Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Movies 2014

Looking back at 2014 movies, here's a link to 2014's top 100 box office films. I find it very interesting that most titles represent family-oriented pictures rather than blood/guts/explosions/sex "R" rated films. I've seen nineteen of the top 100 movies, with several more on my "to see" list.

Among the movies on my wish list is the inspiring true story Unbroken; I hope finds a place on the list before the clock strikes midnight on December 31.

A clock striking midnight is such a quaint image nowadays--how very 20th century of me. Let's say before the LED screen digital time clicks to 12:00 AM...which is actually a nonexistent time, since 12:00 is either noon or midnight, not AM or PM. No wonder 1942's Casablanca remains my favorite movie of all time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All

Enjoy Christmas time!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Colorless Crime?

Two NYC police officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn were shot and killed today. I've read over two dozen of the reports flooding onto the Internet, and I can find no mention of race pertaining to either the murdered policemen or to their executioner.

I might well be wrong, you can call me crazy, but the color-neutral media coverage so far leads me to believe that the killer was black and the cops were not. Interestingly, many of today's articles still mention the "white officers" and their chokehold on "black man, Eric Garner." So if the cops had been black and the murderer white, all the news stories would be screaming that fact by now. We'd probably have mobs already forming in the streets.

We'll see how long it takes for personal descriptions to surface in this oddly colorless atrocity.

So here we are. All the media, government, and cultural race agitation has brought us to two slaughtered cops five days before Christmas. I hope Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, their lapdog media minions, and all of the anarchist demonstrators across the country are satisfied with today's work.

I wonder if the nation's hate-driven dividers ever pause for a moment in pursuing their race-baiting agenda to remember that, regardless of a person's race, everyone's blood is red.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Rule for Good TV

Rule 5: You don't waste good.

~ Gibbs Rules

For more than a decade, there is only one television show that I simply can't miss: NCIS.

Because of NCIS, I never watched a single episode of American Idol. It was scheduled opposite NCIS--no contest, you should pardon the expression (and I don't feel I missed anything). In the early years, the sizable chunk of hard-core NCIS fans kept the show viable during "Idol's" blockbuster run.

NCIS features smart, well-written scripts with an imaginative and interesting ensemble of characters that has evolved considerably over time. Yes, it's formulaic, but it's hard to name a TV drama that isn't. The difference with NCIS is that the characters are more interesting than the plots, which are top notch. From taciturn team leader Gibbs, to historical tidbits buff "Ducky"--Dr. Mallard, the medical examiner who talks to all his corpses--to movie trivia expert/womanizer/wisecracker Agent DiNozzo, to amped-up Gothic laboratory princess Abby, personal backstories continue to unfold at a tantalizingly slow pace throughout the seasons.

As an example, "Gibbs Rules" are still being revealed, and not sequentially. We're still learning them, with some fan complaints of redundancy or skipping numbers. I don't mind the gaps or repetitions; I like how the characters repeat the applicable rules in various circumstances. Last night's episode, which featured team computer geek McGee learning from Rule 51: "Sometimes, you're wrong," pulled on the heartstrings while both working a case and keeping the Christmas spirit. The script actually made a reference to the birth of Jesus, talked about the "second chance" it gave mankind, and featured McGee opening doors on his Advent calendar. Bravo!

My Rule 1 for good television: Tune in to CBS at 8:00 p.m. Tuesdays for NCIS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goodwill Under the Sword

"And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."

It's difficult to feel too much of the Christmas spirit in the midst of so much terrible evil in the world. From Australia, to Pakistan, to Iraq and Syria, the devil is having his way with the world.

The Christmas story tells of angels who sang of peace on earth to men of goodwill. As defined in Merriam-Webster's 11th Edition Collegiate Dictionary, "goodwill" means "a kindly feeling of approval and support: benevolent interest or concern." Hacking the heads off school children is definitely the opposite of that definition, as is butchering hostages and murderous shooting sprees.

The world is in very deep trouble today at the hands of a profound and expansive evil, radical Islam. Whether it's Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, or any other catchy name, this darkest of evils is not going to stop destroying until it is defeated. That battle is going to be a very tough, very lengthy undertaking--we're talking generations. It's going to take the resolve of many people of goodwill, from many nations, all of whom have the courage to fight this good fight.

God bless them, every one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Selfish Vengeance

I don't know how to define "torture" anymore. As with "racism," the word has been so overused that it's practically meaningless now. But I doubt that any person the U.S. has interrogated was ever beheaded, crucified, dismembered, or disemboweled. Someone should send the United Nations that memo. (I maintain that the U.N. building should be turned into the world's largest parking garage.)

I agree with former Senator Bob Kerrey that the "torture" report fails our country. As he points out, there are no recommendations contained in it. What, then, is the purpose of releasing the report? This puts Americans in danger across the world, as well as at home. Why publish it at all? What possible good can come of this action?

