Memorial Day Weekend Is Coming. Where Will Your President Be?

Hint: It’s not Arlington National Cemetery.

Nope, he’ll be vacationing in Chicago.  Oh, he’ll manage to find time in his busy schedule to say a few words at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, but the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington?  That’s what vice presidents are for, apparently.  It’s not like Obama’s the commander-in-chief or anything…

To quote Doug Powers: “I’m starting to think that West Point speech wasn’t from the heart.”

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The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

A Special Message to My Special Friend Marcus

I made a new friend recently!  He goes by the screen name “Marcus Brutus,” and attended my school, Hillsdale College, some time ago.  Unfortunately, thanks to our disagreements about Ron Paul and the War on Terror, we didn’t exactly hit it off.

“Marcus” wants me to know that he fared much better academically than he supposes I did: “I’ll ask [Hillsdale President] Dr. [Larry P.] Arnn at the next fundraiser if you’ve had a chance to examine that desk of his yetmy name is on plaques at Hillsdale, and yours isn’t.” He doesn’t think I have much “intellectual cultivation,” or that I’d make it “as a secretary for any office in any level of the federalist society in [his] chapter.”  Why, my heart positively shatters! (I don’t presume to be some great scholar, and I confess that I haven’t a single plaque to my name, but in my defense, I’m not exactly dead weight.)

His intellect, by contrast, is highly cultivated, and it’s very, very important for him that his readers know just how much, via seemingly-endless references to Scripture, English history, ancient Athens, and such.  Since graduating, he professes to have had quite the accomplished career—Marine Corps, Iraq, application to the bar, even some time spent in Israel.

Unfortunately, I don’t think “Marcus’s” way of going about things is doing him any favors.  In the spirit of friendship, allow me to humbly offer my fellow Hillsdalian some helpful advice.

Continue reading

Of Frogs and Fatwas

Little Green Freakshow Watch: Charles Johnson runs selectively-edited footage in a post entitled, “Glenn Beck: Frog Killer.”  Beck responds to the controversy, during which he states the title of Johnson’s post.  The conclusion?  “Glenn Beck Lies About LGF.”  Honestly, at this point what can you say to somebody like Charles Johnson, aside from either “go to hell” or “please seek psychiatric help”?

As to the original controversy that led Beck to ruthlessly murder that poor, rubber frog—Beck’s contention that John McCain winning the election would have been worse for America than Barack Obama’s victory—it’s a view I was once sympathetic to, but I ultimately came around (mostly due to foreign policy) and voted for McCain.  As bad as McCain is on the issues, I think it’s safe to say he wouldn’t be putting 9/11 Truthers or deranged eugenicists in positions of power.  He wouldn’t be redefining the standard for acceptable deficits.  And most importantly, a McCain Administration wouldn’t abandon missile defense, sell out Israel, underestimate Iran’s threat, waver on Afghanistan, or side with tyranny over democracy in Honduras.

As to the idea that McCain-backed liberalism wouldn’t be opposed to the degree Obama-backed liberalism is currently: I think there’s probably truth to that at the congressional level, but not at the grassroots.  How far did George W. Bush get on Harriet Miers, amnesty, or the United Arab Emirates deal?

I was wrong then, and Glenn Beck is wrong now.

Movie Review: “An American Carol”

Lots of conservatives (me included) got excited back when David Zucker’s An American Carol was announced.  As a fierce, openly conservative film from mainstream Hollywood talent, it sparked hopes that it could bring conservative messages to segments of the population the Right doesn’t normally reach and bring about a larger conservative presence in American pop culture.  Unfortunately, it didn’t do all that well commercially.  I’ve seen it a couple times now, and have some thoughts on what worked, and what went wrong.

To recap for those unfamiliar, An American Carol tells the tale of a sleazy, America-hating director who has been recruited by two bumbling al-Qaeda terrorists to produce a recruitment video, but the spirits of past American heroes (plus, uh, Trace Adkins) intervene to teach him some much-needed lessons about the price of liberty.  Will Michael “Malone” come to his senses in time to foil the jihadists’ latest plot?

