Wow.  It feels like forever since I’ve said anything remotely controversial on this blog.

And so, at the risk of offending those people who foolishly disagree with my opinion, here are my thoughts on some recent controversies in the news…


A movie called Captain Phillips opens on October 11th.  It’s a dramatization of the true-life hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates.  Tom Hanks plays the role of Captain Phillips, a man who – if Hollywood is to be believed – showed great bravery in the face of danger and was responsible for saving the lives of his crew. EXCEPT…according to the crew members of the MV Maersk Alabama, the movie is complete and utter bullshit.  They claim that rather than being the hero portrayed in the movie, Captain Phillips was directly responsible for their being hijacked in the first place:

According to them “Phillips captained his ship against more than seven maritime warnings and his own men’s pleas, sailing deep into waters notorious for pirate attack.”  According to their lawyer: “It is galling for them to see Captain Phillips being set up as a hero. It is just horrendous and they’re angry.”  And here’s the thing. We’re just hearing about this now thanks to the movie.  The eleven crew members launched their lawsuit back in 2009.

Granted, nothing has been proven.  On the one hand, the crew may be right and Captain Phillips intentionally put their lives in danger, bearing significant responsibility for what happened to them.  On the other hand, it could simply be a case of massive ineptitude on the part of Captain Phillips who, despite warnings to keep 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, mistakenly sailed within 250 nautical miles of the coast.  Whichever the case, it’s pretty clear that this movie offers a little more than a “dramatization of events”.

I’ll be giving this movie a pass.


A couple and their two year old child have their range rover swarmed by a bunch of bikers in downtown Manhattan.  The driver is pulled out of the car and beaten in front of his family.  But wait!  The bikers claim there was a good reason they were beating the guy up.  The driver was apparently “driving like a maniac”.  He ran over one of their friends and they were merely giving chase after the fact.

Well…yes and no as a video of the incident reveals…

What the video shows is a bunch of bikers passing a range rover on the highway. Suddenly, one of the bikers cuts in front of the range rover and brake checks him, coming to a FULL STOP.  The range rover slows down and comes to a stop, but not before nudging the motorcycle.  As a result, all of the bikers stop, blocking in the range rover, and proceed to vandalize the vehicle.  No doubt fearing for his safety and that of his family, the driver did what I suspect most people in his position would have done: he floored it, hitting and injuring a biker who was blocking him in.

Eventually, the bikers catch up with him in traffic, smash in his window, drag him from his range rover, and beat him.

In an interview on CNN, one of the bikers claimed THEY were the innocent victims. Also, the media was incorrect in characterizing them as a “gang”.  When the interviewer asked him how HE would describe the group, the biker replied: “Family.” Well, as it so happened, the police were hoping to identify some of those family members from the above footage.  Did HE recognize any of those meting out the beat?  Alas, no. I suppose those two would be the familial equivalent of very distant cousins.

It’s tragic that people got hurt, but even more tragic that bikers assume they own the roads (and, in some instances, the sidewalks), free to intimidate drivers and pedestrians alike.  I have no idea how this is going to play out, but judging from the online comments, the court of public opinion has come down squarely against these bullies on bikes.


Two recent American raids on terrorist targets in Libya and Somalia have engendered some controversy given that these operations took place on the soil of purported “friends” of the West.

What business does the U.S. have mounting these ops without permission of the local governments?  Well, to that I would answer: “If you can’t clean your own house, someone far more capable is going to do it for you.”  I’m reminded of Pakistan, our “ally in the war on terror”, that would constantly complain about American ops straying into their country.  Bin Laden was hiding out in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, after all.  How dare the U.S. impugn their sovereignty by…uh.  Oh.  Bin Laden was actually IN PAKISTAN when they found him?  My, how embarrassing, no?

Well, no.  Despite the fact that the world’s most wanted terrorist was living right under their noses, the Pakistan government were positively indignant that they were made to look like fools  such an operation would take place on their soil without permission.  Presumably, they would have gotten him.  Eventually.

My advice to countries seeking to avoid similar injury to their national pride: CLEAN YOUR OWN DAMN HOUSE!


Another tragedy the other day, this one in the nation’s capitol, when a young mother with mental issues was gunned down after leading police on a high-speed car chase.  People are now questioning whether the police used excessive force in dealing with the situation.  The woman was, after all, unarmed.  She didn’t have a weapon.  Unless, of course, one counts the 1.2 ton vehicle she was racing through the streets of D.C….

Capitol Hill shooting: Use of deadly force questioned

It’s very sad this woman lost her life.  That being said, I think it’s all too easy to reconsider options long after the fact.  If you check out the video, you’ll see that, at one point, the vehicle is surrounded.  The driver is instructed to get out of the car. Instead, she peals out in reverse, narrowly missing some of the officers, and drives off.  Were there alternate ways the police could have defused the situation?  Maybe if they’d let her go and mailed her a bill for the damages?  Waited for her to run out of gas?  Certainly the video shows that reasoning with her was out of the question.

