Movies Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

In Canada, strip searches from possession of a deadly … crayon.

Also from the Great White North, government intrusion into homeschool, saying that Christian parents can’t teach a Biblical view of homosexuality. Freedom of religion is being chipped away slowly enough that most don’t see it.

If Obama is some post-racial president, why is he launching "African Americans for Obama"?

Medical "ethicists" are seriously arguing that post-birth newborns are "not persons" and can ethically be "aborted".

With all the religious implications of Obama’s policies, you’d think he’d have kept around his faith-based council for advice. Nope, they’ve just faded away.

Movie reviewers of the liberal persuasion are all for anti-war, anti-military or pro-environmental message movies, but that idea gets thrown out when they disapprove of the message. Suddenly, it’s "propaganda".

Scofflaw Democrats. "The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 further provides that if, for two years in a row, more than 45% of Medicare funding is coming from general revenues rather than Medicare taxes, the president must submit legislation to Congress to address the Medicare funding crisis. President Bush dutifully followed the law, but President Obama has ignored it for the last three years."

Obama claims that we can’t drill our way out of the energy problem, and then, in the same speech, notes that domestic oil production is at it’s highest level in 8 years. Because we drilled! Can’t have it both ways, Mr. President, but the press will try to let you have it.

    Friday Link Wrap-up

    The deficit commission that President Obama convened agrees that most of ObamaCare should be kept.  Unfortunately, they believe in order to keep it fiscally sustainable is for it to include Death Panels.  They laughed at Sarah Palin for predicting this.  I don’t hear anyone laughing now.

    Speaking of Sarah Palin, Richard Cohen (no conservative, he) just can stop reading about (and apparently, can’t stop writing about) the former Alaska governor.  And in writing about her and her beliefs, he includes this bit of honesty:

    The left just doesn’t get America. I say this as a fellow-traveler of liberalism and as one who recognizes that many liberals fear the heartland. They see it as a dark place of primitive religions and too many guns. For such a person, Palin is the perfect personification of the unknown and feared Ugly American who will emerge from the heartland to seize Washington, turning off all the lights and casting America into darkness. The left does not merely disagree with the right; it fears it.

    Hospitals closing or ridden with crime.  Doctors quitting the medical practice or leaving the country to find greener pastures in which to practice.  Shortages of medical supplies.  While these are predictions of what will come with ObamaCare, we have yet another example of where socialized medicine is failing.  Mr. Obama, call Mr. Chavez to find out how well it’s working in Venezuela.  (Hint:  It’s not.)

    The Christmas song “Silver Bells” was inspired by the sound of Salvation Army bell-ringers outside department stores.  But apparently familiarity breeds contempt.

    The character of Aslan in the Narnia series of books, as well established in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, is an allegory for Jesus Christ.  That was C. S. Lewis’ purpose.  But Liam Neeson, who provides the voice for Aslan in the movie series, has apparently been infected with the political correctness syndrome that pervades Hollywood.

    Ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next Thursday, Neeson said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.

    ‘That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.’

    Mohammed and Buddha died for your sins?  Really?

    Does Romans chapter 1 condemn homosexuality?  Some interpret it in such a way that it doesn’t, in spite of the words chosen.  John Stott takes apart such interpretations.

    Bryan Longworth had an interesting tweet the other day.  “Comprehensive sex ed has been taught in schools 4 over 40 years. The results? Epedemic #STIs. How’s perversion working 4 U?”  Not so well, judging by the results.

    And finally, Chuck Asay has some words for Democrats who are ostensibly fighting for the workers.  (Click for a larger version.)

    image

      Friday Link Wrap-up

      Leave it to Newsweek to call family films "shameful" for not fulfilling their PC feminist quotas.  With so much that is actually shameful coming out of Hollywood, you’d think they’d have more to deal with than "Finding Nemo".

      Robert Robb of The Arizona Republic asks:

      What will it take for economic policymakers to understand that the chief problem today is uncertainty? And that until they quit moving significant pieces of fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy around, the uncertainty won’t abate?

