A brief introduction and a bitchy news roundup

Hello, and welcome to Film Bitch! I’m not going to go into any lengthy introductions—after all, you’re not here to read about me. You’re here to read my film reviews and/or news commentary.

(And if you’re not here to read either, then you’re kind of out of luck. But I think porn’s in that direction.)

Anyway, long story short, I’m a college student who loves ripping movies to shreds and telling people exactly what she thinks about … well, everything, actually. My dream job is to be a journalist, or a radio or television reporter; as such, I’ve been working for my school paper since 2008, and co-hosted a talk news radio show with a friend this past semester (something I’m hoping to do again this coming semester!).

Since I don’t have an internship this summer, I’ll be working for my college’s dining service. Ideal? Perhaps not, but I do get free room and board, and I get paid, to boot. Not a bad deal, eh?

(Much thanks to the college’s staff who made that possible for me, by the way!)

But, of course, I do want something career-related to put on my resume, and I thought a film and news blog would be a nice amalgamation of my work for the school’s paper—I did the film column for the Arts section, and wrote articles and features for the News section—and my radio show.

So here she is, folks. Plain. Simple. Bitchy.

Let’s rock.

Weapons, drugs and intrigue, oh my!

For those of you who don’t know, the world has recently been having some problems with Iran . The long and the short of it is that Iran is allegedly conducting several covert nuclear weapons programs, which, of course it denies (at best, it slaps the denied programs with the term “nuclear energy.” Right.). Unfortunately for Iran’s image and credibility, it also refuses to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to follow up on said suspicions, making Iran’s nuclear energy program look even more suspicious.

As of a New York Times report released yesterday, things just became more complicated—and more dangerous. In 2008, The United States blacklisted the entirety of The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its associated ships in order to keep IRISL from trafficking weapons, nuclear or otherwise. However, as the NYT report states, it has recently been discovered that IRISL has been renaming ships that had been blacklisted with innocuous-sounding names, such as Bluebell or Angel . It has also transferred ownership of many of its ships to other companies that, on paper, have no connection with IRISL, and are not currently blacklisted.

But—and I’m sure you saw this coming—the reality is different. Many of the new owners and managers of the renamed ships are actually IRISL officials. Is the deception thinly veiled? Yes. But is it effective? Absolutely. With such a network of “shell companies,” IRISL has been able to carry out its dubious shipping operations—and not just ones involving nuclear weapons.

According to a short article on The Globalist , Is Iran Spreading Its Wings in Latin America? , IRISL also transports drugs to and from South America, namely Venezuela. Somewhat like the “shell companies” set up for IRISL’s ships, Iran itself owns various factories in Venezuela that ostensibly carry out innocent industry: A cement plant in Aragua, a bicycle factory in Cojedas, and a tractor factory in Bolivar State, to name a few. These seemingly-benign industries are a cover for heavy drug trafficking, in which IRISL ships are involved. For example, some of its tuna ships transport cocaine by storing the cocaine below-decks, while large stocks of tuna inhabit the top decks, the smell of the tuna masking the smell of cocaine below.

But—and here you will allow me to bastardize a quote from Clue —at the end of the day, drugs were just a red herring.

Location, location, location—turns out it’s not only important when buying a house, but also when deciding whom to aid in the shipping of illegal substances. Because of its involvement in Venezuelan drug trafficking, the Islamic Republic, to which Iran belongs, has managed to get its hands on a gold mine in Bolivar State. Though gold is all well and good, the mine also happens to be a rich source of uranium, which it actively produces alongside the gold. Because the Venezuelan government controls all ports for import and export, it is hard to tell what is going where, as the government only releases certain amounts of information; and, since the various factories Iran owns do help the already-shoddy Venezuelan economy, it would be unlikely that the government would want to tattle on Iran, and upset a source of valuable income. Thus, it is more than likely that the uranium is currently going to Iran’s “nuclear energy” programs that it won’t allow the IAEA to look into.

The United Nations will shortly be voting on a fresh set of sanctions on Iran’s nuclear energy program. However, as stated in this Reuters article , Vladimir Putin does not believe the sanctions should be “excessive,” or “put Iran’s leadership, the Iranian people in a tricky situation that creates barriers on the way of development of Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy.”

(As a side note, Russia also has claims in South America, and is providing what is termed as “technical assistance” to Venezuela alongside Iran. I’m certainly not trying to find the seeds of another Cold War where there aren’t any, but I do think that comes across as a bit shady.)

So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. It’s certain new sanctions will be imposed (though I’m not entirely sure what they will be. If any of you know, please, leave a comment!). What is not certain is how Iran will react.

In the drink

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that a major oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. The initial accident involved an underwater oil well rupture, which caused an explosion on the drilling platform above the water. The explosion killed eleven rig workers, and has left thousands of gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico daily. But, oil being liquid, it hasn’t just stayed in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the spill, the oil has been dispersed along the southern coast of the United States, specifically the Louisiana coastline and northwestern part of Florida, and, as of the most recent update on the New York Times ’ interactive spill map , looks to be traveling even further south. As if it needed to get any worse, the spill is said to eclipse the Exxon-Valdez disaster of 1989, which is no mean feat.

Needless to say, this is bad news, kids.

