WTF Joe Manchin?

At the end of the end, voters want our politicians to represent us. We rely on them to take care of the macro details of running the country so we can deal with the micro issues that come up in our daily lives.

Last week, Senator Joe Manchin publicly rejected the Build Back Better bill, leaving the White House in shock and this once-in-a-lifetime piece of legislation hanging in the balance.

What I don’t get is why he said no. His home state of West Virginia ranks at the bottom or near the bottom of the various rankings when compared to other states. If I was him, I would do everything in my power to raise those numbers.

As I understand it, this bill is supposed to address kitchen table issues that affect all of us. It’s making sure that parents can both put a roof over their children’s heads and feed them properly. It’s helping senior citizens living on a fixed income to pay for their medication while being able to afford their other bills. This is not a hard concept to understand.

Adding insult to injury, he claimed that low-income parents would use the money from the child tax credits to buy drugs. This statement is both offensive and wrong, in addition to a generalization that condemns an entire group of Americans simply based on their paychecks.

I know that I have no stake in how the people of West Virginia vote. But I am deeply concerned that this one individual is holding the nation hostage and preventing the government from supporting the people as it ought to.


Being the Ricardos Movie Review

I Love Lucy is one of those television programs we have all seen. The antics of wannabe performer Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) have kept audiences howling with laughter for seventy years.

The new movie, Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, is a biopic that takes audiences into one turbulent week of the personal and professional lives of Ball (Nicole Kidman) and her then-husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem). While trying to go through the weekly process of putting together a show, issues in Ball and Arnaz’s home lives complicate matters. Lucy is pregnant again and trying to figure out how this change will be worked into the program, if at all. She also suspects that her husband is (again) cheating on her. To make matters infinitely worse, the McCarthy witch hunts have accused her of being a communist. If these allegations are proven true, everything that Lucy and Desi have worked for will be destroyed.

When I originally saw the trailer, I thought that Debra Messing would have been a better choice to play Lucille Ball. I was wrong. Kidman is fantastic in the role. We mostly see the woman behind the iconic role with snippets of her on-screen persona. She is tough, driven, intelligent, and able to succeed in a world dominated by men. Bardem is as close to the real Arnaz as this biopic could have gotten. He does not look like Arnaz, but the spirit of the man and his work is evident in Bardem’s transformation.

One thing that I greatly appreciated is the conversation between Ball and co-writer Madelyn Pugh (Alia Shawkat). Pugh points out that Lucy Ricardo is often infantilized, needing Ricky’s permission as if she was his daughter and not his spouse. The character is both a product of her era and an early feminist, pushing boundaries in a time when the ideal life of a woman was that of a wife and mother.

My main issue is not that Sorkin took liberties with the timeline of events. He is not the first and will not be the last screenwriter to do so. It is that this film is not as good as it could have been. It started to drag in at about the 2/3rds mark. By that point, I was starting to get a little antsy. Is this film entertaining and engaging? I would say so. Is it spectacular? No.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Being the Ricardos is in theaters and available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

%d bloggers like this: