According to the Constitution: Designated Survivor, Episodes 3 & 4, review

Back in 2005, Geena Davis starred as the President of the United States in Commander in Chief, safely qualifying her as America’s first PILF.

Sorry, I’ve been sitting on that joke since at least 2013.

The real hook of the series was the fact that it portrayed a female POTUS, which at the time was still considered the fantastic stuff of legends, and not something that’ll happen in a little over a week’s time if the entire United States doesn’t have a lobotomy and think electing a racist orange would be a good idea.

Anyway yes, female President. But the odd thing about that show was how she came to power. No, she wasn’t elected by the people of America. She’s Vice President when the President dies, and inherits the position. Because obviously the American people would never elect a woman, that’d just be ridiculous! They’d be too concerned with her menstrual cycle…

That was sarcasm by the way.

But before her predecessor kicks the bucket, as he’s lying on his deathbed, he asks her to resign because he does not want her to become President.

Now, you’re thinking this is probably legit, because he’s the President, and it’s his wish, and he should be allowed to choose his successor, etc., etc.. However, if she does step down, the Speaker of the House would become President, played by Donald Sutherland, and he’s a sexist dickhead. So she refused.

Halfway through the series, this information comes out, and the public starts calling for her resignation. How dare she remain President when the last President didn’t want her. But then she comes out with what I believe is technically termed a ‘mic drop’: Constitutionally, the President had no right to ask her to resign, and if she did step down it would’ve been a betrayal to the American people who elected her as their Vice President.

BOOM!

And that’s the interesting thing about government operations. For the most part you can’t just fire someone, unless they’re a lower-level civil servant or something. Even the President of the United States can’t do it. The only thing they can do is ask the person to resign, with the key word being ‘ask’. They can’t be forced to resign unless blackmail gets involved. I might be oversimplifying here by the way. But the point is, the President of the United States can’t fire the Vice President or any member of the Cabinet. They just don’t have that right, especially once the person is elected by the public or confirmed by the legislature. Though if they do try to fire the person, it would be quite odd to then appoint the person as designated survivor, don’t you agree?

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Continuity of Government: Designated Survivor, Episodes 1 & 2, review

I have a morbid fascination with the worst-case scenario. When something horrible happens, what happens next? This is the reason I love disaster films like Pacific Rim, 2012, Independence Day, Godzilla (the 1954 original), Godzilla (the 1998 crap-shoot), The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, and Contagion; because that’s when interesting things happen. Oh sure, all these films are far-fetched, but that’s why they’re so interesting, because they’re scenarios which we’re unlikely to prepare for. So if they did happen, how the people react and how the world reacts can reveal much about the world we live in.

Take Pacific Rim for example. Giant monsters start stampeding through major cities around the world. At first, we convince ourselves they’re isolated incidents, but after the fourth attack, we start to see the pattern. In response, we start building giant robots to fight them off because we’ve watched too much anime.

Actually, I’ve argued this to a few friends before. In this scenario, giant robots make a bizarre amount of sense because the alternatives are guns and bombs. And really, what would you do if you were fighting a human being? Throw a few needles at their legs, throw a firecracker in their face (which is likely to just piss them off), or grab them in a headlock and punch them in the face twelve times? Obviously the last one. Scale this up, and you have the bloody Jaeger program.

But eventually, the program doesn’t seem to be that effective. The solution? Build a wall, because that’ll stop the stampeding monsters. They each weigh around 3,000 tons! Unless the wall’s constructed from solid vibranium, what are the odds that it’ll hold up if a Kaiju so much as leans on it? But it’s at this stage that the world is panicking. They’re almost certain that the end of the world is upon them, so they try whatever they can to survive, even if it’s futile.

In contrast our heroes decide the most rational response is one final attack at the source of the invasion. Something they tried before and failed. So why they thought it would work this time is beyond me. But they are also panicking. Realizing the world’s coming to an end, one last attack, one last blaze of glory is all they’re after.

This is interesting. This is how they react when the end is nigh. With nothing left to lose, they try whatever they can think of to hold off the end, hold onto hope, and hold onto sanity. The one thing they don’t want to do is give up.

But this is a scenario that humanity is unprepared for, and we’d be insane to prepare for it. It’s so far-fetched that it’s not even worth considering as a potential issue. But there are other, slightly less horrible and slightly more plausible scenarios that we could plan for; and we have.

During the Cold War, the worst-case scenario was real possibility: Nuclear war. Everyone thought it would be almost inevitable, with both America and the Soviet Union continually glaring and each other, and fighting proxy wars all over the planet, that eventually someone would take it just a bit too far and trigger a war that would result in millions dead, and half the planet rendered uninhabitable.

And they planned for it.

They planned for everything. What if the war started, and the President wasn’t near a phone? Well, he had the Nuclear Football, allowing him to launch a counter-strike from anywhere in the world. Dark.

