sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ObamaCare Strikes the Campus

ObamaCare - The Reality
You will all recall that there was no legislative debate over the Affordable Care Act. Congress passed it without a single Republican vote and academia cheered their victory. For many academics, Obamacare brought with it nasty side effects
A new piece in the Wall Street Journal reports that many colleges are cutting back on the number of hours worked by adjunct professors, in order to avoid new requirements that they provide healthcare to anyone working over 30 hours per week. This is terrible news for a lot of people; 70 percent of professors work as adjuncts and many will now have to cope with a major pay cut just as requirements that they buy their own health insurance go into effect.
Universities nationwide are cutting adjunct professor hours to a maximum of 29 (which often means a cut in pay). These same people will become responsible for paying their own healthcare or pay a  tax.

 There is a bright side if you're an out-of-work 
academic looking for part time work. 

(Walter Russell Mead) Partisans of the blue social model like to think of academia as a utopian commonwealth; academic adjuncts know the truth, and the revolting treatment of adjuncts by colleges understandably anxious to avoid the high costs of Obamacare should remind us all that the blue social model, especially in decline, is not as benign as its supporters and beneficiaries believe.

Broken City (Movie Review)

I went to see Broken City last night. This is what I thought of the movie.

Tag Line: In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.

The acting was first-rate and the cast is comprised of a number of A-List actors: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones -- and Alona Tal, who I felt added a great deal to the film even though she wasn't a marquee name. If I'd been casting the film, I would not have cast Jeffrey Wright in his role, but that's just me -- unless you were going to set the film in a different period. Then maybe he would have worked. He was too wooden as he tried to play the role of a tough police chief.

The writing was not bad, but you could predict the ending five minutes into the movie. That's not necessarily bad if the acting makes up for it -- and in this case, it did. Had the movie been set in the 1950's or 1960's, the script might have worked better. I won't suggest spoilers here. Most of them are subtle and are fleshed out in the last ten minutes of the movie. None of them really matter to the story telling - they are all devices the writer used to suggest why things happened. I don't think that they worked. Brian Tucker may have gone to USC Film School because it looked like that sort of machine-writing style.

My recommendation is 6/10. The acting is engaging and I didn't look at my watch once during the film to try and figure out how much longer it would go on. Though that may sound like a rough criteria for See/Don't See -- you'd be surprised how many films have me doing that.

Acting - Very Good

Writing - Tepid

Directing - Average

---a bit more for those who want to read on--
  • Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg did the sort of acting job that I've come to expect. They were very good.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones has been less than stunning in recent roles, but she redeemed herself here. Maybe she's gone back to acting? In any case, it was a welcome change from her recent work. 
  • Barry Pepper is a favorite of mine, but in his role as the rich boy (yet man of the people) homosexual city councilman, Jack Valliant, I found him lacking. It's not that he can't act. This simply wasn't a believable role to me.
  • Kyle Chandler is a good actor, but we didn't see that much of him in the film. What I did see, I liked.