Tag Archives: Osama Bin Laden

Friday the 13th …

To be sure, we have all thought about the history of Friday the 13… right

just another rant …

 I think we have all used it as an excuse, but if you take everything our POTUS has had to address over the last eight years you hope that other superstition about everything happening in sevens is right around the corner.  The 114th and now the 115th Congress, controlled by Republicans meets less, holds more hearings all paid for by taxpayers, debates and votes on legislation that does NOT always support their constituents or their best interests. They are the epitome of what Friday the 13 is all about and while voters were warned, we had eight years of experiencing the wrath of the party of no … why? because people continue to stay home instead of exercising their right to vote … #MidTermsMatter

In addition, the 2017 calendar is giving us 2 Friday the 13ths which happens more often than not but reports are that our fellow Americans in the northeast apparently get more snow blizzards with extreme cold … which can lead to flooding, while the NW is experiencing more than enough rain to make up for some drought

We must all remember that this is not only disaster weather season it is also when Republicans go into full campaign mode.  We used to think that government is there when all else has failed.  The fact is the Party of No says one thing does another hoping the voter sees nothing.  Unfortunately, unlike the tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding that happens mostly Republican States, we see the disaster that seems atypical of the Republican Party of No. We all need to question those States with Republicans in control who have not in my opinion invested enough money or effort in making sure all their constituents are safe, have an emergency plan, a place to go or transportation to evacuate. Though, if you listen they want and advocate less government, less taxes, less debt, less spending unless their state needs money to plug their budgets or women who dare want need reproductive rights …  just a few of several examples of why in this election year people need to be more aware.

We all know a vote for Rand Paul is a vote for going back in time when a certain group treated Women and Minorities like things or inanimate objects. In fact, the current class and culture warfare is enough to see why we the People should not vote for any Republican until they stop the racism, discrimination and that family values platform that takes women back to a time when being seen but not heard and producing babies all the time was the norm. It is not a healthy way to live and all I have heard from Republicans are unhealthy attitudes toward women, gays, children, and people of colour, who they really want to control and or disenfranchise at the ballot box. We only have to look at the number of brown and black men in our jails and or prisons, who more often than not are charged excessively compared to white defendants.

I think we all agree that this has to be the worse time or moment to be President of the US yet, if folks would do their research, the improvements or changes are moving us into the right direction but change takes time.  Though we all heard about the meetings and requests for money from Wall Street and Banks by Republicans as reported by talking heads on cable or hearing Speaker Boehner made a visit and held a presser which showed him shaking hands with one if not both Koch brothers.

Speaking of Money, it is important to be reminded of the stimulus, which Republicans voted down but knew they were all going to get for “their” constituents anyway, gave out big checks and took credit for the money while bashing and stating the Obama Administration is spending excessively.  Who knew that Republican Governors would plug their budgets, give the stimulus to their “special interest groups”, or make big bold statements at ribbon cuttings. I guess it should have been obvious to us that Republicans had an agenda that included eliminating social programs or persons employed by the State or Federal government. They say the best middle class jobs are created by small business people but the fact is most are public service positions.  It is important to remind folks that Republicans say stop spending, stop entitlements and continue to be the Party of No while being pro-Wall Street, pro-Banks; maybe doing backroom deals or fund-raising with folks like the Koch bros for the upcoming elections; in spite of We the People.  The question is …why if in the right state of mind anyone would vote Republicans into Political Office in the upcoming midterms knowing that it will be bringing back the status quo. The change in 2014 means voting for members of Congress who will have the courage in this vile environment to put People before Profit and Party, at this moment it is a Democratic Party. We all know that did not happen so our next attempt to get the positive change we need is to vote for the Democratic Party all down the ballot in 2016.

In my utopia, among the obvious those wanting to be in public service would be required to believe in equal rights for everyone, true Reforms of entities that gamble while creating products meant to fail that impact or demolish our economy locally and globally.

Nevertheless, that is just my dream and ok, it’s Friday the 13th

a message from kathy of UCS …

UCS I’m writing because we had a big win since then—after an enormous outcry from UCS and other concerned citizens and groups, the Koch brothers have dropped their attempt to buy up eight major newspapers.