      Quite a lot, apparently.  If jobs start getting created after big Republican wins in November, it’ll likely be because the "Party of No" will be there to curb this uncertainty.

      If 91% of white voters had voted against Obama, some would have called it partially due to racism.  If 91% of black support him, can that be partially attributed to racism?  Jerome Hudson considers this.

      The New York Times trumpets how well the civilian court system is for dealing with terrorism it when a terrorist pleads guilty and is sentenced.  Um, that’s not a real test of the system, guys.  A trial is the way to test it, and a terrorist trial going on in the civilian system was dealt a huge blow.  Do we want to chance, perhaps, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed getting off on a technicality?

      Glasses that give perfect vision for any type of eyesight, even if you need bifocals?  Looks possible!

      And finally, the longest stretch of 9.5+ percent unemployment since the 1930s has not been mitigated one bit by the two highest deficits since 1945.  Given liberal claims, we ought to have been sailing out of this by now.  Can we finally put that "government spending fixes the economy" meme to bed?

        Why Sex & Nudity is Down in Movies

        This is the title of a post by Phil Cooke on his blog "The Change Revolution".  Phil is a Christian media consultant (that is, a consultant to Christian media) and has had some big name clientsHis bio is impressive.

        But I think he’s not giving churches and other Christian organizations enough credit.  As to why the changes in movies are happening, why the reduction in sex and nudity, this is his answer:

        Wal-Mart.

        That’s right. In 2007, the major Hollywood studios made $17.9 billion in DVD sales. The catch? $4 billion (nearly 25%) was made from selling to Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. But Wal-Mart actually has a policy that forces any movie with high sexuality and nudity away from the areas of highest visibility in their stores. They take those DVD’s and put them in an "adult" section that’s much harder for customers to see.

        Why do they do it? They don’t want to offend moms. They know mothers are there to get family oriented DVD’s for their kids, and they represent a huge market for Wal-Mart.

        OK, fair enough.  And here’s what he says isn’t working.

        Although it might be hard to believe, sexuality and nudity is actually going down in movies today. And a number of Christian organizations are taking the credit. Some raise money based on telling the public they work in Hollywood "consulting" the studios, and others say they boycott or apply pressure from the outside. I don’t need to mention them, but they jump to the forefront when statistics indicate that sexuality in movies have dropped over the last number of years, and are the first in line to take credit. But the truth is, that’s bunk.

        His conclusion:

        Is it religious ministry organizations making the difference? Nope. Studios are discovering that it’s simply good business.

        I’m not sure that the conclusion necessarily follows. He zeroes in on Moms making good choices, but if we zoom out just a tad, isn’t it very likely that many of those moms are actively participating in a boycott of some sort?  Isn’t it at least possible that knowledge of certain religious organizations’ views influence their choices? 

        And what of Wal-Mart itself?  The Walton family has a background in the Presbyterian Church USA and have given millions to that church.  I find it highly likely that their decisions for the stores is influenced by their church and other religious ministries.

        Are bees responsible for the production of fruit on trees?  Nope.  Each individual bee is just hungry.  OK, not the best analogy, but hopefully it serves to show that if you look too closely, you can miss a much larger picture.  I’m surprised that a guy like Cooke can miss something like this.  Perhaps the influence of religious organizations isn’t as big as those organizations themselves think.  But Cooke’s analysis by no means proves they have no influence.

        Salt and light work.

          Friday Link Wrap-up

          Isn’t government supposed to enforce the laws it makes?   Well, it looks like the Obama administration has a bit more leeway.

          How’s that Gitmo-closing promise coming along, 5 months after its due date?  "The House Armed Services Committee has dealt a blow to President Obama’s hopes to shutter the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by unanimously approving legislation that would prohibit creating a detention center inside the United States."  Aren’t there one or two Democrats on that committee?

          The Hollywood Left just loves their socialists.

