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The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s policy advisers were aware long ago that the president’s promise that “if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it” wouldn’t hold up. “White House policy advisers objected to the breadth of Mr. Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ promise,” the Journal reported, citing a former senior administration official. Obama, to borrow Bush’s phrase, heard “nothing from anybody.”. No, the Obamacare pratfall is not Obama’s Iraq: The magnitude is entirely different, and the problems are fixable. But the decision-making is similar: In both cases, insular administrations, obsessed with secrecy, let the president hear only what they thought he wanted to hear.
My Washington Post colleagues Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin described how Obama rejected pleas from outside experts to bring in people with the expertise to handle the task; he instead left the project in the care of in-house loyalists, “Three and a half years later, such insularity — in that decision and others that would follow — has emerged as a central factor in the disastrous rollout,” Goldstein and Eilperin reported, Their report is based in part on a memo sent to the White House in May 2010 by Harvard professor David Cutler, “I am concerned that the personnel and processes you have in place are not up to the task, and that health reform will be unsuccessful as a result,” he wrote, “My general view is that the early implementation efforts are far short of what it will take to implement reform successfully, … I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president’s vision or have the capability pointe shoes for beginners to carry it out.”..
Instead, Obama followed a different philosophy: Dance with the one that brung ya. Like his predecessor, Obama has rewarded loyalty and surrounded himself with like-minded advisers. This, combined with a Bush-like fetish for secrecy, has left the president in a bubble, struggling to find support in Congress. That’s what makes the Iraq comparison resonate. Although the policies are entirely different, both were unforced errors aggravated by a president’s insularity. Both men failed to hear warnings (about the intelligence and the military plan, in Bush’s case; about problems with the exchanges and the website, in Obama’s), overstated their cases (Bush’s hysteria about Iraq’s nuclear program; Obama’s keep-your-plan promise) and used the other side’s partisanship as an excuse.
“Man of Steel” (PG-13, 143 minutes, Warner): Newly minted superstar Henry Cavill makes a well-built, handsomely credible Superman in this reboot, In Cavill, director Zack Snyder’s busy, bombastic creation myth is reduced to little more than a joyless cipher or dazzling physical specimen, Produced by Christopher Nolan, who brought such grim self-seriousness to the “Batman” franchise, “Man of Steel” clearly seeks the same brand of grandiose gravitas, But that dour tone turns out to be pointe shoes for beginners far more appropriate for a tortured hero brooding in his cave than for an all-American alien who is as much a product of the wholesome windswept Plains as a distant planet called Krypton, Snyder and his writer, David S, Goyer, accentuate Superman’s intergalactic provenance in “Man of Steel,” which opens on Krypton just as the planet is crumbling, the rogue General Zod (Michael Shannon) is threatening a coup and the wise scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) is sending his infant son Kal-El into the cosmos to begin the world over again, Seeking to cram in as much back story as possible, Snyder and Goyer then leap forward to a time when Kal — now an adult earthling named Clark Kent — is working on a fishing boat, haunted by an unnamed past and once in a while jumping into the water to save a crew from a burning rig with his superhuman strength, Contains intense sequences of sci-fi violence and destruction, and some rude language, Extras include a featurette exploring the Superman mythology and how the characters have evolved; “All-Out Action” look at actors’ training regimen; and a “Krypton Decoded” lowdown on the tech, weapons and spaceships, Also, on Blu-ray: “Journey of Discovery” commentary with Snyder, Cavill and supporting actors Amy Adams and Diane Lane; and “Planet Krypton” featurette..
