year, however, it has become political.

The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is due to be implemented on October 1, 2013.  The House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress -- run by the Republican party -- has tried to repeal the act since its inception.  This year, they have tried, in several amendments to CRs, to not let the legislation take effect.

The Shadow feels that this is wrong.  Regardless of how the Republican party may feel about Obamacare, this is not the time to try to derail the act.  Three bills have been sent to the U.S Senate that 1) defunds Obamacare, 2) delays the implementation of the act for one year and 3) delays the individual mandate under the act.  All three have been rejected by the U.S. Senate and sent back to the House.

The Senate has asked for a CR that does not mention Obamacare so that the government keeps operating.  The House has refused to do that.  As of this writing, the Senate has just declined a conference committee with the House to discuss a CR, almost assuring a shutdown.

We will have another comment on this at Midnight EST.

Good night and good luck.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Shadow's Final Word (For Now) On Syria

Because of fast moving events over the past week, culminating in an agreement yesterday between the United States and Russia, we have held up on updates on Syria.  This post will constitute our final comments (for now) on this matter.

The week began with U.S. President Barak Obama ready to make a case to the American people to make a military strike against Syria for the use of chemical weapons.  However, on Monday, some movement came from out of Russia that resulted in Syria agreeing to put its chemical weapons under international control.  Syria would also agree to join a treaty that would ban the use of chemical weapons.

Because of these developments, President Obama's speech focused more on these developments and stated that the threat of military action would not yet be taken off the table, although he did ask the Congress to delay a vote on a resolution to invoke a military strike under the War Powers Act.

Then on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, taking advantage of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, published an op-ed in the New York Times -- you can read it here.  Putin's message "to the American people and their political leaders" was the biggest farce that we have ever seen.

The Russian president admits that sarin gas has been used in Syria, but that it was not used by the Syrian army but by the opposition.  This is contrary to what is currently being reported and the U.N.'s initial findings.  Putin then goes on to state:
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
 The United States is the world's oldest constitutional democracy and is still a model that many countries wants to follow -- because it works!  We would challenge the president to further expound on this statement.

Bottom line is, while President Putin's comments are his own, The Shadow must respectfully disagree.  But the president's point on letting diplomacy work does ring a tone and the Russian government has put their money where their mouth is.

The United States and Russia, through their top diplomats -- Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov respectively -- have now brokered a deal which will, for the moment, stall any military action on Syria.  It will take about eight months for this deal to be fully implemented, which will result in the total destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.  But it is promising and we are in full support of this plan.

We are also in full support of Secretary Kerry's statement that military action has not been taken off the table.  But we will support this only if Syria does not fulfill the terms of this agreement.

We will continue to watch developments on this and report as is warranted.

For up to the minute updates, follow us on Twitter at @TheShadowSF.

Good night and good luck

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Shadow Takes On A Worthy Cause

We know that many of you have been waiting for The Shadow to make more comments on Syria.  We will have more comments on Syria in the next couple of days, including the opinion piece by the President of Russia in the New York Times that was published on Wednesday.

However, we want to take a moment to comment on a worthwhile cause and an event that YOU can participate in if you are in the San Francisco area.

On September 17, 2013, hundreds of people will walk in San Francisco to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Most will walk to raise money.  Some will walk as survivors of the disease.  Others will walk in the memory of a loved one who succumbed to the disease.  But all will be walking in the hopes that one day a cure will be found.

The Shadow will donate his times and talents at a corporate charity event on Friday, September 13, 2013.  Unfortunately, we are not physically unable to walk the event (we hope to do so in the next couple of years).  We would hope that you, our loyal readers and followers, will give up on evening to walk for this worthy cause.

And we can give you one enticement -- part of the route of the walk next Tuesday will be on the field at AT&T Park -- the home of the San Francisco Giants (the Giants will be in New York playing the Mets that evening so the park will be free for participants to walk on.

If you would like to join this effort and walk next Tuesday, you can find more information here.

Good night and good luck.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

We Need to Know About Syria

Just about everyone in the United States now knows that the United States is ready to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against their own people.  According to the Obama Administration, over 1400 people (including over 400 children) died in a chemical attack that involved Sarin gas.

This is unacceptable if it is true.  The Shadow condemns the government of President Bashir Al-Assad for ordering this attack.  If it is true, as the United States and the United Kingdom has proven, this cannot go unpunished.

The United States has ships stationed of the coast of Syria ready for an aerial attack.  However, U.S. President Barak Obama has decided to invoke the War Powers Act and ask the United States Congress for authorization to attack Syria.  (We should also note that this comes at the heels of the refusal of the House of Commons of the British Parliament  to approve the request of their Prime Minister to attack Syria).

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee today voted to give the president the authority to attack Syria under certain circumstances.  Both houses of Congress are scheduled to consider a resolution next week to give the president that authority.  We expect the Congress to authorize the president to use force against Syria, but it will be a close vote.

We have received unconfirmed reports that President Obama will address the nation before the Senate vote next week.  We would encourage and demand that the president address the American people next week and present the evidence that he has presented to the Congress concerning the attacks.  Public opinion right now is against military action in Syria.  The president addressing the nation would go a long way towards reassuring the nation that this is a justified action.

We will stay on top of this story and bring you more as events warrant.

Good night and good luck.