          American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

          Promoting his new documentary "South of the Border" in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for "social transformation" in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia’s Evo Morales to Cuba’s Raul Castro.

          "I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. … He shouldn’t be on television all the time," Stone said at a news conference. "As a director I say you don’t want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way."

          (We’re not entirely sure whether Stone said "director" or "dictator" at the end there.  Either can be overpowering.)

          When the director of the Congressional Budget Office directly refutes cost-saving claims of the President and his Budget Director, it’s worth noting.  Even the NY Times (finally) notices.

          How’s that "smart diplomacy" workin’ for ya’?  Please remember; speeches are no substitute for sound policy.

          Marry a Jew, lose your citizenship.  Can armbands with the Star of David be far behind?  Tell me again, who are the bad guys in the Middle East peace situation?

          How did the pollsters do predicting the recent primary results?  About as good as expected, which isn’t saying much.  And the Daily Kos fired its official pollster, Research 2000.  Turns out they skewed left.  Now who would have thought that?  This time, however, it was downright embarrassing. 

          And finally, Chuck Asay on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  (Click for a larger image.)

          Chuck Asay

            Paging Montgomery Scott

            This is just too cool not to make mention of.

            Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world’s most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium’ previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

            It was Scotty who gave the molecular formula for the fictional "transparent aluminum" to a present-day Plexiglas guy in the movie.  It includes my favorite line to say to my laptop when it seems to be seized up.  Scotty, before using the "quaint" keyboard, attempts to get the attention of the Macintosh in front of him by speaking into the mouse, "Hello, computah", in his classic Scottish brogue. 

              "Hollywood Produces What the Public Wants"

              No.  No, they don’t.

              A new three-year study of the Top 25 movies released in 2006-2008 earning the most money overseas shows that international moviegoers prefer clean movies with strong or very strong Christian, moral and/or redemptive content and values.

              This study is significant because it matches our annual study of the Top 25 Movies at the Box Office in America and Canada and the top home video sales annually, and because Hollywood now makes more money overseas than it does in the United States.

              The Movieguide® study found that 20 of the Top 25 movies overseas in 2006-2008, or 80%, contained strong or very strong Christian, moral, redemptive, and even biblical content, earning $8.39 billion out of $10.59 billion total, or 79.2% of the money among the Top 25.

              That’s an average of $419.5 million per movie!

              This is just another in a long line of studies showing the same thing.  OK, then, so why do they produce so much junk?

                Shire Network News #158 has been released. The feature interview is with former Muslim, Adil Zeshan talking about the recent incident in Luton in which returning soldiers were abused in the streets of Luton by Muslim protesters.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

                Below is the text of my commentary. It’s a little longer than the actual segment, since I cut out the quote from Ron Silver’s article because of time constraints.


                Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

                Ron Silver, actor and political activist, died last week of cancer at 62.  Ron was a TV, movie and theater actor in the U.S. From the late 70s sitcom "Rhoda" to playing Bruno Gianelli on "The West Wing", to movies like "Ali", "Silkwood", "Kissinger and Nixon" and "Timecop", Silver was certainly not one to be typecast.  But that resistance to being easily pigeon-holed extended to more than just his acting roles. 

                The phrase that I said earlier, "actor and political activist", usually connotes a person who has devoted their life to unwavering support of liberal causes.  Indeed, Silver did found the liberal lobby group Creative Coalition with the likes of Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin.  He went on the stump for Bill Clinton.  He was in favor of abortion rights and gun control.  What do you call a guy like that?

                In Hollywood, they call you a "libertarian" or a "neo-con".  No, really, that’s what he’s been called.  Why is that?

                Well, there was a seminal event a bit over 7 years ago that caused Ron Silver to change the label he used for his political alignment.  You might have heard of it; it was in all the papers, and I mean all of them.  After that event, he called himself "a 9/11 Republican".  You know the type; we have several on staff here at SNN.  The events of that day caused him to re-evaluate some of his views, and in an article he wrote in December of 2007, he explained why he took the terrorists seriously.