Politicians--in this case, Dianne Feinstein--never cease to amaze me with the depths of their egotism and stupidity. Here we have the outgoing chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (there's an oxymoronic descriptor), clubbing the country over the head as she sulks out the door. It's as though she's wagging her finger at the voters who recently crushed her party: "Remember, America, how terrible things were under the Republicans and President Bush." It's pure vengeance, applied during her waning days of power. The release of this report before the Senate reverts to a Republican majority in January shows that Feinstein is perfectly willing to throw U.S. embassy personnel, intelligence operatives, and military personnel under the bus to assert her moral superiority. It's difficult to imagine a more disgustingly selfish motive.

President Obama has chimed in with "When we make mistakes, we admit them." Excuse me? When did this know-it-all ever admit a single mistake in the past six years of his train wreck of a presidency? George Orwell would have trouble believing what we're watching unfold in our government today.

When people start dying over this "torture" report, the blood will be on Feinstein's self-serving hands. I wonder if she'll ever admit that mistake.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Remember Pearl Harbor

This outstanding, in-depth article, linked here, recounts the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 73 years ago today.

On Friday, I heard an interview with a man who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. He said there are less than 50 survivors still living. These December 7, 1941 survivors are national treasures, and today we pause to remember and honor them.

Photo from the Pearl Harbor website

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A Recipe for Peace

Dennis Prager has launched a flash course in the Ten Commandments on his "Prager University" webpage. At about five minutes per Commandment, these are fast and informative lessons in a time-tested, foolproof instruction manual for a better world.

Whatever your beliefs, you will benefit from watching each of these brief, engaging videos. With all that is happening in our nation and the world, there could not be a better time for this reminder on how to make life better and more peaceful...for everyone.

Monday, December 01, 2014


"I have a dream..."
~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

"Burn this b*tch down"
~ Michael Brown's stepfather, 2014

Oh dear. In the wake of the Ferguson political and media circus, it's apparent that race relations have devolved into a less-than-uplifting state over the past fifty years. In fact, just in the past five years there has been a dramatic decline in goodwill among the races. It's part of the "change" that has occurred on President Obama's watch. Sure hope he's proud of it.

The rest of us, meanwhile, have to deal with the destruction and hatred that has been agitated across the country. In the midst of reading coverage online, I stumbled across the video linked here and below: "Will the Real Black Americans Please Stand Up." Some salty language, which I don't use in this blog; but in this case, the departure was worthwhile in the big picture of an important message.

Bravo, young man. You understand that the Ferguson aftermath is not a questions of black vs. white--it's a matter of right or wrong, good or bad. You are the "hope and change" we've been waiting for:

Will the Real Black Americans Please Stand Up (Video)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Laughing Beats Crying

Saturday Night Live lampoons the executive order on "Obama-grants"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Man Who Would Be King

Some men just want to watch the world burn. 
~ Alfred describes The Joker

With the pending royal edit on immigration reform, it's impossible for me to believe that our current president wants anything good, constructive, or beneficial for our country or our system of government. He is proving himself to be the most destructive president in American history.

The people spoke loudly in the November 4 elections, but he is not interested in voters' opinions. President Obama wants his way, and he will break any rule to get it--including the framework of our nation, the U.S. Constitution. Lawmaking belongs to Congress, not to "the king"--of which the Founders were, quite rightly, very afraid.

But "the man who would be king" will force irreparable damage on the USA in his speech tonight. No good will come of this, except the enhancement of his own sense of superiority. God help us in the next two years.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beyond Belief

In the Unbelievable-but-True category, the National Cathedral is hosting an Islamic prayer service on Friday. How's that for a Christian suicide mission?

Hopefully there will be no beheadings included.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The "Stupid" Election

In the bewildered aftermath of the Democrat election results debacle, this is the perfect week for the videos of "Obamacare architect" Jonathan Gruber to surface. With elitist professorial passion, Gruber explains why the healthcare bill had to be deceptive to pass and how its successful passage depended upon "the stupidity of the American voter." You see, the lies were worth it because they were for our own good. All of America's poor unwashed peasants, who can't understand the complexities of high progressive thought--we need the brilliant elitists to do our thinking for us.

Liberal waterboy Brian Williams solemnly intoned on NBC Nightly News that only 36.1 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots on Election Day. Since the Democrats got their butts whipped, apparently Williams is implying that only the "stupid" voters participated. This echoes the president's dismissiveness of the election's Republican rout. The highly intelligent 60-odd percent of voters, which any smart person knows certainly would have supported left-wing causes, decided to sit this one out.

Hmm. Do you really think so? Isn't it possible that it was the truly committed voters who are dedicated to returning our nation to some semblance of law and order made it a point to vote against the Democrats? Is it not also possible that voters who have stopped believing that their vote matters, as well as disenchanted liberals, simply stayed home?

We have remarks about the "stupid" voters in at least two videos of Gruber. He also describes voters as being "confused." Gee, I wish I were as smart as Gruber...*sigh*

But wait a minute! All those "stupid" and "confused" voters turned the government on its head last week, not just in Congress and the Senate but also in the governorships of several reliably Democratic bastion states: Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois, to name three.