This is a huge victory, but we know the Kochs aren’t going away yet. Along with funding climate-denying front groups, they’re still trying to buy up media (a Koch spokesman said “Koch continues to have an interest in the media business and we’re exploring a broad range of opportunities…”). We’ll continue to keep a sharp eye on the Kochs’ activities and defend climate science at every step.  But we need your help and continued involvement. If you’d like to support our efforts, you can make a special gift to UCS now >>


Fight back against the Koch brothers

What do you do when you’re a billionaire and scientific facts about climate change can hurt your bottom line? You fund a massive network of disinformation. And if that doesn’t work, you try to buy some newspapers.

Oil tycoons Charles and David Koch are behind nearly every major effort to stall climate progress in the United States. They bankroll anti-science “think tanks”, pay “experts” to publish faulty reports—and now they’re trying to buy a chain of eight major newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.1

UCS members are fighting back—exposing Koch-funded “authorities” and sending thousands of letters to newspaper owners asking them not to sell to these ideologues. Our campaign has reached a fever pitch. Will you help?

Stand up for science and fight the Koch machine—donate today >>

It’s tough to even track all the ways Koch money permeates America’s dialogue on clean energy and climate change. But no one out there is doing a better job than UCS. And we’re not just tracking it. We’re doing something about it:

The Koch Brothers stop at nothing to undermine climate science and clean energy…     ~~ UCS members stop at nothing to defend them… ~~
Koch-funded campaigns attack progress on renewable energy in state after state—opposing solar development in Georgia and wind power in Ohio through misinformation campaigns, citing inaccurate statistics.2 ~~ UCS members give lawmakers the facts. Just this year, you’ve sent tens of thousands of letters that make the case for renewable energy—and we’re winning in state after state, including the Kochs’ home state of Kansas.3 ~~
The Koch Brothers bankroll anti-science “think tanks” like the Heartland Institute, infamous for its billboard campaign equating climate scientists with Osama bin Laden and the Unabomber.4 ~~ UCS exposes the money behind these groups—and publishes science-based reports, trusted by policymakers, that answer tough questions on global warming, extreme weather, nuclear safety, and agriculture.~~
They hire “experts” to distort science to protect their bottom line. A Koch-owned company was just taken to task for planting misinformation in scientific journals to hide a product’s cancer-causing risk.5 ~~ Our experts stand up for science in the media, in statehouses, and on Capitol Hill, correcting distorted science through interviews and testimony. ~~
They go after big media. The Kochs are looking to buy eight trusted papers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, where their influence could distort the truth about climate change and energy policy.6 ~~ UCS members hold a spotlight up to disinformation in the media. Together, we’ve exposed Fox News and The Wall Street Journal for their distorted coverage of climate science, and uncovered media outlets that fail to warn readers about conflicts of interest.7 ~~

The Koch Brothers will keep fighting until there’s no fight left. That’s how they operate.

There’s only one way to respond. When they distort the facts, we say so and tell the truth. When they lobby lawmakers, we flood offices with constituent calls and letters. When they try to hide their trail of influence and money, we shine a spotlight. When others duck, UCS members stand up, stand together, and fight back—with science on our side.

 This fight needs your support right now. Make a special gift today.

There’s no time to waste.

We got him …

White House
White House (Photo credit: HarshLight)

just another rant …

My first thoughts when we first heard the news of the elimination of Osama Bin Laden was a great relief. Then a need to clarify that “I” am not into war or killing but this person killed thousands of Americans as well as thousands of others all over the World in a ways that cannot be forgotten and while friend’s family and or co-workers cannot come back, it is with a great sigh of relief that at least one head of terror has been eliminated. The news that folks want to see the photo is odd in my opinion because it will not bring back anyone’s family member, why not just trust our government took care of the world’s worst criminal. I am not sure it translates into getting out of Afghanistan sooner than what our President has announced and since there are questions about how much Pakistan knew before our Navy SEALs eliminated Osama Bin Laden our military may need to stay longer.

