Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Vicious Brothers Debut "Extraterrestrial"

The Vicious Brothers (Grave Encounters) are back to scare the bejesus out of everyone with their new film titled Extraterrestrial.

This one combines the elements of horror and sci-fi and stars everyone’s favorite — Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Terminator Salvation, Starship Troopers).

Still reeling from her parent’s divorce, April (Emmy winner Brittany Allen) is dragged back to the vacation cabin where she spent fond summers as a child. She is accompanied by a group of friends, however, her trip down memory lane takes a dramatic and terrifying turn when a fireball descends from the sky and explodes in the nearby woods. The group, led by April’s boyfriend, venture out toward the explosion only to find what appears to be the remnants of a ship from another planet along with footprints that suggests its alien occupants are still alive. The college friends soon find themselves caught in the middle of something bigger and more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine.

The film co-stars Freddie Stroma (the Harry Potter films, Pitch Perfect), Gil Bellows (The Shawshank Redemption, House at the End of the Street), Jesse Moss (Final Destination 3), Melanie Papalia (Smiley), Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps Trilogy), Sean Rogerson (Grave Encounters) and Anja Savcic (I Love You Beth Cooper).

Extraterrestrial is available on VOD and will make its theatrical debut on November 21, 2014.

Phone Tree Economy

I’m sure you’ve had the same experience: calling a large bureaucratic entity and getting trapped in a never-ending phone tree. Press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 7 for this, press 4 for that—sometimes the numbers aren’t even told in order. Personally, I can’t stand it. After 2 or 3 tries, I’m done.

In the name of organization and efficiency, some large bureaucracies avoid dealing with you directly. Cumbersome phone trees are one consequence of entities that grow very large and lose touch, perhaps by design. While this might be measurably efficient, the short-term gain is offset by decreased loyalty and diminished customer relations. On a deeper level this is symptomatic of a larger negative dynamic in the economy that is worth some examination.

These days economic wellbeing is on everyone’s mind. There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety, even some hopelessness, in our uncertain times. While the stock market has rebounded from the financial crisis and corporate profits have soared, many families face downward mobility, decreased opportunity, the feeling of disenfranchisement, and the inability to achieve financial security.

Part of the problem is our country’s damaged micro-enterprise sector—the entrepreneurial space where most jobs are created. According to certain measures, America is now losing more than 100,000 small business jobs a year among shops that employ one to five people.

Research has determined two main causes for the decline: regulations and health care. The complexity of entering the marketplace has depressed the ability of smaller entities to take risks and open opportunities. While reasonable regulations are necessary for safety and wellbeing, burdensome regulations force out small businesses by unfairly tilting the playing field to large bureaucracies and disrupt basic initiatives that reinforce the ideals of an economic community. Clearly larger entities are necessary for economies of scale that deliver certain types of goods, but when corporations are too big to fail, they are sometimes too big to succeed. The social dimension of the market suffers when companies are too large to care.

Fortunately, micro-economies and economies of scale are not mutually exclusive. Markets are enriched when larger businesses are embedded in communities and embrace local responsibility.

In Lincoln, an innovative startup that grew into a great success has retained its interpersonal and communal values. Now serving customer needs across the country, the company’s headquarters remains in the Haymarket, where it has triggered a small startup boom. By way of example, the company each day offers its young entrepreneurs the opportunity to eat lunch together. Instead of dispersing and possibly losing energy and focus, employees join one another for a shared meal.

Our country needs a new 21st century vision of economic success. Benign competition with a robust small business sector creates the conditions for sustainable dynamism. A humane economy that prioritizes personal relationships and community ties fosters stronger entrepreneurialism and forges better consumer products. Just as a healthy society and self-responsibility are preconditions for prosperity, properly ordered markets support social cohesion. Markets at their best are driven by startup innovation and sustained by widespread ownership. The return of small businesses within a new participatory economy can extend the dignity and just rewards of meaningful work to all, fight poverty, and help us rebuild the country.

ABOUT the AUTHOR:

JEFF FORTENBERRY has served as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. He is the Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and has a seat on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a member of the following Caucus groups: Civil War Battlefield Caucus - Congressional Biofuels Caucus - Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus - House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus - International Conservation Caucus - Sportsmen's Caucus.

Congressman Fortenberry has become the most knowledgeable representative on Capitol Hill for nuclear security issues.