MOVIE LIFE KYOTO is a video series which aims to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners in a light-hearted and humorous fashion. With English narration and Japanese subtitles, they’re filled with little factoids and hilariously on-point observations that will be of interest to foreign visitors and a source of much ‘that’s so true!’ amusement for Japanese people, too…(read more)
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 26, 2015
Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’Posted: January 26, 2015
The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.
My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.
“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.
“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “
I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »
Laure Mandeville: Even For the French, it is Almost Surreal to See How the White House Avoids Using the Phrase ‘Radical Islam’Posted: January 26, 2015
Mrs. Mandeville is the U.S. bureau chief for the French newspaper Le Figaro.
Laure Mandeville writes: In French, we have an expression: “Call a cat a cat.” Appeler un chat un chat. That is exactly what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did after the horrific terrorist attacks that hit my country on Jan. 7, when he identified “radical Islam” as our enemy. In France, most rallied to this clear acknowledgment of the threat we are dealing with, because it is simply impossible to deny.
“There is something nearly Orwellian in this refusal to call things by their names. If we say that the terrorists are not radical Islamists, we might as well say that truth is lie, that right is wrong, that black is white.”
– Flemming Rose, foreign editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten
That is why it has sounded almost surreal when the Obama administration and many observers in the U.S., despite their heartening support for the French, go to great lengths to insist that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with Islam.
“President Obama does us a disservice, because doing so deprives the Muslim community of its responsibility to fight this radical monster. By doing that, the West fails to understand that the Muslims will be the most crucial soldiers to fight this Islamic terrorism.”
– Muslim democrat Naser Khader, a former member of the Danish Parliament
The intention is good: President Obama doesn’t want to mix Islamist terrorists and the wider community of Muslims around the world. He is trying to appeal to Muslims, to prevent them from feeling ostracized. More than ever, the world needs Muslims who wish to live in harmony with non-Muslims.
But ask Flemming Rose how the Obama approach sounds to someone who knows too well the Islamist threat. Mr. Rose, now the foreign editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, was its cultural editor in 2005 when he had an idea for a series of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. Their publication sparked deadly protests in several countries and has made him a marked man. “There is something nearly Orwellian in this refusal to call things by their names,” Mr. Rose tells me. “If we say that the terrorists are not radical Islamists, we might as well say that truth is lie, that right is wrong, that black is white.”
To put a fig leaf over the threat doesn’t make the problem go away, and doesn’t help us understand that the radical Islamist attacks are precisely about the House of Islam and who can speak for it.
“This is a battle about who is going to define Islam: the radical Islamists, who try to convince the world that someone can be assassinated if he dares draw a mocking cartoon representing the Prophet, or who ridicules fanatics of all sorts; or the democratically inclined Muslims who accept that religion cannot be an encompassing whole that dictates all the rules of everyday life in the earthly realm.”
– Joshua Mitchell, a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University
By denying that this is about Islam, “President Obama does us a disservice, because doing so deprives the Muslim community of its responsibility to fight this radical monster,” says Muslim democrat Naser Khader, a former member of the Danish Parliament, now at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Read the rest of this entry »
Like many movie goers I prefer to avoiding reading detailed reviews of movies before I see them, then enjoy reading a series of them right after. With the controversy surrounding American Sniper, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to what’s being said and written (and we’ve covered plenty of that controversy in the last few weeks) so it made even more of a challenge to stay away from reviews until I had an opportunity to see it myself.
A few hours ago, I finally saw American Sniper. I’ve only read a few reviews so far–and I plan add some of our own commentary soon–but this New Yorker review immediately struck me, because I prejudged the source. Admittedly unfair, but I don’t see the island of Manhattan as a place to expect anything but veiled score for Clint Eastwood, dislike of war films in general, and snarling distaste for this movie in particular. I’m happy to be completely wrong. Though it’s a short capsule double-movie review, given second-billing to Selma, all due credit to New Yorker film critic David Denby, for a positive, respectful, and insightful review of American Sniper.
