The iconic song is often considered America’s alternative national anthem but is currently the subject of a copyright dispute, intended to keep it out of the public domain. Familiar to virtually every schoolchild, folksinger Woody Guthrie’s famous theme, “This Land Is Your Land”, has been sung everywhere from a Jeep Super Bowl commercial to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and even by Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger at the Lincoln Memorial at a pre-inaugural concert for President Obama.
The new film “Star Trek Beyond” opened this week, 50 years after the first NBC-TV episode in 1966. William Shatner aka Capt. James Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise, now 85, says, “for Star Trek to remain in the public Consciousness 50 years later is a phenomenon beyond belief.”
Pamela Geller already has it. There are no details other than six are in custody for the crowd-mowing jihadi attack in Nice last week. The estranged wife of the Albanian man involved has been released and is not a suspect.
Caving to pressure from 800 alumni of Ramaz, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, retired principal of the prestigious New York yeshiva, canceled his agreement to deliver a prayer at the Republican National Convention. Many questions arise from both the alumni petition and the rabbi’s decision to withdraw.
>As he methodically laid out the case against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private, unsecure server and email accounts to carry out all of her official government business as secretary of state before declining to recommend criminal charges, FBI Director James B. Comey left out one major piece of evidence. It’s the one piece of the puzzle that truly nails her, since it demonstrates consciousness of guilt.
If your heroes are Noam Chomsky and Jesse Jackson, or if you’re a fan of parenting by dictatorial narcissists who retreat to the wilderness and isolate their children from society - you may enjoy Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortenson. The normally swoon-worthy and photogenic actor is buried below a massive beard so you’ll have to wait till the end to see his adorable chin but in the meantime, you can count the many way that this movie, which should have been titled Captain Fanatic, fails to deliver.
Members of the Obama administration and their wingmen in the press have been busy conjuring up ways to change the narrative from the truth — that this was an act of war against the United States — to lies necessitated by their ideological agenda. The carnage had barely stopped before they reached for the terminology of “hate crime,” because that’s something they think they know how to manage: define it, prosecute it, exploit it for political purposes.
You could have surprised me when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, lord of the outliers, let it be known that he is considering Newt Gingrich, lord of the insiders, as a possible pick for vice president.
The Septembers of Shiraz is not only a compelling movie but an important one to see. Based on the book by Dalia Sofer which recreated the experiences of her own family, the film is the only one I can recall dealing with the plight of Iranian Jews after the fall of the Shah and the takeover by Ayatollah Khomeini. Its contemporary importance is heightened by the recent agreement between the US and Iran and the threat that this poses to Israel and to the many middle-eastern Jews persecuted by Muslims in countries that were formerly hospitable to them. They all learned first-hand how brutal that persecution was - confiscation of wealth and property, imprisonment, torture, expulsion or death.
In a searing performance by Adrien Brody, the character of Isaac goes from that of a successful gemologist and jeweler to the Empress to a bewildered man imprisoned summarily and beaten into submission in an attempt to force him to divulge the whereabouts of his shady brother and his own fortune. His family is never told of his whereabouts or whether he is still alive and part of the story concerns their own travails. The faithful housekeeper who has been with them for many years begins to be influenced by her militant son who believes the propaganda that anyone with money has gotten it by stealing what rightfully belongs to the common, less fortunate man. In this case, forgetting the paternal kindness exhibited by Isaac when the housekeeper and her son were homeless and poverty-stricken, the son steals the jewels and furnishings of the business and threatens to further blackmail Isaac in a way that could prove fatal.
In a surprisingly sensitive role, Salma Hayek portrays an adoring wife and mother who has enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle but is now plunged into a state of uncertainty and fear for all their lives. She and her young daughter must adjust to the ongoing anxiety of not knowing where Isaac is or whether they will ever see him alive again. Though primarily known for her beauty, Ms. Hayek does a substantial acting job and is additionally credited as producer. At a time when there is so much discussion about American “Islamophobia,” this movie is a reminder of the very legitimate reasons for our fear. The images of dead bodies strung up along the main thoroughfare of Teheran, the brutality of guards placing a prisoner against a wall and using his body for target practice, the swift indoctrination of the populace into compliance with Islamic authority are all bold indictments of an aggressive ideology that should be feared. The pervasive anti-semitism that is endemic to this culture vividly illustrates why Israel is in trepidation of Iranian nuclear power. By using the travails of one family rather than a more general overview, the film allows us to experience the emotional spiral of despair these people underwent. See The Septembers of Shiraz - it will force you to confront some ugly and powerful truths and it will leave you both shaken and stirred.
The most recent Islamic act of war, in which self-professed Islamic State jihadi Omar Mir Seddique Mateen slaughtered 49 people and injured scores of others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., should be a game changer. The deadliest attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, should finally convince our leadership that dealing with the Islamic threat must no longer be business as usual.
The presidents were not all men of greatness. The briefest stroll through the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s exhibit on the presidents confirms that. There was dim party tool Warren G. Harding and crony catspaw Ulysses S. Grant. The feckless and imbecilic James Buchanan and the tragically twisted Richard Nixon.
In a hazardous year for political predictions, I’ll offer one confidently: if the Republicans currently freaking out over Donald Trump can redirect that energy toward beating Hillary Clinton, she’s toast.
In late October 1969, Richard Nixon took out one of his famous yellow legal pads to jot down some thoughts. The new president was faced with serious global and domestic turmoil. The Soviet Union had initiated a nuclear buildup, the Middle East was aflame (some things never change), and the war in Vietnam raged on. At home, the war drove hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets, convulsing a nation already seething from the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and a growing countercultural movement.
