The following is an unedited statement by the American Small Business League:
Congressman Sam Graves
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO) have been named by the American Small Business League (ASBL) as the most anti-small business members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The ASBL points to the fact that Rep. Velazquez and Rep. Graves have worked for years to dismantle federal small business programs and divert billions in federal contract dollars earmarked for small businesses to billionaire venture capitalists and their syndicates. Both representatives have also given tacit approval for the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants by refusing to back legislation that would prevent Fortune 500 companies from hijacking federal small business contracts.
The ASBL estimates that every year tens of billions of dollars worth of federal small business contracts are diverted to firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BlackWater, Home Depot, John Deere, Apple Inc., Rolls-Royce and Italian defense firm Finmeccanica, which has 75,000 employees and over $30 billion annual revenue.
In 2005, report 5-15 from the Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General referred to the diversion of federal small business contracts as "one of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today."
For the last seven consecutive years the SBA Inspector General has named the diversion of federal small business contracts as the agency's "top management challenge" yet both Rep. Graves and Rep. Velazquez have blocked legislation (H.R. 3184, "The Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act") that would prevent corporate giants from hijacking billions of dollars worth of federal contracts reserved for small businesses.
"Let's look at the facts," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. "America is in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 80 years; we know from the U.S. Census Bureau that small businesses create 90 percent of net new jobs; and that directing federal infrastructure dollars to America's 28 million small businesses is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy and create jobs -- but Reps. Graves and Velazquez are instead trying to dismantle all federal small business programs. These two representatives are prime examples of why Congress has such record low approval."
Nowadays, the James Bond movie franchise resembles little the Bond of the '60s...the ones based on the Ian Fleming novels that were touted by President Kennedy in an Esquire magazine interview.
Can you imagine the reviews "Goldfinger" would receive today? Bond figures out the entire scheme while sipping Mint Juleps outside of Baltimore. (Right there that's a continuance problem since Baltimore is the home of The Preakness and their drink that nobody drinks is the "Black Eyed Susan".) The major conflict between hero and villain occurs over the brand of golf balls they're playing and a guy who throws a fedora at statues to make a point. Sure, it had Pussy Galore but those were the '60s, maaan. Today, even if you casted Khloe Cardashian in the role of Lois Lane, Superman would still get panned. Even if you casted Johnny Depp as Tonto...er...wait...never mind.
But then, for no apparent reason at all, Sean Connery teamed up with a studio and shot a counterfeit Bond movie in the early '80s entitled "Never Say Never Again". Connery, as most reading this (according to Google you are more than likely over 36, have a college education, own a home and have an ip address), was the original actor portraying Bond on the silver screen. Most (according to most) consider him to be the best of all the subsequent actors to portray him in what has become the longest serial in movie history.
The movie kinda sucked in that Connery seemed a bit conflicted at the time. He was in that awkward age range where he was still kind of clinging to the hope he'd be seen as virile enough to be a Bond but wizened enough to portray a Bond that was past his prime BUT still able to score a smoking hot 20-something Kim Bassinger.
But, to be fair and balanced, as so many news organizations are wont to do, he also rode a rocket-cycle, had a Trav-L-Bar stocked with Russian vodka, fois fras and caviar, and a Molt Blanc that could kill you while he pretended to write a letter. He also played a high stakes video game that shocked the loser's hand and paid out $50k for a win.
Connery's Bond ultimately won the game out (natch) but he gave up the purse for just one flamenco dance with Bassinger's alarmingly alarming "Domino" character. Her boyfriend agrees to the terms and later attempts to sell her at a hastily arranged slave auction that was steeped in tradition.
History is soooo boring. Let's see if Downton Abbey is on instead.
Anyway, the movie -- discounting the fact that I apparently remember every last detail of it -- failed for several reasons.
First, there was the whole "how can you top your first act?" thing. It's not like you can just throw on some makeup and a toupee and compete with your legacy.
Ok...maybe that's not the best example.
Secondly, how can you have a Bond movie without the 007 theme song? Because this was a renegade film that was made due to some Hollywood back-lot shenanigans that typically end up with a dead horse in your bed or films like "Never Say Never Again" or, even more tragically, an "Earnest" movie.
And seriously, I don't even want to know what sort of sickening things Jim Varney subjected himself to in order to get the funding for those movies. It's one thing to suffer for your art form but another thing to make everyone else suffer because you suffered and handed in a finger painting at the end of the day. I mean, come on...there are limits.