I wonder if Jonathan Gruber is confused about last week's election results. I also wonder if he's figured out that a bill that requires blatant lies to help it be passed into law is A) a bad bill, and B) unacceptable to American voters. If he hasn't realized those unavoidable facts, he's--well, stupid.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The People Speak

Well, so much for a permanent Democrat majority. Yesterday's mid-term election put an effective end to that speculative nonsense.

The USA is a 50/50 country. Voters of both conservative and liberal persuasions are mostly everyday, hard-working people who want a safe country, economic stability, and the liberty to go about their business without tripping over another government regulation every few steps. When the "ruling" party decides on their own that they have an unassailable mandate, they reach too far and end up getting slapped down by the electorate.

Good. That's the way the Founders intended the republic to operate. In fact, it would come as quite a shock to our self-appointed Caesar, President Obama, but the focal point of our governing process is meant to be Congress, not the White House. Congress is closest to the people, created to represent them directly. The Founders even divided Congress into two houses, so concerned were they about the potential for tyrannical tendencies to arise among its members.

Congressional seats, Senate seats, and state governorships all flipped into the Republican column last night before most astonished media commentators could quite figure out what to say. Some MSM-ers looked like they wanted to cry (Tom Brokaw, anyone?).

But here's a clue, if the cheerleading Obama media can handle it. And our oblivious president should take a hint, too, if he's capable of it. The people of the United States of America are done with the BS. We are not stupid. We don't care about a candidate's race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. We care about a candidate's policies, values, and commitment to the country. We've heard enough endless talk without action. Yesterday was our turn to speak. Time will tell how well our government listens.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Making Me Sick

The nurse who treated Ebola patients in West Africa but refuses to cooperate with a quarantine is making me feel ill. A medical professional with no common sense is always unsettling. Witness the case of Craig Spencer, otherwise known as "Dr. E-BOWL-a," whose travels about town as he incubated Ebola have been tracked on his credit and Metrocards.

What is wrong with these people?

Even those great American heroes, the astronauts who went to the moon, had to submit to a long quarantine when they returned to Earth. Earlier in the last century, public health officials could march up to a door and slap on a "QUARANTINE" sign if someone in the house had polio, scarlet fever, or some other serious disease. Of course, that was before there was an ACLU to protect the right of a potential plague to spread.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Steyn on Fire

Canadian native Mark Steyn is on a promotional book tour this week, but events in his home country have prompted a different conversation. His various interviews on the Islamic terrorist attacks in Canada are embedded in links throughout his online article, "An Attack on the Heart of the Canadian State."

I absolutely love listening to Mark Steyn when he is fired up about Islamo-fascist murderers, because he makes more sense than all officials in the USA's entire federal government combined. It's too bad that as a native born Canadian, he can't run for president; he'd certainly have my vote.

I've read two of Steyn's previous books, America Alone and After America. He is an eloquent, humorous, caustic, and very direct writer. After listening to him define the nature our enemy so precisely and call out our government for avoiding the harsh reality of the war we are in, I'm planning to add The [Un]documented Mark Steyn to my must-read list.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Blank-in-Chief

Throughout their four-year terms, each president earns unique personal riffs on the "commander in chief" title. However, I don't remember ever seeing quite so many variations on the term for one president as I do for President Obama. Never have I seen such contempt-laden, scathing alterations for one president, either.

I've kept track of the varied references to our "commander" in chief for about ten days, in a wide assortment of online articles and their comment sections. A list of 40 titles appears below. Just add "in chief" to each description and enjoy the creative imaginations of your fellow citizens:
  1. Agitator
  2. Amateur
  3. Blamer
  4. BS-er
  5. Bystander
  6. Clueless
  7. Communist
  8. Community Organizer
  9. Complainer
  10. Cuttlefish
  11. Coyote
  12. Deporter
  13. Destabilizer
  14. Divider
  15. Excuser
  16. Fundraiser
  17. Golfer
  18. Grifter
  19. Health Rationer
  20. Impostor
  21. Liar
  22. Loser
  23. Magician
  24. Marxist
  25. Messiah
  26. Muslim
  27. Narcissist
  28. Nullifer
  29. Professor
  30. Radical
  31. Rebuker
  32. Redistributor
  33. Scolder
  34. Stonewaller
  35. Teleprompter
  36. Traitor
  37. Transformer
  38. Underestimator
  39. Vacationer
  40. Whiner

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weapons of Mass Obstruction

US Troops handling WMD in Iraq
Photo: New York Times
“I love it when I hear, ‘Oh there weren’t any chemical weapons in Iraq.' There were plenty.”
~ Jarrod L. Taylor, US Army

A lengthy but enlightening read about the realities of the Iraq invasion after 9/11/01 is linked here.

We now know that WMDs really were discovered in Iraq, but the alphabet media would rather go dark/silent than print/broadcast any of that fact. The New York Times actually published an in-depth article on the discovery of thousands of WMDs in Iraq, but quickly leaps over this highly significant revelation to focus on assigning blame to the Bush administration's "secrecy" surrounding the WMDs and the soldiers who handled them.