But what about after? What would happen after the bombs dropped, and the President and Vice President didn’t survive? Who would lead America? Well thankfully, there are plans for that as well. There are two members of the legislature, as well as the entire US Cabinet, eligible to take up the presidency, if anyone above them is unable to. The technical term for this is the line of succession, and virtually every country has this kind of thing enshrined in law. But in the US that’s only 18 people. If all them are gone, which is likely in a nuclear war, there’s no one left. If they all die, no one can take up the presidency, not without being elected and that takes time. So, how do we prevent this? Yes, they planned for that too. You see, during any event where the President of the United States, the Vice President, and everyone else in the line of succession are in the same room, at the same time, one is excused, brought to a secret location, given a full Secret Service detail, and in the event that something horrible happens, they are elevated to the presidency.

They are known as the designated survivor.

But would this ever actually happen? Probably not. But what if it did? How would America react? How would the world react? And how would their new President react?

Kinda like that…

Yes, in the new series, Designated Survivor, Keifer Sutherland plays the designated survivor… then the President of the United States, and the last surviving official of the US federal government. And that’s just the first three minutes. Continue reading

Another Part of Them: Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 4 review

What is a human being capable of?

That seemed to be an underlying theme during the first series of Broadchurch.

“Anybody’s capable of this murder, given the right circumstances.” – Alec Hardy

But was he right? Is anyone capable of murder? Most people have limits, lines they would never cross, which is something I talked about before. Unless you’re a sociopath, there are just some things you never do, whatever the circumstances.

But what if those circumstances involved your life being at risk? Or the life of someone you loved? I think many people would end one life, to protect another they genuinely cared about.

That was probably what Hardy was referring to. Perhaps the murder occurred because someone’s life was at risk. But Danny was just a kid. I highly doubt he could end up in such a murderous rage that a mere bop across the bonce wouldn’t have stopped him. So maybe what he really meant was that anyone could commit murder, even if their reasons are minor and irrational. Even if it’s something as spurious as: this kid’s going to reveal my darkest secret. And I’m not too sure about that. I don’t think anyone, with any moral compass whatsoever, would ever kill an 11-year-old kid.

But in that case, how does one explain the series finale? Continue reading

Blaming the Blameless: Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 3 review

I think Broadchurch has gotten weird.

This might have something to do with the various mysteries we’ve seen brought up on the show. So many questions need to be answered, and I assume once we get the answers this entire show will make a lot more sense. It’s like Lost. Actually, that’s a bad example isn’t it? Because on that show, the answers were more confusing than the questions. For instance, the Black Smoke Monster, strange yet interesting in itself. But what is it? Nanotech? Some type of flying machine with built-in fog camo or hologram? No, turns out it was a thousand-year-old ghost! Okay, now you’re just fucking with us, you bastards!

Thankfully, Broadchurch isn’t Lost. So, I don’t think any answer we get on this show will be as weird as that.

Still, it is getting weird, and not just because of the mysteries. Some of the character’s actions have gotten frankly bizarre in recent episodes, and I have no idea why. Continue reading

A Million Little Mistakes: Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 2 review

So, as we all know, the first series of Broadchurch was all about secrets. Everyone in the show had a dark secret and each of them were revealed over the course of the show, culminating with the reveal that a familiar character was a murdering bastard!

So what’s the theme of the new series? Not sure yet.

The first episode didn’t have much to work with. All it did was set up future plot points. I guess one could argue it was about returns and resurrections. The phoenix rising from the ashes. That kind of thing.

We have Hardy, making a return to an old case; We have Ellie returning to Broadchurch as a kick ass cop; We have murdering prick trying to make a return to freedom; We have the two lawyers, each making a return to court after a prolonged absence; and it ends with Danny making a return from being buried in a grave.

No, he didn’t turn into a zombie, that’s another show.

But the second episode doesn’t share that theme, at least, as far as I can see. It appears last week’s episode of Broadchurch follows a completely different theme: Mistakes, and either accepting the consequences, or fixing the damage.

(Once again, don’t read this if you haven’t caught up on series one of Broadchurch.) Continue reading

Some Other Beginning’s End: Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 1 review

Well, Happy 2015, everyone! And as another year goes by, it’s time we set the previous year ablaze in a hateful effigy.

After all, we had Ebola, Oscar Pistorius getting off, Scotland declaring dependence, Syria going to shit, those girls in Nigeria, Cliven Bundy, Turkey banning Twitter, Heartbleed, that weird moment when bronies were accused of harbouring pedophiles (turns out it was bullshit), that nutter in Santa Barbara, the shithead cops in Ferguson, the shithead cops in Cleveland, the shooting in Ottawa, North Korea hacking Sony, Robin Williams dying, fucking GamerGate, and motherfucking ISIS!

It’s been a shit year all told, and I’m glad it’s finally over! And me, being the eternal optimist that I am, I’m hoping this means society is on the upswing and things will only get better. We can assume the recent bullshit in France is a fluke.

But I have no idea! So I guess the only thing to do is hope for the best and prepare your nuclear fallout shelters, just in case. You know, they might come in handy.

Now, if only, the Latimers thought of that, then the events of the last week’s episode of Broadchurch wouldn’t have come as such a shock to them!