BP, the oil company responsible for the spill, has been scrambling to try to get the leak closed up. However, every attempt has either failed or will potentially make the spill worse . The newest strategy involves a tanker collecting the oil captured below the surface. Unfortunately, more oil is being captured than the tanker can hold (which, of course begs the question: Why doesn’t BP just bring in another taker?). This is not surprising, as the estimates for the amount of oil pumping into the surrounding waters range anywhere from BP’s modest estimate of 5,000 barrels per day (announced April 28) to what I like to call BP’s “oh shit” scenario of 60,000 barrels per day (announced May 8).

Either way you look at it, that’s a lot of oil. And that doesn’t bode well for the wildlife in the area, as evidenced by the numerous photographs of oil-covered wildlife that have been popping up in the last two weeks as oil has moved towards the continent. As of the New York TimesDay 47: The Latest on the Oil Spill , 820 birds, 33 dolphins and other mammals, and 289 sea turtles have been collected, all covered in a thick layer of oil.

The most recent news on the spill is no better: Bacteria in the water have been “consuming oil-related compounds at a furious rate,” says this article from The New York Times . Though the bacteria are not yet taking in these compounds at a rate that could deplete the water’s oxygen content severely enough to suffocate marine life, I’d be willing to bet that if this leak isn’t closed up soon, they could. I don’t even want to think about how many endangered species’ extinction are being accelerated because of this.

The only good to come of this—and I have heard the same from many people—is that Obama can now no longer go ahead with his plan to drill for more oil , a plan he’d announced a few weeks before the BP spill occurred. It’s just a shame that it took a disaster like this to make him realize how wrong that decision would have been.

(And, as a side note, is yet another reason why I have become swiftly disenchanted with him. But that’s a rant for another time.)

Why the Democrats need to get their shit together

The primaries are upon us, the outcome of which is critical in shaping the future of the United States. And, sadly, a 14-week battle has raged between Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, both Democrats, in the race for the Arkansas Senate seat.

Now, as a liberal-minded person myself—and, please, if you’re about to jump down my throat and accuse me of using the word ‘liberal’ too, well, liberally, spare me; I know there are different grades of ‘liberal,’ thanks—I tend to support the Democrats, because they are usually the least crazy of the two majority parties in the United States. However, infighting doesn’t sit well with me, especially after the many flubs the Democratic party and Obama have made over the past year, all within weeks of each other. This seems to be yet another black mark on the very long road of mishaps the Democrats have been paving. Not only has the race between Lincoln and Halter been nasty and just downright dirty—see a couple attack ads here and here —but, according to this article on The Huffington Post , it never even got off on a friendly foot.

What’s that old maxim? Something about a house divided, I think. This should go without saying, but this doesn’t just reflect poorly on Lincoln and Halter. Their piss-fight has tarnished the already-dulled reputation of the Democratic party. Of course, conservatives are jumping for joy at this. Any excuse to get those God-forsaken liberals out of positions of power, right? Let’s bring in the big guns boys! We got ourselves a fat turkey over yonder.

If this keeps up, we’re going to be in serious trouble come election day, especially now that Obama has nominated a relatively conservative woman, Elena Kagan, to replace John Paul Stevens as a Supreme Court Justice. Yes, she calls herself a Democrat, but in reality, she tends towards the right, subscribing to dubious practices such as wiretapping—which, may I point out, Obama condemned Bush for—and supporting the law against same-sex marriage.

Hear that sound? That’s the sound of a lot of our civil liberties being flushed down the toilet. Kagan, Obama and the infighting Democrats are holding down the handle.

I think that’s enough in terms of news for today, especially since it’s my first post. I’m still figuring out all the tags and whatnot anyway.

Stay tuned for my first film review! I’m reviewing a 1998 film called Twilight —fear not, it bears no relation to that sparkly Stefanie Meyer shit—which, though it uses an amazing cast, is actually rather boring. But I will save the vicious dissection for later.

Ever yours,

Film Bitch

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As the oil spill in the Gulf grows larger and more deadly, decimating all that it touches, BP continues to turn down assistance from Americans who just want to help clean up the mess. (…I hear they even turned down Director James Cameron and actor Kevin Costner…)

    First let’s get one thing perfectly straight: If you want to go and help clean up the oil spill, don’t let some corporate Big-Whigs “handle” you into believing that you’d be more of a liability, than an asset. I applaud you for recognizing that we all depend on our oceans for our very survival. It is this water that sustains every living thing on our planet, and it is also this water that we must protect in order to save ourselves from extinction.

    BP has downplayed the problem in the Gulf from the beginning as a means of corporate damage control. I don’t think they’ve yet recognized the severity of the problem. As I’ve written in past blog posts; the pipe needs to be capped and the relief well needs to be drilled. It’s not an exact science by any means, and if BP doesn’t get it right the first time, they’ll have to do it over, and over, and over again, until they do. How many months (or years) will that take? How much damage will have been done to our environment by then? We’ve already seen what 51 days of oil can do to the Gulf of Mexico… What would happen if the oil was left, unabated, for several months, or years? It’s a frightening example of corporate greed gone awry and it’s criminal, pure and simple.

    Corporations should never be allowed the opportunity to risk the lives of everyone on the planet just to make a profit for a few shareholders. (What good is money, after all, if you don’t have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat without fear of contamination?)

    BREAKING NEWS: I’ve just heard that those enormous plumes floating just under the surface of the water have been certified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) as crude oil.

    (Are we just casual witnesses to our own demise? I wonder…)

  2. Love your writing style! I’ll stop by regularly to read more. Great first post! 🙂

    • Thank you for the original comment, and the compliment! I really enjoy it when I can get a substantial discussion going, or prompt meaningful comments.

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