Some 40 percent of voting-age Americans don’t exercise their right to vote, according to the Pew Research Center. It could be fear–not disenchantment or indifference – that keeps some people away from the polls.
Let’s start with the misguided decision to have famed editor Maxwell Perkins wear a hat indoors in every scene of this film. Undoubtedly it was stimulated by the biography on which this movie is based, but for viewers who haven’t read that book, it becomes a joke to see a cultured intellectual sit at a dinner table with his elegant wife and daughters wearing the hat that he wore with his winter coat when he walked through the front door of his elegant home. You just know that any wife played by Laura Linney would have glared at him and not allowed the meal to commence before the hat was removed. Since the movie never rises to that level of emotional truth, it won’t be a spoiler to reveal that its ultimate removal is meant to signify a larger than life sentiment.
Venezuela was once heralded as the vanguard of a new South America. Today it is a failed state and the only problem is that characterization might be considered unfair to failed states in less dire straights. Rarely has an industrialized country fallen so far, so fast. The country is on the verge of total social collapse, currently experiencing shortages of electricity, foodstuffs, and basic medicines. Even fresh water must be rationed. Infants and mothers die routinely in Venezuelan hospitals. The murder rate in the capital, Caracas, is 120/100,000 people, six times greater than the murder rate in Chicago. Inflation, bribery, and corruption are rampant.
If you ever have the misfortune of stumbling onto a site called Prishtina Insight (a contradiction in terms), spare yourself the agony of reading even a single article. It appears to be a collection of Albanian “thinkers” pondering why things like visa liberalization don’t move faster for Kosovo (never mind that it’s not even a country yet, and was never supposed to be in the first place). A writer named Besa Shahini “analyzes” the “discrimination” against Kosovo on this front, while fellow columnist Gezim Krasniqi cheers “Kosovar sport’s fight for international recognition and glory” — despite international sports bodies generally only accepting membership of actual countries. Like EU membership itself. Yet in both cases, as always, rules are made up special for Kosovo as we go, and it muscles its way into all kinds of memberships, thanks to its Washington enforcers. An excerpt from Krasniqi’s May 11th article:
In the foreign policy and national security field, one way to “eyeball” the seriousness of a potential threat that one country poses to another is to use the formula: Threat = military capabilities + political intent.
If Alice were an 18 year old American college freshman, she would be protected by Title IX from any hint of sexual harassment or molestation. Even if she consented to climb into bed with a guy she had already had sex with many times, voluntarily peeled off all her clothes and had a black belt in karate, if she changed her mind at any time in her romantic encounter, the government would defend her as if she were a hothouse flower outdoors in a hurricane. If she spent her evening getting drunk with her partner, he alone would be held responsible for any advances while she would remain a helpless victim with no agency. Under the same rubric of Title IX, if Alice were a younger girl in elementary or high school, she would be expected to change in a locker room or shower in a communal facility with bi-gender members of the opposite sex. The government now demands that young Alice be cool with seeing boys on hormone therapy with both breasts and penises. How odd that so much more is expected of Alice as a child than when she is actually old enough to be responsible for her own behavior as well as enlist in the army and be killed for her country.
With its shattering of old-school political rules, the dominance of colorful personalities and the raging desire to smash the establishment status quo, the 2016 campaign has been wild. And yet, not everyone is paying as close attention to the race as might be expected. Women, in particular, apparently have better things to do.
Without surcease, the progressive law-givers scold the rest of us about the evils of bullying. Much of it, they say, is the bullying of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning and gender fluid children by those ugly, ignorant little monsters who can’t stand change and who are on the wrong side of history.
Certainly the most famous transgender in America is Caitlin Jenner who has graced the cover of many magazines, occupied two slots on reality t.v., received recognition and many awards from the media, the LGBTQ movement and praise from the president of the U.S. Her Woman of the Year award from Glamour magazine for her “courage” in telling her story prompted the return of a similar award issued in 2001 to first responder police officer Moira Smith who rushed into the South Tower to save lives on 9/11, dying at the age of 38. Her husband questioned why this award was now being given to a man when there were so many heroic women in the military, police force, fire bigades or medical teams who put their lives on the line daily. Less forgivable was President Obama’s own use of the word “courage” coming from his position as Commander in Chief with dedicated troops offering their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and various other global hotspots. That same word simply doesn’t apply to a man squeezing himself into a bustier, hiding his package between his thighs and posing for the cover of a magazine whose title more aptly fits the situation - Vanity Fair.
The university has declared that members of the all-male off-campus eating clubs will no longer be eligible for leadership positions on campus, including captains of sports teams. They will also be refused recommendations for post-graduate scholarships and fellowships. These restrictions will equally apply to all-female clubs and single sex fraternities and sororities. Presumably, the impetus for integrating the all-male clubs came from surveys and interviews with women who felt that an atmosphere of misogyny and sexual misconduct was re-enforced at these venues and since sexual assault is apparently a pandemic threat to women on campus, the obvious remedy is to alter the venue. It seems that Harvard students don’t read the classics anymore or they would have immediately thought of the Lysistrata solution for women to simply not attend gatherings, parties or any other events that take place at the offending clubs. Boycotts are popular at all the Ivies and they don’t require anything more than a signature on a petition and negative attendance - both of which students are good at. The boycott would guarantee zero sexual assault of women if no women showed up and before long, those lame-brained, horny men might figure out the problem and check their privilege without administrative interference.