War is easier to declare than end and the consequences even worse …. remind your favourite member of Congress

Though we have pulled most of our troops out of Iraq, there are still thousands serving and protecting on behalf of all Americans. We still have Corporations in the private and or public sector companies … still not hiring enough as our slow recovery takes shape, or have changed the rules by limiting the work available as well as redefining what part-time means or is. The Democratic Party was voted out of the majority in 2010. Unfortunately, We had far too many public servants with personal agendas, Republicans, Conservadems, Tea Party or Tea baggers, who were only a small group a while ago have been able to put a few in the US Congress after the midterm elections. I was unhappy then but now somewhat pleased because the current nasty rhetoric, almost negative and or competing exchanges among themselves are encouraging if not telling.  Teapublicans clearly used the lack of jobs; an unstable economy to win Election2010, the distraction won them the House but not the White House.  While we were all watching, waiting the truth slowly unfolded and folks who voted them into office saw the ugly Teapublican agenda, which is that they are going after President Obama instead of creating jobs or a better economy. We all know this group has very extreme ideas about what they will do when on the floor of Congress and while the voters decided to send a message to the folks on Capitol Hill I am still confused about what voting against your best interest does for anyone but make things even worse. I was upset about it and as a member of the Democratic Party; feel people need to take control over their own ability to get good information and dissect it to make intelligent choices. The loss of the House, the things we all wanted as Dems, libs and or progressives were put at risk by all the “anger votes” made me sick. I want to believe people truly had no idea what was at stake and treated the midterms as the no big deal state based elections as per usual.

The only problem is, 4.7% of Blacks Women and Gay voters decided to lean right. The fact is, the 2010midterm elections mattered and will continue to as long as the TeaParty & Republicans grab onto more control of local city state and federal levels. My first thought was outrage then confusion that folks who usually support sometimes need support from the Government vote against their best interest. Only time will tell how much we all will suffer or for how long.

If that lean to the right in 2010 was a tantrum, you have to admit at some point that this is childish behavior. I would also say people need to stop whining and understand the governing process because if not we all will suffer for it and how selfish could someone be to hold their vote hostage or vote right of center just because they are angry is not only offensive but makes me wonder how American is that.

I will never understand anyone willing to vote against his or her best interests.

President Obama on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

If you missed it , you should take a few minutes to watch President Obama‘s address to the nation about our policy in Afghanistan:

The President’s address marks a major turning point in a nearly decade-long conflict. He announced his plan to start withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan next month, fulfilling a promise he made a year and a half ago to begin the drawdown this summer.

  To put it simply: when this president took office, there were 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the combat mission in Iraq has ended, Afghanistan will be fully responsible for its own security by 2014, and there will be fewer than 100,000 American troops in the two countries by the end of this year.

  As President Obama decisively concludes two long-running wars, he is refocusing our foreign policy to more effectively address the threats we face and strengthen America‘s leadership in the world as we do.

  I’m writing to you because this transformation has already begun to reshape the policy debate — foreign and domestic — in the 2012 election. As the President said last night: “It is time to focus on nation building here at home.”

 The outcome of this debate will have consequences for all of us, so it’s important that you understand the policy and help inform the conversation.

  You can read the President’s remarks below, or watch the address on the White House website here:




  Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

June 22, 2011
8:01 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Nearly 10 years ago, America suffered the worst attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor. This mass murder was planned by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, and signaled a new threat to our security — one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives.

In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But al Qaeda’s leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent al Qaeda and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.

For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on al Qaeda, to reverse the Taliban’s momentum, and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country. I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this July.

Tonight, I can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment. Thanks to our extraordinary men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. As a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.

 We’re starting this drawdown from a position of strength. Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11. Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda’s leadership. And thanks to our intelligence professionals and Special Forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. One soldier summed it up well. “The message,” he said, “is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.”

 The information that we recovered from bin Laden’s compound shows al Qaeda under enormous strain. Bin Laden expressed concern that al Qaeda had been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that had been killed, and that al Qaeda has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam — thereby draining more widespread support. Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks. But we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.

 In Afghanistan, we’ve inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of its strongholds. Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the country. Afghan security forces have grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces and municipalities we’ve already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people. In the face of violence and intimidation, Afghans are fighting and dying for their country, establishing local police forces, opening markets and schools, creating new opportunities for women and girls, and trying to turn the page on decades of war.

