February 22, 2015 • 12:16 PM 1
I’ve been watching the Academy Awards program on television since the 20-something time they were broadcast. The first televised program was the 25th Academy Awards in 1953. I’ve missed a few programs over the years. Two tours of duty in Vietnam and a couple other overseas assignments got in the way. Like most serial viewers, I continue to watch them because they’re a lot of entertainment in a concentrated package; and, because they are live, anything can happen. Beyond that, I want to see who younger Americans are looking up to these days. Like most people who have been watching them for decades, I’ve never seen nor heard of half of this year’s nominated movies and individuals. They only nominated movies I’ve seen are “American Sniper” and “The Judge.”
So why bother to watch the 87th Academy Awards tonight? Besides addiction, I suppose it’s because I hope to see young stars emerge that remind me of the great stars of decades past—Clark Gabel, Gary Cooper, Carry Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland (who is still alive at 98), just to name a few. They were stars in an era when most people went to the movies because of who was in them, not because of what the movie was about. Today the stars in most movies are almost an afterthought; and few of the better ones hit home runs almost every time at bat.
I still am an avid viewer of Turner Classic Movies, and I usually decide which ones I watch because of who’s in them. With the Watch TCM app on your smart phone or tablet you can watch dozens of movies on-demand not just the ones currently showing.
I don’t mean to be overly critical of today’s crop of actors and directors. There are many fine actors; and Clint Eastwood at 84 is still at the top of his game. Of this year’s nominees, I like Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly and Rosamund Pike, three of which are British.
With all the nasty things going on in the world these days, the Academy Awards program, like any other form of entertainment, is an opportunity to escape reality for a few hours. I just hope the winners accept their awards graciously without making political statements and gestures. What I dislike most about the Oscars are the political statements made by recipients. They are totally unnecessary. I have a long list of Hollywood personalities, headed by Jane Fonda, that I will no longer watch because of their political views. If someone holds their hands in the air and says “Don’t shoot,” or suggests that I’m likely a racist, Islamophobe or homophobe, I’ll switch the channel to TCM.
Finally, I’m hoping “American Sniper” wins all six of the Oscars it’s been nominated for. It’s one of the best war movies ever made. It says a lot about the 0.45 percent of the American population that serve their country in the U.S. Armed Forces and the spouses that support them.
February 17, 2015 • 11:58 AM 2
If anyone believes that the conflict between Islamic extremists and those they make war on isn’t going to result in a monumental conflict that will go down along with the great wars of history they are sadly mistaken.
The warning signs are all around us. The Islamic State, al-Qai’da, Boko Haram, Ansar Al-Shari’a , Al Nusra (a total of more than 30 groups on the State Department Terrorist list since 9/11/2001) are growing in strength and numbers. Daily atrocities in the territories they control and terrorist attacks in the areas they target are on the increase. When the Islamic State says “We will conquer Rome,” the don’t believe they are making an idle boast.
At the same time governments they target, most notably the United States, are doing what so many before them have done. They are failing to define and recognize the threat and do what’s necessary to defeat it before it gets completely out of hand. It’s only a matter of time before large-scale terrorist attacks take place in Europe and the United States, forcing the U.S. and its allies to react much as they did after 9/11/2001. This time however, it will become a multi-national conflagration that will take much longer than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Five, 10 or 50 years after every major war we look back in hindsight at the obvious things governments could have done to avoid the conflict or defeat the enemy before it got too strong; but then as now governments convince themselves the threat isn’t that great or they can handle it “when the time comes.”
Yes, the United States, the leader of the free world and the only government capable of providing leadership in the war against Islamic extremism, is war-weary after more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in Syria and Iraq. But that’s no excuse when the threat of exponentially greater loss of life and treasure is in the balance.
Experts can provide numerous scenarios that demonstrate how a war in the Middle East cold engulf the entire region, involve Iran and large numbers of U.S. ground forces. Given the United States has no grand strategy for how to defeat Islamic extremism, any one of these scenarios could easily play out.
It is now clear that nothing anyone says or does is likely to convince the Obama administration of the error of its ways. It will go right on pretending that fighting international terrorism is like fighting urban crime, calling 21 beheaded Egyptians “Egyptian citizens” instead of Egyptian Christians, and refusing to call Islamic terrorism Islamic extremism. How much further into the abyss we will fall before President Obama leaves office is difficult to predict. And if there is another major terrorist attack in the United States, don’t expect President Obama to behave any differently.