In the end, questioning these officers in hindsight is easy.  Dealing with an unknown entity with your life on the life isn’t.

To those of you asking about our Supermovie of the Week Club – okay, to gforce who asks – I’ve decided to give our long-suffering film critic a much-needed vacation. He’ll be back to review Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2, and Thor: The Dark World before giving of his list of The Tp 10 Superhero Movies of All Time.

31 thoughts on “October 6, 2013: Let’s Get Controversial!

  1. Re: Captain Controversy – you know, the American public likes a good hero story, and elements of that situation served it up in spades. Of course as we know, most events are more complex than simple hero stories so I’m inclined to believe that there’s more to the story as indicated by the lawsuit.

    I’ll add a little spice to the biker controversy because I read an article yesterday indicating that there may have been a number of off-duty NYC policemen in the biker gang. It will be interesting to see what becomes of that. ( )

    Good for Cookie to get a vacation! I completely understand the need- in fact I kind of feel I need one for myself from terrible films. Now, if I can just find a good one. I hear that “Gravity” is pretty good. If I go see it, I will return and report. However, I hope that Cookie will also do a “Ten WORST Superhero Movies of All Time” list. I mean, after all there’s an embarrassment of riches from which to choose.

  2. Kicking the ol’ hornets next, eh, Joe?

    1. No opinion on the Captain Phillips thing You would hope that Hollywood would check their facts before declaring a guy to be a hero, but they’ve never let facts get in the way of a story before so why should we think that they would start now? Okay, I guess that is sort of an opinion,

    2. Bully Bikers scare the crap out of me. I probably would have reacted the same way. And called 911 for help while I drove.

    3. US intervention. I have mixed feelings about my country’s ongoing desire to be the World’s conscience and policeman.

    4. Capitol Hill shooting. That was just tragic.

    Hey, I asked about the movies, too! But thanks for the update. I’ve got to get out to see Wolverine while it’s still at the cheap theater!

  3. You suck.


    (Been a busy day, if I get a chance I’ll get back to you on the controversies, but I figured I should do SOMETHING to get the ball rolling. 😉 )


  4. PS….

    Dang. I actually just about agree with everything you said. I DO want to see Captain Phillips, and I don’t think the ‘controversy’ will affect my enjoyment of the film since I have always figured that any film ‘based on actual events’ isn’t telling the entire story.

    Okay…now I gotta go. And just one thing about yesterday’s entry…

    What’s wrong with doggy style? 😕

    It is a kung fu thing, right? Like…dragon style and tiger style and snake style. Right? RIGHT??!

    *waits for answer*

    Hummh. Mebbe Sparrow will know…


    PS: @ Tam Dixon – Toe is MUCH better…I think maybe I just jammed it. Still a tad swollen, but doesn’t hurt much and looking better. 🙂

  5. Not sure I have a point but let’s not forget those DC Capitol cops were working for free, thanks to our combative Congress. They were still working to protect

  6. Here’s a real controversy! 7 new rescue puppies. 4 boys, 3 girls. I’m thinking SG1 names, but Person of Interest names might be fun, too. Opinions?


  7. THE BULLY BIKERS is more than that. How about criminals on wheels. They acted like a pack of wolves. They totally started and caused everything that happened. I feel sorry for the family attacked. The man had his wife and a two year old daughter in the car for goodness sakes! A Texas comment… “Bring ’em down here. We keep shotguns in our trucks….”. It looked like 99.9% public opinion against the bikers and .1% for the bikers (because they are bikers themselves).

    Too bad about the Capitol Hill shooting. I agree with you. Her car was her weapon and everyone around was in danger. She had a baby in the car too and was acting like that! Crazy people!

    The rest I’m not paying attention to. I can only take so much of the crap that is going on these days.

  8. Yeah, you are pretty under-controversial. I guess I would be, too, if I had a public blog with my real name on it. Each controversial issue would have the potential to cut my job prospects by a fraction.

    Cruz was the first biker hit. His lawyer says he doesn’t know any of the bikers involved in the beating. Why is that info so important to get out there? It’s not like anyone’s saying he called out for revenge from the pavement.

    Which bikers did he know then? That’s the “what he specifically didn’t say” that I hear in the lawyer’s statement. He looks right at the position of the Rover, being exactly lined up to take an injurious hit, but not catastrophically lose control of his bike, then notes where helmet-cam guy is, then slows down. Was he distracted into making a mistake because he suddenly realized he was on camera or was the maneuver timed to be on camera?