I doubt you'll see mention of this story many other places. There is truly no stopping the left-wingers when it comes to blaming George W. Bush, and they don't let facts get in their way.

Today, the mainstream media repeatedly prop up a failed president who has brought the nation to mortal danger on multiple fronts. Mr. Obama is not serious on the ISIS war; he's marking time with airstrikes, at least until the election--hopefully the enemy will cooperate with His Greatness and delay the mass beheadings in America until after November 4. The southern border is as open as the Mall of America, with ISIS members occasionally being apprehended entering the country. The Ebola virus has been flown all over the country, and now it looks like it's taken a cruise, too.

Can you imagine if President Bush had been presiding over this roll call of disasters? There would be a 24/7 loop of outraged coverage on every MSM outlet. But we can choose from a full menu of President Obama's "Katrina moments"and the media just steamrolls past each one and hopes we'll forget when the next catastrophe arrives--which never takes too many news cycles.

We have an obstructive, agenda-driven media and a completely unqualified president. The next 2+ years are going to be a long, hard, ugly slog for America.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Kiss to Make it Better

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I want to use myself as an example just so people have a sense of the science here. 

Now, that should squelch all fears about Ebola in the USA. The president, inserting a first-person reference as is his tedious and predictable custom, "hugged and kissed" the nurses at Emory who had treated the first Ebola patients in the country and offers his personal "scientific" analysis of why there's absolutely nothing to worry about.

Feel better? Me, neither. I hope the White House physician is checking the president's temperature every day. And if you're one of the wealthy few planning on attending one of his fund raising events, you might want to skip the hug-and-kiss portion of the presidential greeting. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Absence of Reason

The television brawl on Bill Maher's "Real Time" show about a week ago, which has generated widespread media coverage, is a sight to behold. Actor Ben Affleck just about comes out of his skin when confronted with facts about the huge numbers of Islamists intent on harming anyone outside of their twisted belief system.

Reality can be a tough concept for a Hollywood celebrity to grasp, but Affleck doesn't even make an effort--and I'm not sure he is capable of that. His behavior is a classic display of an instantaneous, left-wing, emotional reaction to an argument he refuses even to hear, let alone to debate rationally.

"It's gross, it's racist!" Affleck flings the left's trump card out immediately when confronted with hard, irrefutable facts about radical Islam. How "racism" applies to a radicalized worldwide religion is beyond me, but of course in a leftist's eyes, I'm only a mentally incompetent conservative American.

Affleck goes on to remind us that we are "endowed by our forefathers with certain unalienable rights." Actually, Ben, read your script--the text says that we're endowed by our Creator with those rights. Our forefathers were just writing down the obvious. I know, I know...details, details. I've heard that's where the devil is.

Author Sam Harris has done his homework and is unfazed by Affleck's increasingly agitated histrionics. With Maher's support, Harris plows forward calmly and relentlessly, offering data points, percentages, polls, and other ugly pieces of authentic information about the truth of radical Islam.

In rapid order, Affleck goes from insisting that the jihadists are just "a few bad apples" to stating that "the majority of Muslims" don't support the Islamists' brutal tactics. Considering the fact that there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, if even ten percent are against us and our foundational values of liberty, we're in very deep trouble. To borrow a phrase from our forefathers, that truth should be self-evident to thinking people (operative word being "thinking").

I thought poor Ben was going to need CPR by the end of the segment. As one of tinsel-town's elite, I'm sure he's not used to being contradicted very often--especially not by someone as well-informed and educated on this subject as Sam Harris. But Ben Affleck is merely the representative figurehead for what we are up against with all the politically correct left-wingers who refuse to condemn radical Islam for the evil that it is. Emotion, not reason, and heart, not mind, rule the left's "progressive" perspective. Logical discourse is not permitted. What this willful blindness will cost us as a nation unfortunately remains to be seen.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

An Untimely End

"If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."
~ President Barack Obama

To use one of the president's favorite lines, "let me be clear"--he lied.

Just in time for the midterm elections, news arrives that more than a dozen additional healthcare policies are facing cancellation. It seems the plans are not in compliance with "Obamacare." Hundreds of thousands of people will be deprived of their preferred health insurance and forced into full-on Obamacare.

Sixty days notice is required for these mass cancellations, so the notifications must be made by November 1. This is federal law, so there's no way to weasel around the date requirement--although no doubt much effort was put into trying.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4. Don't forget to vote!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Sound of Freedom

The Miramar Air Show is this weekend, and the Blue Angels rocked it as they usually do.

The air show is always quite a happening in San Diego. Last year the show was canceled due to the government shutdown. Of course, there was nothing else that could possibly have been cut, right? As with the closure of our National Parks, the president made certain that the shutdown was as painful, inconvenient, and highly visible as possible. But, I digress...

...When my children were youngsters, Pete would put a blanket on the roof and let the kids watch this annual aviation spectacle from the housetop. Today he might be arrested for child endangerment if he did that, but the 1980s were a simpler time. Again, I've derailed off topic.