                International Affairs 101 looks at intentions and capabilities. If my five-year-old son declares the United States his enemy and he intends to destroy it, call me crazy but I take it with a grain of salt. (Although I will monitor more closely what he’s watching on TV and check the parental controls on the computer.) If a group of people have the same intention as my son but they may represent the feelings of hundreds of thousands or more likely millions upon millions of people I take the threat more seriously. And when these folks have successfully attacked our military, our diplomats, and our cities and civilian population, well yeah, I take them at their word. Perhaps I didn’t when they officially declared war on us more than 10 years ago, but they’ve certainly got my attention now.

                Silver didn’t think his fellow Democrats took this threat seriously, so he switched to the GOP.  He came out in support of President George W. Bush in this regard.  He narrated the film "Fahrenhype 9/11", the rebuttal to Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11".  He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.  And continuing in his rethinking of liberal dogma he had unquestioningly believed, he produced a film questioning whether the United Nations was actually fulfilling it’s ideals.

                While filming episodes of "The West Wing", this change of heart, on these few issues, got him greeted on the set with chants of "Ron, Ron, the neo-con", which, while he acknowledged it was said in fun, still "had an edge".  Alec Baldwin, commenting on this change while writing about Silver’s passing, labeled him a "libertarian".  Never mind all the other issues with which he lined up with them; he failed the orthodoxy test and thus had a scarlet "GOP" sewed to his garments.

                By the way, there was another member of "The West Wing" cast that agree with Ron’s position.  However, Ron said, "he was smarter than me. He donated to the Democrats and made sure his vote for Bush stayed quiet.”  Y’know, somewhere, Senator Joe McCarthy is lying in his grave watching the Irony Meter go off the scale.

                So let the passing of Ron Silver give us some lessons.  The Hollywood liberal elite is lockstep liberal and very elite.  Stick a pinky toe off the line and prepare to be marginalized, even after you’re dead.  And remember this when these folks talk about their support for the First Amendment.  "I’ll defend your right to say it (but then it’s open season, baby)."  When they sit in front of Congress trying to push their pet project of the month, remember Ron Silver, and consider this.

                  What Would We Do Without Studies?

                  They spent money on this?

                  Sexual content on television is strongly associated with teen pregnancy, a new study from the RAND Corporation shows.

                  Researchers at the nonprofit organization found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years. It is the first study to demonstrate this association, RAND said.

                  Next week, RAND comes out with their study that gravity leads to falling.

                  The suggested remedy is equally obvious.

                  A central message from the study is that there needs to be more dialogue about sex in the media, particularly among parents and their children, said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND.

                  Although the Hollywood culture is certainly a major contributor to the oversexualization of the media (and they could do their part, but won’t, and will whine publicly and loudly if you suggest they do), parents still need to be the gatekeeper.

                  As my kids would say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious!"

                    Not Exactly A Documentary

                    From the website for Bill Maher’s new movie, "Religulous":

                    The documentary RELIGULOUS follows political humorist and author Bill Maher ("Real Time With Bill Maher," "Politically Incorrect") as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion.  Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent with and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey.

                    Well, no, he did not bring his "characteristic honesty" with him.

                    For a guy that has practically made a career out of regularly accusing the Bush administration of lying to get America into a war, comedian Bill Maher clearly isn’t opposed to telling fibs if it serves his financial interests.

                    Such was exposed by CNN Monday when Maher and the director of his new film "Religulous" admitted — without the slightest hint of remorse — they had lied to get people — including political and religious figures — to appear in the movie.

                    In fact, one evangelical pastor said that he thought he was participating in a PBS documentary and never would have agreed to the project if he had been told Maher was involved

                    The NewsBusters site has a transcript of the interview.  Calling it a comedy is one thing, but lying about it and passing it off as an honest documentary suggests that Maher may need to get some religion himself.

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