An American Carol does a few things right.  For one, the casting is absolutely superb.  Kevin Farley looks just like Michael Moore, and perfectly captures the boorish, self-serving creep (albeit far more likeable than the real thing).  Chriss Anglin makes a great John F. Kennedy, both looking like the president and capturing his distinctive voice without descending into parody.  Kelsey Grammar’s portrayal of General George S. Patton is confident and cantankerous, and while it won’t dethrone George C. Scott’s legendary performance anytime soon, it doesn’t need to—this is a comedy, not a biopic.  Jon Voight delivers an outstanding, albeit criminally brief, performance of President George Washington that’s so somber and dignified that I’d love to see Voight star in a Washington biopic.  Robert Davi is strong as the jihadists’ ruthless leader, and his two bumbling underlings provide lots of laughs (“All the really good suicide bombers are gone!”)  The supporting cast does fine, Bill O’Reilly has a couple amusing appearances as himself, and there’s Leslie Nielsen.  If you don’t love Leslie Nielsen, there’s something wrong with you.  The likeable cast keeps the movie going even through some of the weaker jokes.

There are plenty of laughs to be had—this is from the guy behind Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies, after all.  Most of the best material revolves around the two Taliban twits, and my favorite part of the movie was a simply brilliant sequence involving zombies (I’ll say no more so as not to spoil it).  Funny one-liners abound, and, of course, it’s just not a Zucker movie until bad things happen to children with severe medical problems.  On the other hand, the idea of a musical number featuring a pack of hippies-turned-academics certainly has potential, but its execution soon becomes almost painful.

Unfortunately, the film’s effectiveness at conveying a message falls flat.  Often the caricatures of left-wing fallacies such as appeasement, academic indoctrination, and anti-Americanism are so clichéd, unsympathetic and over-the-top that they come across as wooden, transparent, and sometimes even juvenile.  The dialogue put in liberal mouths is often little more than left-wing bumper-sticker lines strung together, with the worst offenders being an early conversation about war between Malone and his military nephew, and a talk show where Rosie “O’Connell” pushes her crackpot theory that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam.”

These caricatures lack the subtlety and natural flair that superior political satirists like Paul Shanklin, the Onion, and (even to some degree) the writers on the Daily Show and Colbert Report have mastered (I think this was the same problem that plagued Fox News’ short-lived Half-Hour News Hour).  It’s easy to knock down a straw man, but it’s not effective—I didn’t find Malone’s conversion to patriotism convincing because I didn’t find the film’s arguments persuasive, and I doubt anyone who doesn’t already know the underlying principles and arguments would be persuaded either.  And aside from entertaining, wasn’t that the point—to get the other side of the story into mainstream entertainment?  Keeping that in mind, conservatives shouldn’t be discouraged by An American Carol’s lack of success.  It still remains to be seen how a truly excellent, openly conservative film would fare at the box office, one that better balances silliness and substance.

An American Carol isn’t a bad movie—strong performances and classic Zucker wit make it an enjoyable 83 minutes, and conservatives will get a kick out of how mercilessly it skewers all manner of left-wing idiocy.  But sadly, it fails to be significantly more than just that—a right-wing guilty pleasure.

A Tale of Two Shootings

Since Barack Obama is one of the most extreme pro-abortion politicians in American history, it came as little surprise that he wasted no time issuing a statement condemning George Tiller’s murder.  It was striking, however, that the commander-in-chief of our armed forces neglected to do the same about the shooting in Little Rock, which claimed the life of one of the very soldiers serving under him, and injured another.

It took him a while, but he’s finally released a statement:

I am deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence against two brave young soldiers who were doing their part to strengthen our armed forces and keep our country safe. I would like to wish Quinton Ezeagwula a speedy recovery, and to offer my condolences and prayers to William Long’s family as they mourn the loss of their son.

It’s nice to hear the president is “deeply saddened,” but you would think that it would have “shocked and outraged” him.  Regardless of this late, halfhearted effort, the damage is done.  Obama’s perverse priorities have been made crystal clear.

Horrible: Shooting at an AK Recruiting Office

One American soldier was killed and another injured today, as a man with an assault rifle opened fire on an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The murderer is in custody, though his motive has not yet been made public.  Whatever it is, though, he needs to be punished to the full extent of the law.

It makes me sick to think that someone who signs up for the armed services can put himself in harm’s way day after day, and then return to his own home and be murdered by one of the very citizens he was defending.

Please, pray for our fallen hero and his family, as well as for the full recovery of the surviving hero.

Update: Now we know—the shooter was a recent convert to Islam with a grudge against the Army.  Big surprise.