It's great to see this cherished annual event, the Miramar Air Show featuring the Blue Angels, return to our city. In light of somber current events, it's reassuring to see a well-deserved spotlight on our military again. Thanks for standing in the gap for us. Be safe.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Plagued by Mistrust

Ebola has come to the USA. I've been waiting for it with a grim certainty that it would indeed arrive in our homeland.

How could it not get here? Despite multiple worldwide threats, both of our borders are wide open to God only knows who or what. US air travel to countries suffering mass outbreaks of the disease has not been limited, although Great Britain has awakened from oblivion and stopped flights in and out of West Africa. We continue to transport affected Americans back into our country. So naturally, the Ebola virus is doing what viruses do best--it's spreading.

I worry about Ebola, not so much for myself but for my son. He is a first responder who lives and works in close proximity to the southern US border. The CDC assures us that things are under control. Based on the track record of governmental agencies in recent years, I don't believe them. Do you?

Does the IRS operate with integrity? Does the Secret Service provide effective protection? Is the Veterans Administration well run? Is ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State the "jayvee team"? Are the borders secure?

Do I need to ask any more questions? Be careful out there, fellow Americans. Ebola is here, and we are on our own.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jihad in the Heartland?

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  ~ Matthew 24:42

It's almost surreal, how the beheading of an American woman at work quickly evaporated from all American MSM outlets within hours of Colleen Hufford's brutal murder.

The Hufford Home - Moore, Oklahoma
I've been watching the news, on various MSM alphabet TV channels, since it happened. These evening "infotainment" programs have been uniformly strict about avoiding any mention of the atrocity. This means the news anchors will yammer on for long minutes about celebrity weddings in Italy, a former president becoming a grandfather, and even stray grizzly bears wandering into backyards on Main Street, USA. They will cover any semblance of a story except the fact that a fanatical Muslim radical beheaded a coworker. I've had to research international news sources--many of which are quite rightly covering the story in depth, by the way--to read the report and find a photo of poor Mrs. Hufford.

American MSM is avoiding this major news story like the Ebola plague because it has all the elements of your worst left-wing nightmare. A Muslim convert, on record as having tried to convert fellow employees to Islam, is fired from his job. In a rage, he attacks an innocent coworker and beheads her, shouting Arabic phrases as he does so. But, as Mark Steyn so acerbically notes, this has "nothing to do with Islam." Of course not.

To make matters worse for our homegrown leftie journalists, a company executive who is also a reserve peace officer shot the killer while he was stabbing his second victim. The shooter saved the other victim's life. If not for Mark Vaughan carrying a weapon, there would have been at least two beheadings, possibly many more. Too much news coverage of that inconvenient truth represents quite a potential setback for the gun control agenda.

On to the killer's Facebook page, since removed, which was jam-packed with all the usual "death to the infidel" jihad garbage we in America have unfortunately become quite accustomed to hearing and seeing. His Muslim name, Jah'Keem Yisrael, was on there, along with photos of him in Muslim garb. But all this, again, has nothing to do with Islam. Of course not.

The grand finale, which I have found nowhere in mainstream news, is the story about the second Islamic beheading threat at another workplace in Oklahoma. Our liberal media can't bury that one fast enough. Another Muslim, threatening to behead someone? Nothing to do with Islam. Of course not.

There is only so much baloney that the American citizenry can swallow before spewing it back. People in the USA are waking up, and the politically correct crowd, including the media and the government, would be wise to keep in step. Islamic "lone wolves" might begin to see serious resistance from everyday people. Especially in heartland states like Oklahoma.

Does anyone, even the Islamic jihadists, really think that millions of everyday, hardworking Americans are going to surrender our country to the slavery of radical Islam? Of course not.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Thumbs-Up" Movie

Ut-oh. Things are about to get interesting...
Denzel Washington in The Equalizer
As is my policy with my favorite actor's films, I trundled off to the theater this weekend to see the new Denzel Washington movie, The Equalizer. Although some critics are bemoaning Denzel's recent forays into "aging action hero" roles, I enjoy watching anything he's in. In my opinion, he's that good.

The Equalizer was originally a 1980s television series with a British star playing mysterious hero Robert McCall. This modern film reboot brings vigilante justice and retribution to a whole new level, and it's not for the faint of heart. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, who teamed with Denzel Washington for this Ocscar-winning role in Training Day, the new-and-improved "Equalizer" Robert McCall is as righteous as Alonzo Harris was evil.

But oh, dear, how very messy the meting out of justly deserved vengeance can be. There is enough gruesome brutality in The Equalizer to merit an "R" rating for half a dozen movies. McCall plans his strikes with cool thinking and lightning speed, employing all types of everyday items in lethal applications. He then strolls through the wake of his considerable carnage with calm detachment, somewhat like a flesh-and-blood Terminator. He sustains a minor scratch or two while leaving one-man massacres behind. As I shielded my eyes at various violent moments, I thought how effective it would be for our nation's national security if we could drop a few real-life Robert McCalls into ISIS territory and just let them be creative for a week or two.