Denby‘s first sentence nails it:
“Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper‘ is both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior’s skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”
The following comment is one of the most admiring things a critic can say about a filmmaker:
“Eastwood’s command of this material makes most directors look like beginners. As Kyle and his men ride through rubble-strewn Iraqi cities, smash down doors, and race up and down stairways, the camera records what it needs to fully dramatize a given event, and nothing more.”
And this characterization of Eastwood’s skill and talent as a director is perfectly summarized:
“There’s no waste, never a moment’s loss of concentration, definition, or speed. The general atmosphere of the cities, and the scattered life of the streets, gets packed into the action…” Read the rest of this entry »
The Temptation of Adam and Eve
Oil on panel, 97 x 60.5 cm
Collection: National Trust
[VIDEO] New York City Council Chamber Councilman David G. Greenfield Exposes and Passionately Denounces Anti-Semitic OutburstPosted: January 23, 2015
New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield makes remarks on the floor of the council moments after Pro-Palestine activists protested the commemoration of 1.1 million people killed in Auschwitz. Greenfield is the grandson of holocaust survivors.
Mild-Mannered Software Engineer by Day, Passionate Cartoonist by Night: From the Streets of NY, Meet the Sikh Captain AmericaPosted: January 22, 2015
Most office workers stick to wearing a shirt and trousers. So why has a Sikh man in his 40s been talking to strangers in New York while dressed as Captain America?
“I want to challenge people’s perceptions, I want them to have a mind freak when they see me.”
So says Vishavjit Singh, a mild-mannered software engineer by day and passionate cartoonist by night.
“When I first put on the suit, it was one of the most amazing days of my life. It was like a switch had been flicked. Strangers were embracing me, cops were asking me for photos, I was being dragged into weddings.”
The 43-year-old’s fellow Americans have not always been so welcoming. A devout Sikh, complete with traditional turban and flowing beard, Vishavjit – or Vish as he is known – has always attracted attention.
“I’m still seen by many as the ‘ultimate other’ in American society -a radical Muslim. Harassment goes up and down depending on the news,” he says.
He turned to his hobby of drawing as an outlet, creating cartoons depicting what life in America was like for Sikhs – focusing on the patriotism he felt for the country he was born in and the pride for the religion he belonged to.
“I realised I had to draw something fresh and the new Captain America film gave me an idea. How about a superhero who has a beard and a turban and fights intolerance?”
A local comic book convention provided the perfect opportunity for him to get his work noticed and it was there that he met a photographer who suggested he bring the character to life – by dressing up as Captain America himself.
“My first response was, ‘no way’. I’d never worn a costume and I’m a skinny guy who’s been kind of teased and bullied all my life,” he says.
Then things changed. In August 2012, six people were killed after a US Army veteran with ties to white supremacist groups opened fire on worshipers at a gurdwara in Wisconsin while preparations for a service were under way.
[The film, ‘Red, White and Beard‘ is now available to watch online.]
The incident forced Singh to once again reassess the way minorities like himself were being perceived in America. His cartoons were a way of tackling the stigma faced by Sikhs, but the self-confessed introvert felt he still had to do more.
“I was trying out the uniform at home for the first time, stuffing sports pads in to make myself look bigger and trying to work out a plan.”
It was then that he remembered his earlier conversation at the comic convention. He swiftly ordered a bespoke Captain America suit tailored to fit his slender 5’9″, 130 pound (58kg) frame.
“My wife came over to me and said, ‘just be yourself’.”
Singh began visiting college campuses and youth retreats dressed in character – complete with Captain America’s trademark shield and an ‘A’ on his turban – giving talks about social identity and life as a Sikh.
“We put people in brackets of Muslims, Jews, right wing, left wing. I want to force people to get out of those labels, out of those boxes and to start a conversation.”
It was at one of these talks that he met three filmmakers – Ryan Westra, Ben Fischinger and Matthew Rogers – then students, who were intrigued by the message Vish had come to deliver.
Read the rest of this entry »
The system, referred to as Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air, or NIFC-CA, uses Aegis radar, and airborne sensor and SM-6 missile to find, track and destroy approaching threats such as cruise missiles at ranges well beyond the typical radar horizon, Navy officials said.