“Turbo” (PG, 96 minutes, DreamWorks/Fox): This triumph of speed over slime trails borrows some elements from “Fast and Furious”: a drag race, nitrous oxide and even a Michelle Rodriguez. But really, “Turbo” feels more like a hybrid of Pixar’s “Cars” and every family-friendly tale, from “The Tortoise and the Hare” to “Monsters University,” that champions the outsize dreams of underdog underachievers. None of which, by the way, detracts from its charms. “Turbo” is a good-hearted movie that’s peppered with enough clever touches to engage adults as well as moviegoers of the smaller, squirmier variety. The star of this show is Theo (voice of Ryan Reynolds), a snail with his shell in the dirt but his itty-bitty, gelatinous head in the clouds. Theo is obsessed with auto racing and determined — against all odds, logic and the persistent naysaying of his older brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti) — to compete in a legitimate speedway event. His wish steers closer to reality after he’s snatched from his garden home by a crow and dropped on a sports car in mid-street-race, where he gets injected with enough nitro to make him worthy of a segment on “Top Gear.” Contains some mild action and thematic elements. Extras include “Team Turbo: Tricked Out” and two other featurettes. Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scene; “The Race” storyboard sequence and Smoove Move’s music videos.
“The Attack” (R, 102 minutes, in Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles, Cohen Media Group): This Lebanon-French-Qatar-Belgian film opens like a love story, with a woman telling her husband that every time they separate, “a part of me dies.” In light of what happens next, those words take on another, more ominous meaning, Set in Tel Aviv and the West Bank town of Nablus, the taut but messily honest tale is the story of Amin (Ali Suliman), a prominent Israeli surgeon of secular Palestinian background who wakes up one morning to discover that his beautiful wife, Siham (Reymond Amsalem) has been killed in a suicide bombing, It’s 3 a.m, when Amin gets the call to identify his wife’s body, or what’s left of it, That there’s not much left of Siham from the rib cage down is pretty much all the incriminating evidence that the police need, but Amin believes there must be some mistake, He sets out to find answers to a difficult question: “How do you make a fundamentalist pointe shoes for beginners monster out of a woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly?” The search takes Amin briefly to Nazareth, where his wife was from, and then to Nablus, where she spent the last night of her life, What he ends up finding along the way are more questions, Contains some grisly images, obscenity, brief nudity and sensuality, Extras include an interview with director Ziad Doueiri..
“Frances Ha” (R, 86 minutes, The Criterion Collection): The writer-director of this small, gemlike coming-of-age comedy is Noah Baumbach, son of former Village Voice film critic Georgia Brown and author Jonathan Baumbach. Three of its most arresting supporting players — Mickey Sumner, Grace Gummer and Charlotte D’Amboise — are the daughters of Sting, Meryl Streep and ballet star Jacques D’Amboise. Not to be outdone, the incandescent star of “Frances Ha,” Greta Gerwig, casts her own parents as her character’s mom and dad, roles they play with a bracing lack of self-consciousness or patronizing irony in a movie set squarely in that fraught nether-region between arrested adolescence and adulthood. Writing with Gerwig, Baumbach has created a fey, sneakily charming generational touchstone on a par with “Annie Hall” and his own “Kicking and Screaming.” And he has created a spectacular showcase for Gerwig, a creaturely, almost feral sprite whose instincts and born-ready camera presence have long been staples of hand-made indie productions, but have yet to find their rightful purchase in mainstream Hollywood. Contains sexual references and profanity. Extras include conversations between Baumbach and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, and among Baumbach, Gerwig and filmmaker Sarah Polley; featurette on the look of the film with Baumbach, director of photography Sam Levy and creative director Pascal Dangin; and booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker.
Also: “Blackfish” (documentary on the dangers of performing killer pointe shoes for beginners whales), “Prince Avalanche,” “Paradise,” “Ambushed,” “In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey” (documentary), “Gettysburg and the Civil War” (box set to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Nov, 19, PBS), “Ip Man: The Final Fight” (Hong Kong) , “Animals” (Spain), “City Lights” (1931, The Criterion Collection), “Home Again,” “I Declare War,” “The Capture of Grizzly Adams” (1982), “John Carpenter Presents Body Bags Collector’s Edition” (1993), “Barney: Perfectly Purple,” “Mumfie’s White Christmas” and “JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later” and “John F, Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums” (1964 documentary, both from Warner; both also available as part of a Blu-ray collector’s edition box set)..