The Equalizer actually starts out somewhat slowly, a wise choice that gives characters and relationships space to build. There is even a bit of humor in the early scenes. It would be difficult to accept what unfolds later without learning our hero's human side. Robert McCall is saved from caricature by an enigmatic backstory that gives the viewer enough insight into his past to understand that he has suffered, loved, and lost--and is done with letting the bad guys win.

We all have our favorites entertainers. For me, Denzel Washington is without equal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cool It on Warming

AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Chris Huber
President Obama wants global action to fight climate change "while we still can." His warning continued with the grim admonition that the climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it.”

This from a man who stated that his nomination as the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate "was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..." As usual, it seems that Mr. Obama overestimated his effectiveness right from the start.

The actual data is quite a mixed bag, with variations of hotter and colder temperatures in various regions across the USA. For example, South Dakota had its earliest snowfall since 1888 on September 11, 2014. Yet the Western states suffer continuing drought conditions. This variance probably explains why "global warming" has been conveniently reclassified to "climate change." Because really, the idea of "global warming" in places like Rapid City, South Dakota, would be a hard sell right now.

Look, I don't know what the real deal is on "climate change." I don't think anyone else truly does, either. At the risk of proving myself a politically incorrect heretic, I have a few questions on the subject. Could so-called "climate change" possibly be "weather" in a state of flux? Can we ever see real "global" change actualized without huge, developing countries like China and India going green? How seriously am I supposed to take "limousine liberal" politicians and celebrities that fly hither and yon preaching climate doom while simultaneously leaving gargantuan carbon footprints in the wake of their private jets?

Just some of my thoughts on the weather. Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine before it's illegal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Man-Up Letdown

"Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." — George Washington Carver

Imagine the media outcry if, every time former President G.W. Bush had spoken about the aftermath of September 11, 2001, he mentioned the fact that his predecessor, President Bill Clinton, had let the opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden pass by. 

Did you ever hear President Bush mention Clinton's presidential decisions in relation to his own actions? Of course, none of us heard any such remarks. Bush was not a whiner. He took the rap for his own decisions, no matter how bad they may have seemed in hindsight.

Now, at the other end of the spectrum, we hear both bragging and whining. It wasn't long ago that the chest-thumping President Obama was boasting that terrorists were "on the run." Now, he feels he is trapped in a "sort-of" war because of decisions made over a decade ago. The troop withdrawal way "not his decision," yet he never tires of reminding us that he is the commander in chief.

So which is it? Does Mr. Obama make the decisions, or is he the victim of previous decisions? It's a wearying pastime, waiting for President Obama to take responsibility for anything that has occurred at home or abroad during the past six years. With two-plus years to go in the president's second term, there is most likely a mountain of excuses yet to be climbed.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rock On, USA

The Freedom Tower, 1,776-ft tall, rises where the Twin Towers stood until 9/11/01.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three Thoughts to Ponder

"On Friday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC continued their blackout on the latest Gallup poll numbers showing President Obama's approval rating at an all-time low of 38 percent." 
~ Curtis HouckNewsbusters

"President Obama...believes that when his ideology collides with reality, it is reality that must give. Reality does not see it that way."
~ Andrew C. McCarthy, NRO 

"The problem is the enemy always gets a vote." 
~ Jonah Goldberg, NRO

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A Chilling 20 Minutes

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Interviewed by congressional colleague John CampbellCongressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explains the imminent danger from ISIS with a clear honesty and depth of detail that you'll never hear from President Obama.

If you're at all interested in learning facts about the growing crisis in the Middle East and the terrible threat it poses to Western nations, make the time to click here and listen to this bone-chilling interview.

Rep. John Campbell (R-CA)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Coming Soon

Next week is the 13th anniversary of September 11, 2001. I, for one, am worried.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think we are going to get hit by Islamic terrorists as they celebrate their domination over the diminished United States and the worst president in our history. In the second video of the beheading of a US journalist, Steven Sotloff, the Islamo-butcher directly addresses "Obama." He knows a weak horse when he sees one.

And what does the president do? In a bored voice, he mentions an "international community" to help render ISIS a "manageable problem," refers to the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff as a "terrible crime," and talks about "justice" for the murderers. It sounds like he's referring to the vying gangs in West Side Story rather than the brutal terrorists intent on destruction of the USA.

Although it is the primary requirement of his job, it's clear that President Obama is not going to defend our country. He wants "international" participation. So we Americans are on our own, and we should take the threat of Islamic terrorism in our homeland very seriously and do whatever we can in our limited power.

I'm not the only American who is concerned, as you can read hereIf you live in any proximity to the US/Mexican border, be prepared. As is well known, our southern border is wide open, and we have no idea who is already here. It's perfectly plausible that uncounted numbers of terrorists are already comfortably ensconced in our towns and cities, awaiting their orders. We know the Islamic terrorists like anniversaries, so be ready for an attack on 9/11.

I'm not being an alarmist, just a pragmatist. I'm stocking up. Anyone living within 100 miles of the Mexican* border should have enough water, medical supplies, food, and dry goods at home to sustain your family and pets for a few weeks (Terrorist emergency preparedness list linked here). If nothing happens next week, fine. You won't have to shop as heavily for a week or so.