Alongside Aegis radar and an SM-6 missile, NIFC-CA uses an E-2D Hawkeye aircraft as an airborne sensor to help relay threat information to the ship from beyond its normal radar range.
“We are looking at alternative airborne sensors,” the executive said.
The idea with a demonstration, sources indicate, would be to use the F-35 as an airborne relay node or sensor in place of the E-2D Hawkeye. This could allow NIFC-CA to operate against an increasingly complex set of targets such as stealthy targets, the Lockheed executive explained. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Tuttle: American Sniper Backlash Exposes ‘Bush Derangement’ Syndrome Hasn’t Gone into Remission, Still MalignantPosted: January 22, 2015
Chris Kyle Complicates the Narrative
National Review Buckley fellow Ian Tuttle addressed the seething discontent on the American left over the popular success of American Sniper, saying the backlash against the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle represents continuing “derangement” over the Bush years and the Iraq War.
“One of the reasons that Chris Kyle has garnered so much animus is because there remains a derangement when it comes to Iraq and the Bush years, against which Chris Kyle stood…”
Tuttle spoke with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday about the vitriolic outpouring against Kyle by left-wing bloggers and pundits like Michael Moore and Max Blumenthal, who accused the sniper of being a coward and a mass murderer. Read the rest of this entry »
Check out that linen suit. And Nancy’s pastel pink cotton dress, and pearls. A time capsule of summer style, but also timelessly contemporary. The cut of Ron’s linen sport jacket with tie and casual pocket square is identical to the current line of J Crew mens wear. Unclear what year this is, but I’m guessing it’s when Reagan was governor, and the location (both sunny and smoggy) looks like 1960s California.
“The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that.”
Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.
Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Moore caused a stir on Sunday when he Tweeted his negative opinion of snipers, seemingly in response to the release of American Sniper.
In a Facebook post later that day, the director, 60, defended his statements about snipers – but also attempted to distance the Tweets from the the Oscar-nominated film about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle….(blah blah blah) (read more)
On the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti gets a haircut from colleague NASA astronaut Terry Virts while cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov assists with the vacuum cleaner, making sure that no hair cuttings float off.
In the early 1960s, hundreds of anti-Castro Cubans took refuge on the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay. Half a century later, two dozen of them still live here…
Box office opening weekends: Valley of Elah $133k Rendition $4mm The Green Zone $14mm Lions for Lambs $6.7mm American Sniper $94mm
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) January 18, 2015
It’s lobbying state governments to impose taxes and regulations on its competitors.
Gregory Conley writes: When the success of America’s largest companies is threatened, they often turn to the government for a helping hand. They have been doing that for at least the past century. In recent years Congress gave more than $1 trillion in bailouts to banks, car companies, and credit lenders in the midst of great financial turmoil. But that kind of generosity isn’t the only way Uncle Sam has helped many of America’s biggest companies maintain market share. Using the growing bureaucracy’s powerful regulations, many corporations have worked hand in hand with government to snuff out competition.
“In Big Tobacco’s war on these innovative technology products, it’s not just adult smokers and ex-smokers who will suffer at the hands of misguided regulators and lawmakers.”
A recent example of this offensive is Big Tobacco’s actions against the thousands of small startups that are helping people quit smoking. Cigarette companies are spending millions of dollars to push product bans, higher taxes, and expensive regulations on their competitors.
“Reynolds’s push for more-coercive taxation, burdensome regulations, and even bans on their competitors make sense, as no company wants to see its consumers switch to products it doesn’t sell.”
The cigarettes sold by Reynolds American Inc. and Altria (formerly Philip Morris) are highly taxed and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and over the past several years cigarette consumption has declined more rapidly than forecast by analysts and shareholders. Electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs,” or “vapor products”) have accounted for a significant portion of this reduction. These battery-operated and smokeless devices represent a free-market solution to a grave public-health problem. As alternatives to cigarettes, which kill more than 400,000 people each year, vapor products are far less hazardous. Read the rest of this entry »
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) January 16, 2015