So what can Americans do in the meantime? Prepare yourself and your family for a national emergency. Express yourself loudly and clearly to you Representative in Congress and your Senator. And Make your concerns known to anyone who calls you conducting a public opinion survey. Most important, vote for the presidental candidate that you believe will do what’s necessary to defeat Islamic extremism and defend America in the future.
February 7, 2015 • 6:40 PM 0
The Brian Williams’ memory-confusion story has been all over the media this week, except for the three broadcast television networks; why am I not surprised. Anchors and journalists on Fox News have pointed out the similarities between Rather’s coverage of President George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard service story and Williams’ I-was-almost shot down story. They both were fabricated.
To my mind the implications of the Williams’ story goes far beyond one news anchor’s credibility. As in the case of Dan Rather it goes to the mainstream media’s credibility altogether. Those of us who watch Fox News routinely hear about what stories ABC, CBS and NBC don’t cover. Occasionally, we here about the stories they mis-report. I have long contended that the mis-reporting is far more widespread that many believe.
When I was much younger I was an avid watcher of “60 Minutes” on CBS. For years I watch the program and accepted what they reported as fact. Rarely did they report on stories that I had first hand knowledge of. As I got older, served int the military, went to Vietnam and served in the Department of Defense, however, I began to notice that when they did report on a story that I had first hand knowledge of, they got it terribly wrong. “How can I trust them to report honestly on stories I don’t know much about when the grossly mis-report stories I know a lot about?” I stopped watching “60 Minutes” because the program no longer was credible.
I no longer watch any of the three network news broadcasts for the same reason. Like so many others I get my news from Fox, the Internet and other sources I trust. The three networks have lost much of the large viewership they once had, still a great many people watch them and accept what they tell them.
Will the revelations of Brian Williams further damage network news. I believe it will, but not dramatically and not quickly. Old habits are hard to break. People will argue that Williams transgression was personal aggrandisement and doesn’t affect the way he reports the news. I question that assumption. Slowly but surely the so-called main stream media is becoming just other alternative media.
February 4, 2015 • 7:51 PM 0
God help the day the Chris Kyle haters find themselves in mortal danger from Am enemies.
February 2, 2015 • 5:07 PM 1
Most people today, I assume, believe that we are not alone, that intelligent life exists on other planets; it’s just that time and distance have prevented us from discovering it. Recent discoveries of planets in the “goldilocks zone” of other star systems that contain liquid water and are neither too hot or too cold to sustain life bolster this belief. Yet, despite all the UFO sightings since the 1950’s we have no tangible evidence of extraterrestrial life. Conspiracy theorists, of course, disagree. Nevertheless, there are good reasons beyond science why we believe it exists.
The principal reason, in my opinion, is the amount of star-travel science fiction that has become a big part of our culture. Star Trek and Star Wars are prime examples. There are a thousand others. Beside the willing suspension of disbelief, we accept those positive visions of the future because we believe in the goodness, creativity and ingenuity of the human race. We want to believe that’s what the future holds for our descendents. We can watch and enjoy all the post-apocalyptic visions of the future writers, producers and directors put before us, but we tend to reject them as prophetic.
Perhaps we will travel at warp speeds to the stars before some asteroid makes life on earth extinct. In the meantime, more pressing problems confront us. The aliens we are principally concerned with are Islamic terrorists that want to kill us and illegal immigrants that commit violent crimes.
Some of us think about space travel and alien life more than others. I obviously do or I wouldn’t have written The Transplants. I wrote it because I wanted to explore the idea of first contact between intelligent life from another planet and human beings in a new and different way. What if a couple of space aliens came here to save their species from extinction because they had nowhere else to go? What if their purpose wasn’t to destroy or conquer us or to chide us for our evil ways? What if all they wanted to do was live peaceful, anonymous lives. Would we fear and attempt to contain them, or would we welcome them with open arms?
February 2, 2015 • 5:06 PM 2
Scott Walker came out on top in a DrudgeReport poll with 47%, way ahead of the other candidates. Democrats, no doubt, are hiring a battalion of character assassins to take him out. Wait a minute, didn’t they already try that in Wisconsin where he won two regular elections and an attempted recall election. Perhaps that’s why he has done so well in the poll. He’s stood up to the best the Dems can throw at him and he’s still standing. Of course, the election is a long way off and those on the left who want to do him in have plenty of time to think up new and creative ways to smear him. His one possible Achilles Heal is that he has little foreign policy experience. How he handles that is important. Finally, as Rush said on today’s radio program, many if not most conservative Republican voters don’t like Jeb Bush and other establishment candidates because they believe that Republican voters (the Tea Party, et al) are the problem. Apparently Scott Walker believes that Democrats and the far left are the problem.