    Regarding U.S. intervention, the U.S. government could get more credibility that the latest actions were just that important if it wasn’t continuously making a case to get its mitts into one thing or the other. They’ve shown too much motivation to keep the military contractors flush with contracts. Who knows what kind of pipe they’re laying with these latest actions?

    And for the Libya one, we don’t know that the Libyan government wasn’t complicit in the action. The appearance of being overridden keeps any local commander from becoming a target to rally against.

  9. I’m pretty much in line with your controversies…with some additional thoughts.

    On the Capitol Hill Shooting controversy, I don’t see where much could have been done differently considering her behavior. There was always the possibility she was driving a car bomb and was trying to position it to inflict the greatest amount of casualties.

    On the Captain Phillips story, I’m pretty used to Hollywood distorting facts for the sake of the “story”, so I’m not really surprised. In fact, I’m pretty jaded when it comes to historical accounts or biographies coming out of Hollywood, I tend to give them a pass.

    On Somalia, I’m not sure they really count as a functioning government, let alone one that is a friend of the US. I view them more like the Barbary Pirates (or even the West Indie Pirates); a port of refuge for terrorists, th

  10. Opps, I wasn’t done but you got the point. I’m not sure there was much law and order in effect where those operations occurred.


    Go and try Gravity, I think you may like it.

  11. I agree with everything you have said, not sure if my opinion counts as I’m Australian.

  12. Finally saw Iron Man 3, I fast forwarded through a lot of it, which made it more enjoyable. It was entertaining but it went by in a blur, I didn’t retain any of it other than it was riddled with adorable urchins, and I hope Pepper keeps some of that crazy power.

    That Capital Hill story is sad; people mistakenly believe that the police are babysitters for unruly adults. Folks will call up the police because their spouse is drunk or son is acting up, and they expect the police to show up and give them a time out when instead it can very quickly turn into a tragedy.

    I binged on Hemlock Grove which surprised me in having beautiful cinematography and nice nods to Twin Peaks, Smallville and X-Files.

    according to him, there are very few places in the world that don’t have pirates. to avoid said areas cost time & money.

    there were several 911 calls regarding those bikers. i hate to bring up stereotypes, but there’s a reason for the biker as scary outlaw stereotype. especially when you have a group as large as that. about 200 i think.

    the police can’t take chances, especially in D.C. where there are so many targets. unfortunately, they have to shoot first & ask questions later.
    i wonder; if it wasn’t a woman with her 1 year-old child would there be any controversy?

  14. The only people who are supporting the Biker Gang’s actions are the sleezy lawyers who are now defending them. It is disgusting.

  15. I didn’t know that about the Phillips lawsuit, and it sure does cast a different light on the movie/story. I agree with you on the rest, completely. You mercifully left out the current cluster f*ck that is the US Government, for which I thank you. I’m on furlough, actually! It’s super fun watching cable news each day to see if we’ll go back to work the next. Seems very likely we’ll be out for weeks, until the next crisis merges with this one. Because if the stakes are that high, surely the extremists will give in rather than drive us over the cliff!? HAHA.

  16. From what very little I know of these things, I’d say I agree with you. I didn’t know that about the movie, and that makes me much less inclined to watch it. If a movie based on real events is going to take extreme liberties in how it portrays those events, I’d rather they just call it fiction “inspired by real events”.

  17. I don’t know about the Captain Phillips one, but, yeah, Hollywood does tend to skew the facts to make a more dramatic story. I guess the lawsuit may sort it out, but that will depend on who has the better lawyers.

    The bikers? Completely and totally are at fault, and I have absolutely no sympathy for the idiots that got hit. They start by surrounding and then forcing the Rover to stop while more of them arrive. If I was the driver, I’d want out of there as soon as possible, too. It was quite the swarm.

    Regarding the intervention controversy, I think the US is in the unenviable position of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” If they intervene, then they’re overstepping, if they don’t they get criticized for sitting by and letting whatever is going on continue. Although I do agree that the US government can get pretty heavy-handed with some of its policies (such as the “We’ll do whatever it takes to preserve the American way of life, and we’ll fire our nukes at you if you are a serious threat to it” or some such thing).

    The Washington shooting, while tragic, isn’t so cut and dried as the police shooting an unarmed civilian. As you say, she had a vehicle for a weapon, and she used it. The fact that she was mentally unstable is not something the police were likely aware of at the time, and they had to react to the situation at hand with the information they had.

  18. Very difficult to discover, know, and understand the truth – and it is even more complex because it becomes – ” the truth according to whom?”

    Re the US Government nonsense. In another life I would have been working as “essential,” but not getting paid because there was no budget to pay salaries. What is overlooked is as a deadline to shutdown the government approaches, much time and effort is “wasted” to determine who is essential, who does what because other positions are not essential, then once the nonsense is over, trying to return all things back to normal. It is an incredible WASTE of time, effort and money. The bozos who want the shutdown – do not realize the extra waste. The bozos who want to threaten the shutdown but are planning to have an eleventh hour reprieve, do not consider the waste as the agencies prepare to either shut down or continue.