 Of course, huge challenges remain. This is the beginning — but not the end — of our effort to wind down this war. We’ll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we’ve made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government. And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.

 We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and security forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban. Our position on these talks is clear: They must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be a part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan constitution. But, in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made.

 The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: No safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. We won’t try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures — one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.

 Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war-torn region. We’ll work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keeps its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.

 My fellow Americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. We’ve learned anew the profound cost of war — a cost that’s been paid by the nearly 4,500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and the over 1,500 who have done so in Afghanistan — men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended. Thousands more have been wounded. Some have lost limbs on the battlefield, and others still battle the demons that have followed them home.

 Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way. We’ve ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.

 As they do, we must learn their lessons. Already this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America’s engagement around the world. Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extended, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.

 We must chart a more centered course. Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force — but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we’re doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their own destiny.

 In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power — it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We’re a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab world. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.

 Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource — our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.

 America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

 In this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow Americans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you, and provide you with the care and benefits and opportunity that you deserve.

 I met some of these patriotic Americans at Fort Campbell. A while back, I spoke to the 101st Airborne that has fought to turn the tide in Afghanistan, and to the team that took out Osama bin Laden. Standing in front of a model of bin Laden’s compound, the Navy SEAL who led that effort paid tribute to those who had been lost — brothers and sisters in arms whose names are now written on bases where our troops stand guard overseas, and on headstones in quiet corners of our country where their memory will never be forgotten. This officer — like so many others I’ve met on bases, in Baghdad and Bagram, and at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital — spoke with humility about how his unit worked together as one, depending on each other, and trusting one another, as a family might do in a time of peril.

 That’s a lesson worth remembering — that we are all a part of one American family. Though we have known disagreement and division, we are bound together by the creed that is written into our founding documents, and a conviction that the United States of America is a country that can achieve whatever it sets out to accomplish. Now, let us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story. With confidence in our cause, with faith in our fellow citizens, and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of America — for this generation, and the next.

 May God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America.

Culture:The Political Meaning Behind Summer Blockbusters

This summer’s blockbuster movies may be escapism, but they’re powerful expressions of major trends in American politics. Movies as diverse as Sam Raimi’s foreclosure horror flick DragMetoHell and Adam McKay’s financial melt down cop comedy The Other Guys have explored the rage and helplessness of an economy that may be altered forever. James Cameron’s science-fiction epic Avatar sparked as many, if not more, environmental debates than Al Gore‘s An Inconvenient Truth. And, Hollywood director Michael Bay sought out the Defense Department’s cooperation when he started making his Transformers movies, the third of which arrives in theaters on June 29, and switches American troops from fighting Afghans and Iraqis to fighting giant robots, symbolically referencing the human cost of our ongoing wars. Rather than trying to escape politics in our entertainment, it’s time to embrace them. In the next few months, a trio of superhero movies is poised to exploit post-bin Laden American triumphalism. In the midst of our sluggish economic recovery, a new crop of comedies are poised to help audiences adjust their economic expectations. And the most controversial education reform movie since Waiting for Superman stars Cameron Diaz. We may think we’re seeking mindless entertainment when we buy tickets to an action movie or a romantic comedy, but those films are both the product of our politics and an expression of them. Welcome to The Progress Report’s progressive guide to summer movie season.