But if an Islamic terrorist attack does happen, you will be ready to withstand the aftermath as best you can--until the executive branch of government figures out that we're at war.

*UPDATE: I think it would be wise to include the Canadian border areas for those precautions, also. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to be prepared for a terrorist attack anywhere in the USA.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Stupid is As Stupid Does...

This is Number 10 in the countdown of "Canada's Top Ten List of America's Stupidity"--
Only in America...could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 per plate campaign fundraising event.
To read the complete Top Ten list, click here.

For more in the same vein, read "A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots." Below is an excerpt:
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots. 
The "Idiots" list has some continuing controversy over authorship, but as Shakespeare would have said, "the play's the thing." The message is blunt and clear, and the sad-but-true lists will have Americans laughing through our tears.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

He Really Said That?

"We don't have a strategy yet."
~ President Barack Obama, 8/28/14

Even for him it's incredible, but President Barack Obama actually made the statement quoted above in a press conference today. This is like having Homer Simpson as president, except for the fact that it's not only unfunny but downright dangerous.

In this chilling article, Victor Davis Hanson explains quite clearly why this president's thinking and lack of action is likely to get a lot of people killed, and not just in the Middle East.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Compare and Pardon

“The bargain that any president strikes with is, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you."
Candidate Barack Obama, 2008

Leaving the laughable "promise" quoted above aside, why can no news outlet mention President Obama's vacation time without dragging in the recreational record of former president George W. Bush?

Because they are making excuses and covering up for the current, very lavish Vacationer-in-Chief.

Nobody ever points out the fact that the Obama family vacations involve much greater expense of taxpayer funds than Bush hiatuses did. President Bush spent the overwhelming amount of his "time off" at the family residences--either the Texas ranch or the Maine home. Outside of the plane ride, there's not much extravagance involved in visiting your home. Contrast Bush's "stay-cations" with President Obama's repeated trips to Hawaii and Martha's Vineyard, not to mention his wife's forays to Spain, Aspen, and other exotic locales. Yet Bush's "days away from Washington" are pounded as evidence that President Obama, by comparison, is absolutely spartan in his vacation habits.

It's also worth mentioning that President Bush refrained from golf games beginning in 2003, because he felt it was inappropriate during the Iraq War. (He even has the good grace to defend President Obama's golf outings.) But considering the fact that President Obama was back on the green within an hour after giving his brief prepared statement of outrage over the beheading by ISIS of American journalist James Foley, I wonder what terrorist atrocity would qualify as worthy of eschewing a round of golf?

When the next inevitable "Big Hit" comes to the USA from Islamic terrorists, what will the liberal media's excuses be for our Golfer-in-Chief?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Go-See Movie

I think there's a message for us about the state of our world when a steady stream of post-apocalyptic stories involving young people battling their cruel, futuristic societies shows up at the movies. The popular Hunger Games franchise, Divergent, and the upcoming The Maze Runner are some prime examples. The movie The Giver, in current release, is yet another.

Without spilling any spoilers, I can only say what you probably already know--The Giver depicts a cold and emotionless future. In this rigidly structured society, there is one person who is selected to carry the memories of human emotion and experience, both good and evil. The Giver passes his ancient knowledge along to the Receiver, who will in turn pass his secrets on to the chosen one of the next generation.

The book The Giver, which predated all of its aforementioned counterparts, was written by Lois Lowry, published in 1993, and is the first of a four-book series. I don't know what took Hollywood so long to get to this one, but it's a shame they waited. By now, the teenaged-hero-saving-the-world meme is somewhat shopworn. Despite a cast that includes Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, the box office has been lackluster. I think it's worth a go-see, because The Giver is a really good story. In fact, after seeing the movie, I'd like to read the book.

It is apparent to the viewer that the movie is only skimming the surface of the book's important themes very relevant to our times, such as the intrinsic value of each human life, the deep need for individual and cultural differences, and the consequential choices between good and evil. The film ends rather abruptly, which leaves the audience wondering about a sequel. I hope there is one; I, for one, will see it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Facts for Ferguson

Andrew C. McCarthy reviews Attorney General Eric Holder's visit to Ferguson, Missouri, in this NRO column. It's an article intended for readers interested in common sense and legal reality, not emotion and reaction.

Below is an excerpt:

If the Justice Department would not open a civil-rights investigation based on a black police officer’s shooting of a civilian, whatever the victim’s race, then a white officer is just as entitled to that presumption of innocence. It is no more legitimate for the Justice Department to target a white cop for being white than for a white cop to target a black man for being black. Both would be examples of what the civil-rights laws call “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

McCarthy is the former US attorney who led the prosecution of the terrorists responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Faith and Fate

"It didn't make sense, but faith did."
~ Jim Foley

When journalist Jim Foley was held prisoner the first time he was captured, in Libya in
Jim Foley -
2011, he prayed the Rosary on his knuckles. We can't know, but I would guess he probably followed the same practice during his second captivity before his brutal execution by Islamic terrorists.