    And, because the bozos don’t want to lose any more voters, they end up paying everyone anyway. STILL A WASTE and PLAIN STOOOOOOPIDDD!!!
    whew, thanks for allowing a venue to VENT!
    Aren’t you glad you asked…LOL.

    nite nite

  19. Good points Mr. M! I didn’t hear that about Captain Phillips. It may influence my decision to see it. I know Hollywood distorts the facts but this…it’s pretty much rewriting history.

    I completely agree about the bikers. What else could the driver do? We have lots of violent crime over here but I’ve never seen biker problems like that!

    On the Capitol Hill Shooting, I am not surprised by the family’s reaction. I have lived in the Memphis area for nearly 30 years. I’m more surprised they didn’t yell racism!!!!! I would like to ask the family, baby daddy and the lady’s doctor why she still had custody of the kid? Andréa Yates was diagnosed with the same disorder (Postpartum depression with psychosis) and we know what happened with her kids. It’s a miracle the baby didn’t get killed. A miracle!

    Das: Are you almost healthy yet?

    We are heading to the Redneck Rivera (Pensacola, Fl) for a long weekend leaving Thursday. I plan to sit on the beach/read & maybe do a little jogging on the beach. Can’t wait!!!!!

  20. Captain Phillips
    I haven’t followed any of the scuttle-butt concerning this movie so all of my opinions on it are just me playing devil’s advocate on things I know nothing about! 🙂 1) Do all the former crew think he did wrong and caused his own problems? Or, is it a select few that are making the most noise and getting the attention? 2) Is it Captain Philips that wrote this movie? If not, we shouldn’t be surprised that Hollywood has taken liberty with the facts. They’ll try to make a movie out of anything these days. 3) If anything, I think the movie should be about the US military and the fantastic job they did to rescue the man. They are the true heroes in this.

    Just a bunch of assholes on bikes with a mob mentality. From what I hear from various reports and people that live in the NYC area, they do this every year. They will randomly block traffic so they can video tape their bike tricks on the open road. Fuck them guys.

    US Intervention
    Although far from perfect, I am very happy with the Military when they do things like this. If you attack and/or kill people I do not believe that you should be able to run to anywhere in the world and consider yourself safe from your life choices. And if you are harboring those fugitives, Fuck You. At the very least, those countries should be thanking us for removing the cancerous tumors from their society. If you don’t like it? Don’t Tread On Me.

    Capitol Hill
    She had her chance to surrender. She made the wrong choice(s). I am just very thankful the 1 year old child was unharmed. Of course, if the child had been harmed, there would be people that would blame the police for that too rather than the person ultimately responsible for this entire mess, the mother. You can’t predict crazy.

    Thanks Joe for the controversial topics. I feel you presented them well. You gave your opinions on the topics without being preachy and offensive. I don’t quite have that tact.

  21. I’m not trashing Canada because problems could have easily happened with an American company. I am asking why the U. S. government contracted a 55.7 million dollar project to another country?

    Oh and Pakistan had to known Bin Laden lived there. Money paves the way.

    End of rant…..

  22. I saw the mother of the guy that was run over in an interview today, and although I can imagine her pain (for her son), there’s no way in hell that he was innocent. All these jerks should be put away. Asshats! I agree with you on all of these, Joecito, so it’s really not that controversial, at least here. 🙂

  23. I agree with you on every count, Joe. Especially the bikers. I would really like to slap those bikers upside the head. My husband and I ride sportbikes and I can’t stand the way they give all motorcyclists a bad name. It’s a shame for the guy in the hospital but if he really wasn’t a part of that he should have just ridden away. His buddies were terrorizing that poor family.

  24. Congratulations to Carl.. thanks gforce.
    ~And as far as the controversial stuff,, lets just all chill and have some cake. Chocolate please…!

  25. Congratulations Mr. Binder! I do hope Echoes airs in the US on a non-premium channel so I can watch it. Yay!
    As to the controversial comments… motorcycles have always frightened me, I feel they’re overly loud, and are often seen squeezing between cars on the highways haphazardly.

    I’m currently so disgusted with nearly all the US Senators and US Representatives and the Executive branch right now, that I cannot write of it. My keyboard would scorch. Oh, okay… they are, a bunch of power drunk, egotistical, intransigent, selfish boobs … (waves through the smoking keyboard)

    I remember the newscasts at the time of the Maersk piracy and thought then, the captain was an idiot for going so close to the coast, where the pirates could reach his ship. I have not changed my mind and won’t see the film.

    Time for sleep, hopefully,

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