Before we continue, I’d just like to say, if you haven’t seen the finale of Broadchurch series one, stop reading now. Oh, don’t give me something about, ‘uh, I’m not going to watch that show.’ No, watch it, now! The first series was fantastic, and you need to watch it! And as I cover the new series, I’ll be ruining the first. So let’s get rolling.

Oh, yeah, I’m going to be covering the new series of Broadchurch… shocked? Continue reading

It’s All Secrets and Lies!: Broadchurch Series 1 and Gracepoint review

I have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a small town. And there are two reasons for this.

For starters, I didn’t grow up in a single town. I grew up in two, and neither of them were particularly small. But neither of them were ‘big’ either. I’d say there were about medium.

Sault Ste. Marie was a nice enough little border town, twinned with its American neighbour. I remember once getting a kick out of doing a bit of ‘international travelling’ over my lunch break, because my mother decided we’d have lunch across the border. It seemed almost surreal. And Sault Ste. Marie was also a major port of call across the Great Lakes, connecting Superior to Huron. So it had enough of an industry, specifically the giant steelworks that you’d get a great view of while travelling over the international bridge, which gave the town a sizable population. And it was big enough that you couldn’t possibly know everyone. But it was also too small to have anything interesting going on. I’m remember we had a museum, but I also remember that I lived in houses that were bigger than that thing. I also remember I lived in a lot of houses.

Then, when I was around 11, craziness happened and I moved to Sudbury. A much larger town, with much more going on, including a very large science centre that I used to spend entire days at. But it also had much less sophistication. A real hick town. I blame the mines.

And now, I live in the big city! Oshawa! Part of the GTA (apparently)! And I actually like it here. My only wish was that it was easier to get around. If only I didn’t melt my car last year.

But I’ve passed through small towns, and I’ve met people who’ve lived in them, so I know they exist.

You know what I mean by ‘small town’ right? One main/high street where every business is located, surrounded by side streets filled with houses, one or two schools, and a church because every town needs one apparently. And with such a small population, it’s like the Cheers bar grew and mutated to 100 times its original size.

You know the Cheers bar right? You’ve seen Cheers… Where everybody knows your naaaaame… Right?

Anyway, it’s a place where everyone knows everyone. It’s peaceful, and quaint, and nothing bad ever happens. Or at least, that’s the stereotype, init?

In our culture, small towns are romanticized. They’re quaint little places, with tightly knit communities, and where everyone can trust anyone, and the biggest possible crisis would be the time when Mrs. Fielding found out she might not have enough yeast for the bake sale.

But is that accurate? Probably. But in even in the land of sugar and friendship, they got a few bad apples, so it’s likely that even in the coziest of small towns, you have a few pieces of rotten fruit. Perhaps not apples, but some type of plant-matter. But even then, exactly how bad can it get?

The murder of an eleven-year-old boy… Well, that’s pretty bad.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Broadchurch. Continue reading

SheRow

Here’s some advice to partisan pundits and political nut jobs of all stripes:

Stop!!!

Just fucking stop, please!

It’s incredible. I find it incredible, that everything is now politicised at the drop of a motherfucking hat.

There is a trial in Florida now, that’s currently ongoing. You might know which one I’m talking about: The George Zimmerman case.

Here are the facts: Neighbourhood Watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, spotted Trayvon Martin walking… somewhere. He called the police, started following the kid, and eventually shot him.

That’s all we know, and that leaves a lot of gaps.

It’s possible Martin triggered an altercation that forced Zimmerman to shoot the kid in self-defence. It’s also possible Zimmerman’s a cold-blooded killer. I don’t know.

No one knows. Two people know, and unfortunately, one of them’s dead. And now Zimmerman is on trial, trying to prove he acted in self-defense.

But this happens. Sometimes people are killed, and the assailant is tried for murder. It happens all the time. Yet for some reason, this story became national news, and the others did not. Why? Because Trayvon Martin was black.

Yes, because the victim had higher-than-average melanin levels, this somehow became national news! People across the U.S. are accusing the man of racism!

And it might be true. But I don’t care. Because whether or not it is, it doesn’t prove anything. Whatever result the jury gives back will only mean something to Zimmerman, and Trayvon Martin’s friends and family.

However, according to the news media, this is a battle between Law and Order, and Civil Rights. Yeah, it’s not, it’s just some shitty reality TV show.

You see, there’s this knee jerk reaction to try to find the political angle in every event. And it gets really disgusting when people try to politicize something as innocent as children’s media.

Recently, a new cartoon show entered the television landscape. It’s about a superhero, in a dress, named SheZow!

SheZow is the hero all little girls want to be! Powerful, beautiful, and with charm to spare!

Now one could argue that SheZow is not exactly the best role-model for girls. After all, SheZow’s powers are derived from the colour pink, and the silkiness of her hair; plus all of SheZow’s ‘gadgets’ are weapons and tools disguised as cosmetics of all things, ala James Bond.

A walking stereotype is probably not the type of role model you want to show to an impressionable young woman. But that’s not the source of the major sociopolitical upheaval we’re dealing with here.

No, the big issue here is that SheZow is actually a guy. SheZow is television’s first transgendered superhero. About fucking time! Continue reading