No stranger to mortal peril, Jim Foley seemed to face his gruesome death with resignation and an acceptance that his luck had run out. The covert rescue attempt by US Special Forces earlier this summer was unsuccessful; there's a story there, too, that may emerge in time.

I've only seen still photos taken immediately before his murder; I will never watch the video. You can't "unsee" something, so I choose not to carry that memory. It's enough to remember that Foley's life made a difference, in ways we may not yet understand.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Defining Terrorism

Words can be very effective vehicles of communication. They can also be completely misused to the point that true comprehension becomes impossible. In today's media, we see far more of the incomprehensible than the effective.

For example, let's review popular media descriptions of the Islamic terrorists. I insist on the use of the word terrorist, as it is the most accurate. (We'll get to that.) In news reports and political-speak, the Islamic terrorist murderers are alternately referred to as "militants," "extremists," "insurgents," and, my personal favorite euphemism, "rebels."

The most overused term seems to be "militant,"so let's take a look at the primary meaning of that word, according to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition:

Militant - 1. engaged in warfare or combat: FIGHTING

That's a good start, but let's unpack that definition. What do the words "warfare" and "combat" mean?

warfare - 1. military operations between enemies: HOSTILITIES, WAR
combat - 1. a fight or contest between individuals or groups: CONFLICT, CONTROVERSY

Based on these definitions, how does the word "militant" apply to the deliberate murders of peaceful civilians, including the executions of unarmed men, women and children? Far from being "enemies," these innocent Iraqi Yazidi and Christian victims were families living their own lives with no ill will towards others when they were forced from their homes, many into horrific deaths at the hands of violent terrorists. There were no "military operations" on the part of those fleeing the terrorists; they sought no "fight or contest." But that didn't matter to the terrorists, who just wanted these people dead because they were not Muslim.

Which brings me, as promised, to the definition of terrorist:

Terrorist - 1. one who applies the systematic use of terror esp. as a means of coersion. 

To terrorize means "to fill with terror or anxiety: SCARE." 

Terrorism. Terrorists. Terrorize. These are the words that effectively communicate the evil that is occurring in Middle East. I wish that media representatives and government officials alike would start calling reality what it is. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Writing vs. Editing: A War of Words

I see but one rule: to be clear.

As both a writer and an editor, I found this piece, "Against Editors," to be a fun read.

I think that being a writer first, an editor second, is a good combination. The written word is a writer's baby. To watch a red/blue pencil do damage to carefully constructed writing can cause actual physical pain. When I'm editing, I keep that fact in mind. It helps me to avoid making edits:
  1.  For the sake of change
  2.  To make it read like I would write it
  3.  That would change the author's "voice"
I try very hard to confine my edits to:
  1. Spelling
  2. Grammar
  3. Punctuation
  4. Clarification
While the first three concerns are by-the-book, the fourth is a gray area. If I don't understand exactly what the writer is expressing, I'll flag that line and ask my question. No writer wants a confused reader, and the editor is the first audience for any written piece. It's an editor's job to call out any ambiguity. It's the writer's prerogative to accept or reject the validity of such challenges.

Writers tend to appreciate all the above considerations. Remaining a writer first and an editor second, for me, is the best approach.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Golf and War

"There being not much happening around the world at the moment, the President played golf today..."
~ Mark Steyn

Photo: PJ Media
No matter how grim the circumstances, Mark Steyn can find a way to make me smile. His effectiveness as a sharply humorous chronicler of current events has landed him in legal hot water. As is a well-known fact, the progressive "Thought Police" don't much relish being made light of. Disciples of accepted left-wing gospel truths are usually as serious as a heart attack and can be just as dangerous to life.

No amount of humor can hide the fact that we are in serious trouble. We have no national leader at present, a first in my lifetime. Even President Jimmy Carter made the effort, as ineffective as it was. Our current president seems completely disinterested in our role as a country and an ally. He'll chime in on race-baiting whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, I haven't ever seen race relations this bad--and I grew up in the '60s. I'll chalk that up to part of President Obama's "legacy."

The dangers we face today--strengthening Russian aggression, barbaric Islamic terrorism and genocide, disintegration of our southern border--are not worthy of the president's tee-time. Yet even if he switches to his bike ride in an effort to avoid it, the sand trap of the Middle East yawns before us with no way around it.

Regardless of who he choses to blame, this is Obama's war, and it's one that his disinterest has needlessly driven us into.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another Fallen Star

There are so few of the great stars remaining from Hollywood's golden age, and Lauren Bacall was one of the brightest left to us. Over the decades, she had endured as a legend of that era.

It's famous show business lore that she and Humphrey Bogart were a team both on and off the silver screen. They married, had children, and parted only at Bogart's untimely death in 1957. The story of her trademark "look" is also well known; Bacall said she was so nervous on camera that she could only keep her head from shaking by lowering her chin and casting her eyes upwards.

Screen icons such as Bacall are unique and irreplaceable. It's some comfort that she will always shine on in her films.
Lauren Bacall ~ 1924-2014