OLD ENEMIES AND NEW ONES: In future summers, we’ll see an explosion of action movies based on Osama bin Laden‘s death. Kathryn Bigelow, director of the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker, was already working on a movie about an attempt on Bin Laden’s life when President Obama announced that the terrorist had been killed. Universal green litan adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s memoir about his service as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. And Disney’s moved to trade mark the term “Seal Team 6,” locking up the name of the squad that got Bin Laden, now a valuable bit of intellectual property. But this year, superhero movies are turning back to old enemies, and to conflicts where the exercise of American power was decidedly less complicated than it is now. Captain America: The First Avenger, due out on July 22, is an origin story, but it’s also very much a period piece, a high-gloss flashback to World War II. Captain America will fight terrorists in that movie, but terrorists who are acting as agents of the Nazistate under the command of the Red Skull, a super villain who, according to some origin stories, was recruited by Hitler himself. Unlike Tony Stark, who has to destroy a terrorist cell who kidnapped him while avoiding civilian casualties so he can keep the allegiance of Afghan citizens, Captain America won’t be required to show much restraint. Similarly, X-Men: FirstClass goes back to the ’60s to bring its titular mutant heroes together for the first time. The X-Men aren’t agents of the government — in fact, they’re precisely the opposite, a group of people whose extraordinary abilities make them despised rather than prized, and whose struggle to figure out if they should assimilate into society or withdraw in it is a major metaphor for gay rights. But in this origin story, the characters have a chance to earn their spurs as heroes and a place in mainstream America by acting as a fail-safe for President Kennedy when his brinksmanship on the Cuban Missile Crisis goes awry. By contrast, Michael Bay’s Transformer: Dark of the Moon, is dipping into more contemporary politics. The movie is relying on American distaste for Julian Assange and Wikileaks — as well on the rather contradictory pleasure of watching our major cities get destroyed on-screen — to power a script in which giant robots try to bring down the United States government by revealing state secrets.

ON ECONOMY, LAUGH OR CRY: While our foreign policy plays out on a super heroic scale this summer, a new spate of comedies suggests that we’d better buck up about the economy, because we’re stuck with its hardships. The people who get hit by hard times in these movies range up and down the economic spectrum. In a subplot of the ensemble wedding comedy Jumping the Broom, economic issues create strain for a couple rushing to the altar. In Bridesmaids, comedian Kristin Wiig’s Annie is a failed entrepreneur, working in a jewelry store after her bakery became a victim of the downturn, taking with it her boyfriend and business partner. And at the lower end of the scale, Tom Hanks is a big-box store veteran who loses not just his chance for a promotion but his job because he doesn’t have a college degree in LarryCrowne, which opens on July 1. All of these movies mine the indignities of economic disasters for laughs, sometimes uncomfortable ones. The pretensions of the wealthy family in Jumping the Broom often make them look ridiculous. Losing her life savings propels Annie into sharing a house with two deeply strange roommates and into a job at a jewelry store where she subtly undermines her love bird customers. And the pursuit of his degree places Larry in a community college that makes Community’sGreendale look almost legitimate by comparison. That humor aims to make the recession bearable. But these movies also take a hopeful tack, recasting hardship as an opportunity to revitalize your soured relationship with your husband, win back your shattered personal and professional confidence, or build the life you always wanted on a foundation of a used motorbike, clothes out of the back of a truck, and a romance with a burned-out speech professor. It’s the comedy of resignation, using humor to acclimate us to changes in our economic expectations that on some days seem worrisomely permanent. The exception is Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses, due out on July 8, which suggests that if you’re stuck in a job where your employer forces you to drink so he can cast you as an alcoholic, makes you discriminate against your coworkers, or you’re being sexually harassed by Jennifer Aniston, offing your supervisor may be your only option, but though the solution’s less uplifting, the desperation is the same. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

THE BIG ISSUES: And while studios normally save their big, pointed issue movies for the winter Oscar-bait season, sometimes a few sneak into the summer lineup — however unintentionally. Bad Teacher, in theaters on June 24, may be the first dark sex comedy built around standardized testing. Cameron Diaz, a burned-out teacher, seizes on the idea that breast implants are her ticket to marriage to Justin Timberlake, a wealthy man who has chosen to teach rather than go into his family’s business. Her plan to get the money? Winning a bonus awarded to the teacher whose students do best on a state achievement test. Whether Bad Teacher ends up being ammunition against testing, an argument against merit pay, or just another step forward for the burgeoning women’s raunch-comedy movement remains an open question. And coming out on the same day, and in loose sync with President Obama’s renewed call for immigration reform, is Chris Weitz‘s ABetterLife, which follows a man trying to build a landscaping business in Los Angeles while avoiding the constant risk of deportation. Weitz’s last project was vampire phenomenon Twilight: New Moon, and he’s never been involved in an explicitly political project before. But his grandmother is a Mexican immigrant, and if Weitz can sell an immigration reform drama to the Twilight fan base, it could be the summer’s best piece of pop activism.